Elmer and the Bear

Posted: July 10, 2007 in Humor

Elmer and the Bear

As recorded by the late Phil Harris


Here comes Elmer; Elmer’s got his gun.

Here comes Elmer; Run Bear Run.


Elmer Jones arose at dawn

Put his huntin’ britches on;

And looked up at the shot-gun on the wall.


He made his mind up, then and there,

To pack himself a hunk of bear.

And, huntin’ he had plenty on the ball.


He milked the cow, fed the hog,

Kissed his wife, called the dog,

Picked up his gun and started on his quest.


He crossed the creek into the trees,

Looked around, sniffed the breeze,

Let out a yell and pounded on his chest.




He hunted all the morning, through;

But not a bear came into view

As Elmer’s mind was on the kitchen range.


He was sick as he could be

Of lamb and chicken fricassee;

He craved a mess of bear meat for a change.


Poor Elmer’s mind was in a fog;

He paused to sit down on a log

To get his faculties back into grove.


He heard a noise and standing there

Was a great big old grizzly bear

And Elmer figured it was time he made his move.




He picked up his gun and turned around;

But, Mr. Bear just stood his ground

And Elmer said, “It’s either me or thou.”


The gun refused to go

Elmer knew somebody would have to go

So, Elmer said, “Farewell, I’m leaving as of now.”


Elmer’s shoulders sprouted wings;

His feet developed inner-springs

To linger longer he was not inclined.


He ran so fast oh Mother, my

His ankles set his socks afire

But still that bear kept commin’ on behind.




A deer with antlers six-feet wide

Got in the way of Elmer’s stride;

And both of them went headin’ for the brush.


Elmer said, “Now, listen son;

If that’s as fast as you can run

Move over ‘cause I’m really in a rush.


The bear was gaining inch by inch

And finally reached out for the clinch

As Elmer saw the fence around his place.


He leapt the fence, landed hard,

Jumped sixty feet across the yard

And slammed the door in the bruin’s face.




The bear was trying to get inside

As Elmer sought a place to hide

And Mrs. Jones began to pull her hair.


She said, “This fuss has got to stop

Why don’t you let the matter drop?”

He said, “You go tell it to the bear.”


She said, “Now listen goon,

I thought you said you was Daniel Boone

Whose appetite on bear meat you’d supply.”


He said, “I’m sure that you’re aware

That Daniel’ll always kill his bear;

But, honey, I done brought this baby home alive.”



  1. Carl Garner says:

    I heard this song 40 years ago from an old ‘Church of Christ’ Preacher. I am glad to see it has survived, as it is a timeless piece of Americana hunting humor!

    • I can’t recall what information I posted with this on my blog. I will fill you in on how it became part of my memory. I first heard it by Phil Haris oh an old 78 RPM record when I was a boy. I listened to it over and over; and one fall I had a job driving a grain truck long distance. As I made my way up a long, winding grade in low gear I recalled the whole thing (minus one part). I kept it in my mind over the years and have recited it in many public places. It is a fun piece.

  2. Airplane Girl says:

    I love the posted words to this tune. I grew up with my father playing the guitar and singing the chorus “here comes Elmer. Elmer’s got his gun. Here comes Elmer. Run bear Run.” and speaking in story form to the rest of it. This is the closest version to what he did for all those years. He is 89 years old now and doesn’t have enough feeling in his fingertips to play very well anymore. We were lucky to get him to do it while Mom taped it on cassette. I’d sure like to find a professional that could transfer it to a CD.

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