Posing with their bounty following Babe Ruth’s first hunting trip to Nova Scotia in 1935 are (left to right) Outdoor Life writer Bob Edge, Ruth and fellow hunter Jack Matthews (Photo: Yarmouth County Archives)

Baseball legend Babe Ruth loved fishing and hunting in Canada. This is the long-forgotten story of those adventures


Ruth (fourth from the left) and a group of his hunting buddies arrive at a hunt camp in rural New Brunswick in 1925 (Photo: Provincial Archives of New Brunswick)

In a time well before hunter ed and firearms safety courses, Ruth was known to indulge himself in a variety of ways, particularly with beer, whisky and tobacco. Some historians would even argue his favourite pastime wasn’t necessarily hunting or fishing, or baseball, but drinking. There are countless stories of Ruth over-imbibing, even during his hunting trips. Once while on a duck shoot with his friend Glenn Thomas, a prominent California auto dealer, for example, Ruth got so drunk that Thomas was afraid he might accidentally shoot him. So contends the Long Beach Police Historical Society, at least.

Interestingly, during the Prohibition era in the U.S., Ruth often ventured north of the border to Canada, where alcohol was still perfectly legal in most jurisdictions by the late 1920s. Not all of his forays north of the border involved alcohol, however. On the contrary, Ruth travelled to New Brunswick in 1925—the province would end its own alcohol ban two years later—for a moose hunt, ostensibly to work off his steady diet of tobacco and booze.


Depending on who you asked at the time, Ruth was either a physical burden on the hunting party or, as the New York Times claimed, the three-week trip “brought Babe Ruth back to health with a rush.” Then Yankee pitcher Bob Shawkey, who was on the trip, commented that Ruth was in exemplary shape, saying the hunt was the perfect remedy for what ailed him. “He walked 40 miles from the hunting camp to the nearest railroad station without so much as a word of protest,” Shawkey told the Times.

One of Ruth’s hunting guides, however, was said to be frustrated by his lack of effort and physical ability. “Apparently Ruth did not impress his guide,” reported the Sydney Record, “because he could only walk the first 15 miles into the bush and needed a horse to complete the other 25.”

Whether Ruth headed home in game shape following the trip is up for debate, but he did end up with an ice box full of moose meat. Much like Ruth’s hunting and fishing stories, which were known to contain exaggerations and sometimes flat-out lies, the truth probably lay somewhere in the middle.