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

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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)

Certainly, examples of Ruth’s tall tales are plentiful, with one such story stemming from one of his trips to Nova Scotia. While fly fishing for Atlantic salmon on the St. Mary’s River, he was wading into a pool when he either misjudged the depth or slipped on a rock, catapulting him into some rapids. Luckily, Ruth’s quick-thinking guide, the legendary Dan MacIntosh, managed to rescue him from certain drowning. It was later reported that, despite not catching a single fish himself, Ruth happily posed for photos with several salmon that others had pulled from the river. And while he regaled friends with stories of his supposed catches, he carefully omitted his near-death experience.

Not all of Ruth’s hunting and fishing adventures were debated or questioned, however, as he was genuinely considered a great outdoorsman. Revered around the world for his talents with a baseball bat, he was also a crack shot with his .401 Winchester, and shotgun. “He’s a snapshooter, as quick as lightning, and he can drill a tomato can at 60 yards,” sports commentator Bob Edge wrote in Outdoor Life following a hunting trip with Ruth to Nova Scotia in 1935.

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He wasn’t one to mix business with his time afield, either. When a journalist once managed to find him on one of his hunting sojourns, Ruth said, “I never mix baseball with pheasant shooting. Say I caught 16 pheasants today. Let the fans know about that.”

As for having fun, however, Ruth was known to be a character both on and off the field. And whether it was his childlike enthusiasm and excitement for an upcoming hunt, or the adult stresses that came from being a professional baseball player, Ruth didn’t sleep very much at hunt camp. As such, he liked being the first one up—and indulging in his penchant for joking around. Probably the best example came during his time spent at a hunting camp in Nova Scotia’s Yarmouth area.

As the story goes, after a night of playing cards, drinking Jack Daniels and swapping yarns, Ruth and the guides would hit the hay. But then around 4 a.m., Ruth would sneak outside and fire off both barrels of his 12-gauge shotgun, instantly rousing his sleepy and annoyed Acadian guides. He’d then rack the shotgun, return to the cabin and have breakfast prepared before dawn, grinning the entire time.

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