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’s first hunting trip to Nova Scotia in 1935 was immortalized in a feature article in Outdoor Life magazine (Photo: Outdoor Life)

Ruth was certainly not shy in front of the cameras, so his love of the outdoors was well known to the media and general public. He would often showcase his harvested game, conspicuously draping the pelts, carcasses and even his taxidermy over top of his car for all to see and photograph. Perhaps his most documented and celebrated hunting excursion was his trip to Nova Scotia in 1935, when he was accompanied by Bob Edge writing for Outdoor Life.

It was Ruth’s first hunt in the province, and after fewer than 24 hours in the woods, he’d harvested a nice eight-pointer on a drive. According to Edge, an exuberant Ruth ran around after the buck was down telling his Canadian guide, “Little bear hug, old-timer. Give Babe a little bear hug!” And in typical jock fashion, Ruth liked to use sports jargon to describe various situations. While boasting how the deer didn’t run far due to his shot placement, he remarked, “That’s a good game. When you make a hit, you don’t have to run.”


Then later, during a drive for a bull moose, a cow and a calf appeared and started trotting toward Ruth’s hunting location. When they got to within 17 yards of him, Ruth leapt to his feet and swung a large tree root at the startled animals. As Edge observed, he did it as much to scare off the moose as to encourage a chuckle from the other hunters. Ruth would go on to miss two opportunities at a bull, but in his typical fashion said, “One muff doesn’t mean the ball game.”

After heading back to camp that same day, Ruth and his guide decided to go looking for a bear. They soon spotted one eating the remains of some bait, and crept closer. Ruth tripped as he was about to fire, however, spooking the bear. He quickly regained his footing and fired a few rounds at the fleeing animal, fatally wounding it.

When Ruth later returned to New York City, he was eager to share his accomplishments with the awaiting hordes of media and adoring fans. In keeping with his grand style, he drove down the gangplank of the steamship SS New York in his spiffy Stutz Bearcat touring car with the buck strapped to the front bumper and the bear propped up in the rumble seat. “The deer and the bear weren’t all we got,” he announced, according to writer Leigh Montville. “We also got some ducks and woodcock.”