Jillian and I would like to give a big thanks to the all of the hunters. They were all well prepared and patient.That is a good combo for making a quality and quick kill shot. They also worked well as a team when it came time to recover and haul out each bear.Thanks also to my buddy Paul who offered his services when it came time to recover the bears. His strong back helped transport the bears, while his quick feet helped find the road 😉 I would also like to thank Bill Griffin for organizing such a great group of guys.(Bill was scheduled to hunt this year but, because he needed surgery, he could not make the trip. We sure hope you are feeling better and that you will be healthy for next years trip). For me, this was one of the most enjoyable weeks of “bear camp” that I can remember. From the quality of bears taken, to the crazy stories that were told, this was definitely one of the weeks that will be talked about for many years. The only thing that could have made it better was if Shawn could have gotten his bear. He was the only hunter out of five that did not harvest a bear. And believe me, it was not from a lack of effort. He sat on stand longer than all of the other hunters combined. And through it all he kept a positive attitude and was always excited for his buddies when they got their bears. He also helped field dress, drag and video tape the bears for his guys. He is true hunter. Don’t worry Shawn, there are still lots of bears out there, and you get first pick of sites when you return.
All I ask is that you don’t try to jump and tackle any 🙂
The one thing I have learned over the years about bear hunting is, there is no such thing as a typical hunt. And, because of the craziness of trying to run camp and get the hunters on stand and bait the remaining sites and haul bear from the woods ect, ect, I did not get a chance to elaborate on how the first week of hunts went.
Well here it goes, I will try to do justice to their stories…
Marc was the the first to get his bear. He shot his on Sunday night around 7pm, after sitting through a very heavy down pour. He watched the bear come to the bait site twice. Each time, though, the bear grabbed a bucket and ran off with it never allowing Marc to get a good clean shot. Well, now that most of the bait was gone, Marc thought maybe his hunt was over. He got down from his stand and walked 20 yds back to the road where he had come in on his ATV. After standing there for a while, he thought maybe there was a chance that the bear may come and check the site one more time. So Marc headed back to his stand to take a look. Just as he reached the base of the ladder stand, he saw the bear making his way down the hillside heading toward the bait again. The bear made it to the bait quickly and then walked down past the bait towards Marc’s general direction. Marc assumed the bear was going to follow the small game trail that was just below him so he quickly ran up to the road and positioned himself facing the spot he assumed the bear would be coming through. Well we all know what happens when we assume things. And in this case it means the bear decided to climb up the small ridge right where Marc was standing. Marc said he could here the bear huffing as he made his way of the ridge. Then out of the trees came the bear. He was 5 yds away when he appeared. Marc, with gun ready, took aim and shot the bear before he could get over the downed log that separated Marc and the bear. The bear bowled over and ran back down the ridge into the ravine.
After watching the bear run off and waiting until there was no more noise from below. Marc came back to camp to tell us the news and to gather up the drag team.
We all made it back to site about 2 hours after his shot. We made our way down into the ravine and found no sign of blood (bears often do not leave a good blood trail). So we moved forward in the general direction of the last place Marc saw movement. After about 30-40 min of searching, someone heard a sound. It was a rustling noise near our location. Then we heard it again. Yep, a trackers worst fear, the bear was not dead!
We all assumed that the bear was surely dead since he was shot in the chest at 5 yds. Not the case! We were able to pinpoint the bears location, but we could not get close enough to get a safe shot while still keeping everyone out of harms way. It was dark and we were in some pretty thick cover. It was at this point that I made the call to back out and wait till morning to recover the bear.
After a sleepless night for some of us (Marc slept like a baby), we headed back to the site first thing in the morning. We quickly found the bear right where we had seen him the night before. He had expired soon after we left him. But now we had day light to remove the big guy quickly and safely. We even made it back in time for breakfast. It is always better to back out and return later, than to push forward in an unknown and potentially unsafe situation. All’s well that ends well. Nice job Marc.
The second bear we shot was by Cody. Cody was hunting at our far west site Monday night, after seeing what the trail cam pics showed. Two very large bears hitting the the same bait. We arrived at the site around 1pm to find the bait completely gone again. Cody climbed into the ladder stand, followed by his dad Shawn. His dad was sitting just behind Cody on a hang-on stand so that he could video tape his son’s first bear kill. The pair sat for nearly 6 hours before they saw a large bear coming straight at them through the brush. The bear did not hesitate and walked a straight line right to the ladder stand that Cody was sitting in. The large bear then paused a while and looked right at the hunters perched 15 ft above. As you might imagine, both hunters froze and dared not move a muscle. Cody later thanked me for putting all three sections of the ladder stand together for this site. After the bear analyzed the situation a while, he decided the 2 big blobs up in the tree offered no threat, so he worked his way to the bait. He quickly sniffed around and investigated each bucket hanging in the trees. Once he committed to eating out of one of the buckets, Cody drew back his bow and put his pin just behind the bears front shoulder. As the video clearly shows, Cody made a perfect shot. The bear whirled around and then circled back toward the hunters where he quickly expired not 10 yds from their stand. The video of the event was AWSOME! Nice filming Shawn. The bear turned out to be one of the 2 we had seen on the trail camera. He was a big old boar. The teeth on this big guy were well worn and he had a bunch of cuts and scars from battling some other bear(s). I would but his age at around 15-18 years old. The bear was well over 300 lbs and measured 6 ft 8 in from nose to toes. And at 17 yds this was the longest shot of the week for this group of hunters. They apparently like to be close to the action. I like when we know it is a confirmed kill and no tracking involved. Congrats to Cody for a great bear…first bear, a bow kill, captured on video, and he had dad with him. I am not sure if it gets better than that. I am also not sure who was more thrilled, hunter or cameraman. Savor that one boys!
Jack also had his dad join him on a hunt this week. The pair hunted together at Blueberry Hill the first night, but saw nothing. The second day they focused on fishing. Day three they sat on the ground looking across a creek at WashOut. The bait was about 110 yds away across a beaver creek with the hunters safely tucked away on the other bank behind a big boulder…or so they thought. I was just finishing a late afternoon snack on our main lodge porch when I saw the two of them pull up on their ATV. It was around 6pm. I was bit confused to see them in camp this early and not beaming with excitement from having just shot a bear. Jack’s dad, Brad, explained to us what had happened…After sitting motionless for close to 3 hours, the duo heard a commotion off to their left on the same side of the bank as them. Brad said it sounded like maybe a bobcat or linx tangling with something. The scuffle ended and then it was silent again. The silence was soon broken when Brad heard a small rustling just behind him. He looked over his right shoulder to see that a bear had worked to within 20 ft of their position. “BEAR!” shouted Brad, as he whirled around at the bear. The bear ran off into the woods and disappeared like a ghost. Jack, who may just be the most mellow human being I have met, reacted to the close encounter by scolding his dad (without barely turning in his direction), “why are you yelling? You scared him off”. According to Brad, the bear never really left the area .He could be heard rustling in the shadows on and off for the next hour or so. Maybe squirrels, who knows. Either way, Brad was not going to sit there until dark and then have to walk through those woods back to their quad. I can not say I blame him. After all, he did not have a weapon; he was just there for moral support.
Well after that encounter, all moral support went right out the window. After a couple more beers, Brad clearly explained the ordeal to us and said he was done “hunting” for the week. Walleyes are much safer.
A day or so later, Jack was on stand at Fishguts with Marc as his side kick. Marc just loves being in the woods. The pair had done an early day hunt at that location but saw nothing. Now, after a short break, they were back on stand. They sat motionless until it was almost dark.They had no sooner said they would give it 5 more minutes, when they saw motion just behind the stand. Sure enough, here comes a bear. He came down the back trail that goes right past their stands. As the bear walked past Jack’s location heading to the bait, Jack took aim and shot the bear in the neck just above the shoulders, The bear dropped immediately and never moved. Another perfect shot! They later paced it off (which did not take long), the shot was 2.5 yds. Not 25 yds, 2 and a half yards. Like I said, this group apparently likes to be up close and personal with their bears. (The total combined yardage from all 3 shots was 25 yards.) This bear was also one that we had seen on trail cam photos. He actually surprised us by being much larger than we had thought. He was a young boar that weighed somewhere close to 300 lbs and measured 6 ft 6 in from nose to toes. A beautiful bear! And once again, a quick kill with no tracking. Just the way I like them. Great job Jack!