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Thread: Meat in the freezer

  1. #1
    Member willphish4food's Avatar
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    Default Meat in the freezer

    I took the 2nd bear of the season last night. I knew it wasn't itty bitty, but couldn't really judge size due to the lighting. Not that I care; I need meat, still had 2 tags to fill in less than 2 weeks, so as long as it wasn't tiny I was pulling the trigger! I was pleasantly surprised when I tracked her down and found ground growth, not shrinkage!
    I got on stand around 8, after setting out some fresh bait. I was hopeful, as the last 2 days everything has been gone when I arrived. At 9:20 a branch snapped near the bait, and I was sure it was on. Well, it wasn't. I've suspected bears have been coming around behind my stand and busting me, so I set up a chair a bit further back and sat. There were several distant shots fired as daylight faded, and my confidence stayed high. After all, the bears eating my bait obviously had a taste for it, and wouldn't stay away forever! It seemed the perfect evening for bear activity, but as it got later, it started looking worse and worse.
    Trying to stay awake, alert and engaged, while not providing too much skeeter fodder, is a constant battle on stand. And remaining still! Apparently it worked, because at 12:30 the sound of heavy footsteps just to my left grabbed my attention. I glanced over without moving my head, and 10 yards away this bear was striding purposefully down the hill toward the bait. She remained off the trail, and disappeared in the thick stuff and darkness for a few minutes. She gave me time to get my breathing back to normal before showing up at the bait, which I have about 75 yards away for this location. Now, if you're wondering why my breathing picked up, It WAS 12:30, almost as dark as it gets, and suddenly I went from listening to robins singing in the treetops to a bear walking past me at less than 30 feet! My ground blind consists of a chair set beside a tiny spruce, with no other cover whatsoever.
    After a couple minutes of skittish, sneaky behavior, (by the bear) I was given a shot, which I gladly took! I saw feet up in the air, then heard the branches cracking and heavy, labored breathing. I didn't wait long, till approaching the bait, as I believed I had made a clean neck shot. Well, as soon as I turned on a light to find blood, I heard more branches, breathing, and obvious sounds of the bear moving purposefully, further from the stand. Guess my neck shot wasn't as clean as I thought! I fixed the sounds as best as possible, and backed out. I moved into my stand, where I could nap a bit easier, and settled in for things to brighten up before picking up the trail.
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    Member willphish4food's Avatar
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    Default continued

    After lying on my semi comfortable platform for a while, I sat up to stretch and look about. A few minutes later I slowly lay back down, and heard galloping footsteps on the trail. Another bear! Drat. It finally lightened up enough, and with 2 hours to stiffen up, I figured enough time had passed. Looking at the devil's den I had to enter, I reaffirmed the wisdom of followup shots when possible. I hate wasting extra meat on game animals, but I hate chasing bears into thick cover even more! I was really wishing this one had given me the opportunity for a followup!20170621_050730[1].jpg20170621_050922[1].jpg Pics are sideways.
    Trail was easy to follow; blood everywhere, with matted ferns and snapped off devil's club to make it even more clear. I crossed a little creek near where I'd heard the last sounds, and lost blood. The trail continued downhill, but no blood. Backtracking, I quickly found blood again, heading back uphill on a different trail. 25 feet away, I saw black. Just another reason to hate tracking bears in thick cover! She had doubled back, and died tucked under a dead spruce with a good view of her back trail. The reason for the great blood trail was soon apparent: my bullet entered the fleshy part of one front shoulder, took out the throat, windpipe and a jugular, and shattered the far side humerus on exiting. I ended up making 3 loads of it, instead of dragging her out in a sled as was my original plan.

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    Member willphish4food's Avatar
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    Default continued

    I improvised a game hoist to make skinning a little easier and cleaner. Was very pleased that I hadn't seen the other bear to shoot him! I was about done in, after the long night and different adrenaline shots. I almost forgot, as soon as I began skinning her, another bear nearby clacked his teeth a couple times, just to ensure I stayed awake!20170621_055023[2].jpg

    I might keep the claws, but the hide's pretty ratty. And I don't care! I am hunting primarily for meat on this site; trophy quality is in the amount of fat on the meat, not size of the skull or hide.

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    Well done.....nice write up........thanks

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    Member Rob B's Avatar
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    Congrats. Love reading stories written like this.
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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Nicely done, sir! My wife and I were just talking about how we need to get a bear in the freezer this fall. Ungulates are great, no doubt, but I sure miss having bear burger and bear bacon. Congratulations!

  7. #7
    Member cod's Avatar
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    Good job. Nice story. I put a small one in the freezer myself a few weeks ago and a saw second one in my neighborhood a few days ago. Hoping he stops by. Beautiful, lean, meat and zero smell to the bear or meat.
    Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine!
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  8. #8
    Member akrstabout's Avatar
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    Good shooting! Tasty meat to your freezer! Hoping my dad tags one this weekend. I'll be grounded w 9mo......again


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  9. #9
    Member willphish4food's Avatar
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    Thanks, all. I get to relive the hunt when I read my posts during the midwinter doldrums.
    Here's a little breakdown for those guys that have trouble justifying cost vs reward of hunting; I hear it all the time that "I could have bought my meat at Freddy's and been money ahead!" If I was hunting for hides, I would be looking forward to a full deficit; about $1000, and I'd have another rug to look at. So I won't go there. Talking about meat, between two bears I have 175#. At its lowest value, it would be ground 95% lean, at $3.99 a pound. So the cheapest that I could replace this meat with a similar product would be $700. As it is much superior to commercially raised beef, I will compare price to prime beef, as that's what I'm most familiar with. Grassfed would add a 10-20% premium to quoted prices. 3# Fillet (tenderloin) at $24.99/lb. 14# New York (backstrap) at $16.99/lb. 70 lb Rst. (I'll lump all the roast and steaks into one average) $7.99/lb. 88# burger at 3.99/lb. This gives me a total of $1225 to buy a similar but still lower quality product at the store. I did not include liver, heart and bone broth, which is a whole different story, but would cost another couple hundred.
    This is solid, real, pound for pound, dollar to dollar comparison. It does not put a dollar figure to the semantics; time spent outside, doing what I love, some of it with my daughter. That's immeasurable, and what will always keep me coming back. This has been a successful season so far, and it may get better the last 10 days. I have seasons with zero bears or a little one , so the value of the meat I harvest each season is lower on average. As I generally spend less than $100 on bait, maybe $200 all told on ammo, bait and bug deterrents, I'm still coming out way ahead just on the value of the meat each year. I process my own, which also adds greatly to the value by decreasing cost. Taxidermy fees are also zero this year; a big plus!

  10. #10
    Member akrstabout's Avatar
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    Your mail box is full, well was a few days ago when I tried to message ya


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