I havent written about many of my hunting adventures on here, mainly because they have not ended in a harvest. They have been incredible adventures for the most part though and I would not change a thing with any of them. This weekend was quite different though.
For a little background, this is my third year setting up a bear stand. The first two were in an area that was overhunted and also overused by non hunters I found out after the fact. Last year my bait stand was vandalized and the camera stolen and I figured I should give it up. This year however I decided to just move as far out as I could and give it one more chance.
Well after finding a good looking spot that could only be accessed on foot I lugged the barrell, food and stand in and set it up on 1 May. I figured this would be early, but I couldnt wait to get out and get started.
After setting up the stand I left it alone for two weeks and then started checking on it and adding food/scent. The first pictures did not start to show up on the cuddeback until the 21st of May. And wouldnt you know it it was a trio of big grizzly bears.
After seeing nothing but brown bear pictures I decided to head out to the cabin on memorial day weekend and do some spot and stalk bear hunting and maybe a little dolly fishing. I am glad I did because the whole family was able to make it to the cabin for the first time in a while and it turned out to be one of our best trips out there!
After that, it was time to head back out and check out the stand. My wife decided to go in with me for the first time and see if she could get over her fear of bears and we headed out this past Saturday morning.
We got into the site after a little bit of a rough hike in only to find that barrel I had log chained to a tree 3 feet off the ground was no where to be found. It had been ripped from the tree and the chain broken. There was, however, a nice black bear standing right where the barrell use to be. I calmed my wife down and got here to stay behind me as we tried to get within pistol range. Now the plan was to just check on the camera and see how many griz had been feasting at my expense and to add some more for them to munch on. I took a pistol, but was not planning on hunting so I had nothing with me to clean and pack the bear out if there was any around. Luckily he didnt stick around long, so I didnt have to make that decision, but it was long enough that my wife decided that up in the tree stand was the best vantage point for this excursion.
Meanwhile I checked on the camera. There were only 6 pictures but one of them gave me a clue as to what happened to my barrel.
I imagine he just twisted it until the chain snapped. And looking at the date, it was only 2 days after I had last checked the stand. I had an anise ball hanging in the trees and lots of other scent lures in the area though so there were several pics of other bears at the site after that, but none of them were black bears.
That would change in the next few minutes though! After walking in a 300 yard radius all around the site to see if I could find my barrel I decided to just put the food on the ground and do a better search for it later. My wife sat in the tree while I mixed up a pile of dog food, maple syrup and some other gooey ingredients. About half way through another black bear came in from the opposite direction that the first one left. I heard my wife clicking her fingers behind me in the tree and turned to see the bear about 50 yards away. I pulled out my pistol just in case and watched as he worked his way into the smell of the bait. A few minutes later and just 20 yards away I snapped this picture and then quietly said 'hey bear' to get his attention. He looked up at me and quickly turned around, but slowly left the area with his head constantly turned looking at me like "what the heck are you doing here"!
At this point my wife thought that it was pretty cool and decided to join me for the last few minutes of me baiting the site. We finished up about 15 minutes later and started packing up the trash to head out. Just as we got the site clean I looked around and low and behold a third bear came in from the exact same direction as the last one. My wife had the camera at this point and took a few pictures of it as it circled around us and the stand trying to scent us or the food.
Needless to say we both decided it was time for me to hunt the stand the next day.
After talking to my son he decided he would join me sunday morning to try and get his first and last bear before heading off to the University of South Dakota to begin he college career. (continued in the next post)