I told you that I would keep you updated on the bear hunt. Here is the story and you will soon be able to watch the story on YouTube too. This hunt took place about 20 minutes west of Gull Lake. We started baiting just a few days prior to the opener (Sept. 1), and I went on stand that opening night … nothing but one squirrel.
For the first 4 or 5 days we did not have any visitors to our bait station. This bait station had to be registered with the state and I also had to put up a sign near the bait with my I.D. We knew this was an area that was frequented by bears, so we thought one station would be sufficient. So, after the bait had not been hit in days, we started to wonder just a little bit. Was someone else baiting nearby and had a better offering? Were the bears eating the area corn and totally content? Was it too calm where the scent wasn’t being dispersed? All the things a person thinks of when things aren’t happening.
I was getting antsy, because I wanted to hunt but I still had faith that it was going to happen. And then on Sunday morning I received a text from my friend telling me to check email, I knew what that meant. He had checked the game camera and a biggun had shown up at 8:28 p.m. the night before. That got me excited and I sent the photo to cameraman Mitch and made sure he was available to hunt that night (last Sunday). He was game and we were both excited to see what might shake down while sitting in our separate trees that night.
Mitch was above me and to my left, and had a better view of the surroundings. I had a great view of the bait pile, that was a pile of logs, licorice, fruit snacks, BBQ sauce, molasses, dinner mints, some bacon scraps and grease, some other grease from Sherwood Forest and a Snicker on top! I also hung, and fired-up a Sterno can with another can just above it with Jello and honey. It’s called a honey burn or Jello burn, in this case it was a honey/Jello burn.
Our chauffeur, Jim was heading back home on his Honda as the scent started to waft to the north. After we had been sitting for about an hour and 15 minutes, Mitch noticed the first movement … a porcupine. I didn’t see it right away because of the angle of the dangle, but honestly I didn’t care because I was looking for something black and that’s all that mattered!
But, I eventually spotted the porky, and he/she came right into the bait pile and nuzzled its way right in the middle of it. I thought porky’s just liked tree bark, but I guess they like fruit snacks too. Minutes later, Mitch got my attention and I didn’t see a thing right away. But, that’s because my vision was blocked from the tree just to my left. I slowly peered around it and there was black, my first bear sighting from a tree stand. Oh, I forgot to mention that when we pulled up to the bait and pulled the memory card from the trail cam that there was another bear that had just left our site because of us coming down the trail. Anyway, this must have been him, not the biggun, but a beautiful bear none the less. He put his nose up in the air and didn’t think things were the same as when he had left. He ended up turning back the way he came from and shortly thereafter he appeared again, but this time right in front of me. He came through the fence and worked his way right to the bait station. He poked around a little bit and then stuck his nose in a little deeper. Surprise! The porcupine spooked him, but didn’t get any quills into the bear. I hadn’t come to full draw with my bow because I had decided that I wasn’t going to shoot … it was not the big bugger I saw on the photo from the night before. As he moved to the other side of the pile, opposite the porky, he got a little nervous and galloped right to the base of my tree. It all happened REALLY fast and I wasn’t sure what the heck to do! So as he looked up at me at 3 or 4 yards, staring into my eyes, my heart started to skip some beats. He looked down for a second and I came to full draw, put my closest pin where I wanted it and touched the release. Thwap! Was it self-defense? I’m not sure, but he ran about 40 yards and I had harvested my first bear! Cool sport, and whatever kind of opinion you have on bear hunting, you might want to try it first!