I've been lurking here for a while and after my first bear hunt that ended yesterday, sept 9, i had to post.
We, my friend Rick and myself, scheduled a guided trip north of Orr, MN.
It started on Wednesday, Sep 6. We were on good bait piles that were getting hit daily. We were skunked the first day but one guy in camp got his bear the first night so this set the proper mood for the hunt. The second day everyone was skunked, no bears seen or heard but the baits were getting hit.
For some reason they werent coming in while we were in the stand.
We all were as scent free as possible except for one problem i had with my boots and had to switch to non-rubber and non-scent-free boots so of course i'm blaming the boots even though they are soaked in scent killer.
The third day comes and after getting out of the stand around 1:30pm to go in and eat i ask to be switched to a different bait. So i get moved to a bait on top of a hill overlooking what seemed like all of Minnesota, absolutly beautiful stand. Well, it's going on 7 or so and check my phone to see what time it actually is and notice something completly out of the ordinary, i have full signal.
Hmm, i have one of those treo's with internet on it so i decide to check my email. Nothing of interest in my email, so it's been a few days since i had been to the forums here and i thought reading about someone elses good luck might motivate me a little. So i start reading MnKaMRaM's post "First Time Bear Hunter......the Hunt" (it's a nice read by the way). As i'm reading i'm hearing the rustling of leaves by the overabundance of ground squirrels and these other little squirrels that look like normal squirrels i hunt here in Illinois but are mini versions. They are picking at the bait as they have been doing all day when i hear a rustling on my right, which i hadnt heard all afternoon. Hmm, i think, those dam squirrels are all over the place so i keep reading. Then CRASH!! this bear comes through the brush on my right with no regard for how much noise she is making. Without moving i look out of corner of my eye and HOLY COW it's a nice bear. I sit still as possible, heart pumping so hard i thought she would hear it, because it sounded like a hammer on a piece of wood to me. she walks to the base of my stand and stops. Uh oh, i'm screwed, she can smell my boots. This stand is only a 6 footer, which was fine before but now i'm wishing it was a 50 footer. So by my math i figure her eyes were 5 feet from mine and we are staring at each other. So many things are going through my head at once that luckily all i had to to was sit there as i wasnt capable of much else.
After our little staring contest, she starts sniffing the air. Then she drops her head and here comes two more bears running out of the woods. If she wasnt there i would never had guessed these to be cubs. They had to be 150 lbs easy. They were'nt but maybe 75% of her size.
The cubs go to the bait pile and start tearing into it all the while she is just circling the bait and me. Now i had a moral dilemma. Do i shoot the sow and leave the cubs or do i let her go? No one mentioned how to handle this kind of situation.
Well, i look at the cubs again, trying to size them up. They are big, but if they were still breast feeding i could indirectly be killing them by killing the sow.
Although, if they were still breast feeding, then she would be the one eating, not the cubs.
She circles back around and is at the bottom of my stand again, looking right at me. I had slipped my phone in my pocket while she was on her rounds a minute ago and had my safety off. The gun still had to get to my shoulder, sight picture achieved, and trigger pulled.
She cant figure out what i am but doesnt seem too concerned and goes back to circling the area.
This time she stops at the bait pile and looks down hill away from me. She is quarted towards me with her head looking back to her left, i lift the gun to my shoulder, take aim.. OH CRAP, i never sighted my gun in WHILE wearing this camo netting over my face. My sight picture is not good. I'm using an M1 Garand, with as-issued battle sights so i have a pretty good sized peep hole.
I choke up on the rifle moving my head forward on the stock. Ahh, there it is, i can see the front sight again. The sow hasnt moved and is still looking the other way. There is her shoulder, a favor a little forward of it and apply pressure to the trigger. Dam, my heart is going like freaight train. More trigger pressure, slowly, good sight picture, bang.
Bear down. Falls back on it's rump, tips to the left, lays there for a few seconds, then takes off in a semi-circle towards the road out of sight. I hear a crash in the brush, then two loud inhales that sounded like an asthmatic in dire need of their inhaler. Then silence. The cubs hauled butt out of there. I'm not budging for a little bit due to the events on Wednesday night.
The first bear that was taken at camp was with a bow. The guy hit it fine, or so he thought. He called two guys at camp to come help him track it as it was now dark. The start tracking and find it in some bushes. He shines a light on it and says he thinks it is still alive. He tells the other guys to hold onto his shotgun while he goes to get his bow as he doesnt want the shotgun to fubar the cape. No sooner does he turn around, the bear charges them. He grabs the shotgun and lets loose to slugs to drop him.
So, on my first bear hunt, seeing the first bear brought in, and hearing that story as the first bear story of camp, i'll wait in the stand for a little bit until the others arrive to help drag her to the truck and we'll approach the bear with guns at the ready. Better to fix a few holes in a cape then in my arse. Not to mention the two large cubs/bears that could possibly still be in the area and have vengence on their mind.
What would you have done with regards to this bear?
Can those cubs survive?
We checked the sow while skinning her and i was correct, she was definitly NOT breast feeding anymore or even recently by the looks of it.
Thanks for listening
Here are some of the pics, i'll have pics of the cubs for you to see for yourselves when i get the film developed tomorrow.
The sow was 280 field dressed taken at 7:08 PM. the boar shown on the picture page is 270 field dressed, taken at 8:03 AM.