This actually started two years before the hair raising incident during the 2003 archery season. A friend of the family, Mr. Wilson, came into our camp to notify us that he had wounded a young bear swimming in a pond about one mile away from our camp. Knowing that we always had the kids with us hunting (my kids were 3, 2 at the time) he wanted us to know.
Three years later during 1st elk rifle season I find myself walking through some very thick and heavy cover of pinions and juniper trees trying to push elk out to my wife Kathy and long time friend Kevin and his wife. As I am almost to the end of the push I notice an area of about a 20' to 30' radius of messed up ground and bear dung everywhere. I stopped and paused to look around and assess the situation. Nothing seemed to weird and I started to move on. I took maybe all of three steps and out from under some downed cedar trees I caught a glimpse of a brown blurr from about 4 feet to the left of me and as I blinked I was not sure what was happening around me. As I looked foward I realized what had just happened, a mother bear and two cubs had just come out from beside me and the cubs had gone up a huge pine tree about 19 yards in front of me and the sow was standing at the base of the pine tree with one arm around the tree. Instantly she started foaming at the mouth and popping her jaws aggressively.
I knew right then what kind of trouble I was in. This was happening in milli-seconds and I had to react very quickly. I pulled my Browning A-bolt 7mm RM up to my shoulder and centered the crosshairs in here chest (luckily as I typically do I had made sure my Redfield scope was set on 3 power and I always double and triple check as I am moving along). As I centered the crosshairs she was just starting to react and I sqouze the trigger. She dropped instantly to the ground, but did not give up. I had just nicked her heart and one lung and broken her spine paralizing her from her arms down. She instantly started biting the ground and pulling herself towards me with her mouth. I started to freak out a little bit to say the least. She had made it about two feet and I let her have it one more time dispatching her right there. As I looked around at disbelief at what had just happened the young boar decided to make his way back down the pine tree and charge me while his sister was squawling in the tree. I charged him and chased him back up the tree. One other thing I did not realize during this whole sitauation is that I was close enough that my wife and buddy and his wife were close enough to hear everything that had just gone down, but I did not make a single sound the whole time so they were not sure what had just happened and if I was alright.
I was still very frazzled as I started to head to where the others were waiting for me. I actually was heading in the wrong direction. So it actually took me about 15 minutes of walking the wrong direction to get myself settled and head back to them. I guess, from what my wife said, she begged my buddy to go in and check on me and he just kept telling her, "If Quinton did not come out, I am not going in."
It took me about 30 minutes total after the incident to get back to them. When I got to them they were very relieved to say the least to see me in one piece. As we walked back to the truck to get my father and others hunting with us I told them what had happened and I do not actually think they believed me at first. We got everybody rounded up and headed back in there and I was only about 175 yards from where they were waiting and watching for elk. The sow was still in the tree while the boar was down out of the tree by the other mother sow. The boar would not go up the tree until my father picked up a big stick and smacked him in the butt and chased him up the tree. As we took care of the bear the male would come back out of the tree and charge us and we would send him back up the tree with the stick. As we were packing the sow back to the truck the youngsters followed us about half way back and it really started to make me feel bad.
As everyone may know here in Colorado you must take your bear in and have it checked by the CDOW and one more detail was the fact that she had a radio collar on. Needless to say they had tons of info on this bear and they told me that the cubs were two years old and would more than likely make it through the winter. Which did help me with the choice I had made, because in Colorado you are not allowed to shoot a sow with cubs and I just knew I was more than likely going to receive a citation.
I took the bear to the butcher shop and dropped it off. When I picked it up they said they had a special gift for me. I held out my hand and they dropped a broadhead in it. It was Mr. Wilsons broadhead from when he shot it swimming in the pond. It had grown a hard calcium around the broadhead and she was perfectly healthy.
I personally have had quite a few hair raising situations with other bears, but this one I just knew I was going to end up as bear bait. It really makes you wonder sometimes how close one of these and other predators are to us and we never realize it!
Watch yourselves out there and keep a close eye on the things and clues around you.