I remember well the year we had made plan's on going back to Maine on a black bear hunt. My wife didn't have an interest in bear hunting but agreed to tag along and video tape the hunt to go with the story. I had contacted my friend Mark and plans were made for the hunt. I didn't have to travel to Maine to get a black bear but listening to all the stories of what it was like to hunt in Maine for them and after being there with my wife for her first buck i just had to go try it. On this trip i elected to use my Remington 50 caliber black powder rifle. In this next story I hope you get the feeling of what it was like and maybe try it for yourself. If you've never taken a black bear in your life and would like to, then by all means try Maine.
It was the first week in September and the days were warm and the nights had a chill in the air. We arrived in Maine and met Mark at his home. With everything packed in the vehicle's we proceeded to where we were to stay at a camp site set far back off the main road on one of the many small lake's that inhabited the paper company land where we would hunt. Mark had stand's already set out in different areas around and through baiting each stand, had bear's coming into them on a regular basis.
After we had our tent set up and everything taken care of we rode around the numerous dirt road's taking in the sites and Mark pointed out where different stands were set back from the road. As we passed them he would say which ones we were going to try that had the best results with bear's coming into them. It was early in the day yet and what they do for a hunt is go early afternoon into a stand and sit till dark. Mark explained to me how this was done and i was anxious to try this style of hunting.
Mark had said that while riding around these roads, you had to be careful especially towards evening because of the many Moose that inhabit the land and that at any time one could just step right out in front of you. I've seen a few moose in the past while hunting and sure didn't want to hit one with my truck, so this was good information to have for the few day's we were going to be there. We also talked about how difficult it was to judge the size of a black bear and even most expert bear hunter's say it's one of the hardest things to do.
We returned to the camp and my wife had made us something to eat, then we sat around overlooking the lake and listening to what Mark had to say about bear hunting and how things could happen. The sun was still pretty high in the sky and very few cloud's, so we had plenty of time left before we had to leave for the stands. Mark said that he had two stand's set up in an area so that my wife could sit in the back one and be able to get a good view to video tape me and the bait pile. That sounded good to me so I took his word for it.
The time came to head out so we got our things together for the hunt and traveled with Mark in his truck to the site. Along the way we stopped and he showed us a blueberry field that stretched out almost as far as you could see and we decided that before we leave that we would pick a bunch to take home with us. Mark said that when we get to the stand we'll have to go in silently so as not to take any chances on scaring anything that might be in the area.
We arrived at the area where the stand was hidden from view of the dirt road where we parked, we quietly grabbed our things and followed Mark as he lead us in through the wooded area to the stand's. Mark pointed to each stand, the first being where my wife would sit and then another 20 yard's to my stand. We climbed up in the stand's as Mark carried a bucket of bait to add to what was already there and then with a bang of the bucket against a tree, leaving us there Mark walked back to the truck and drove away so that if a bear was nearby, would feel that it was safe to return to the food which was so readily available.
It was just after 4 pm now and we sat silently scanning the surrounding area for the slightest movement of an incoming bear. As we sat I looked back at my wife to make sure that she was ok and the video camera was ready to go. She assured me of this with a thumb's up and a silent nod. I acknowledged this and turned back to watch the bait pile.
During the time we sat and waited we were keeping an eye on a red squirrel that would keep coming out from the tree's onto the pile of bait, taking a few bite's and grabbing another piece would scurry off back out of sight. He did this a number of time's and it was about the 5'th time that he did this that he just fell off the pile of fermented donut's as if drunk, collected himself and ran back to the seclusion of the wood's. This was comical to watch and we both almost burst out laughing to see such an unexpected sight.
The light was starting to fade away and darkness would soon be upon us. Just as we thought that nothing was going to happen this evening I spotted movement of something black coming through the trees as it made its way towards the pile of bait. A "BEAR", I said to myself. As he stepped behind some brush I raised my black powder rifle to my shoulder so that he wouldn't catch my movement and prepared to take the shot.
I couldn't look back at my wife to make sure she was ready for this because it was happening to fast. The bear stepped cautiously from the cover of the tree's and with a sniff of the air for safety headed for the bait just ahead of him. The area where the bait lay was small so I knew I had one chance to make a good shot. Aiming the rifle low behind the front shoulder I squeezed the trigger. The bear immediately took off running away into the woods but feeling I made a good shot knew that he shouldn't go far. My wife, being nervous at this point shouted at me to wait for Mark to get here and I agreed only because I knew that she would be scared if I left her sitting alone as I trailed my game. Louise said to me that she did get it all on video tape, even the part with the red squirrel. We laughed about that part and couldn't wait to see it again when we replayed the tape.
I took my radio out of my pack and turned it on to call Mark and what I didn't know when all this happened is that Mark was sitting in his truck just down the road about 1/2 mile waiting for the time to pick us up and heard my shot. Just as I was calling him he was pulling up along the road where we parked before. I got down from my stand and met him half way on the path. Did you get one he said? I replied, yes, I hit him then he ran off through the thick brush. Then Mark said, let's go see if we can find him.
Darkness had settled in by this time and with flashlights we trailed the bear's path. We asked my wife to sit there just in case and from the bait pile we started looking. It didn't take long as the bear only went about 30 yards and piled up. The bear weighed around 150 pound's and Mark went back to the truck to get a carrying stretcher to make it easier to get him out of the woods. With flashlight in hand, Louise led the way back to the truck and upon reaching it we laid him down on the ground and with the headlight's of the truck continued on with the video. While shaking hands, Mark congratulated me on getting my first bear as we talked about the sequence and I thanked him for allowing me to have such a great hunt. We got the bear loaded into the truck and headed back to camp. Indeed it turned out to be an experience I would not soon forget.