One Hair Raising Incident

Send by email Printer-friendly version Share this

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.

Comments

Deer Slayer's picture

If that was me that would be

If that was me that would be a dead bear. I don't know much about bears just because I don't live in bear country and we don't have to be concerned with things like that. Congratulations on your bear. It was an exciting story and I enjoyed reading it. It sounds like you have dealt with bears on several occasions and you know what you are doing. I'd back your decision 100%.

elkkill06's picture

Thanks !

Thanks again everyone ! 

I am very glad that you enjoyed the stories and the support of the real hunters on here. My father and brother have both had to shoot charging bears on seperate occasions with there bows. Now that is keeping there composure.

Thanks again all of you ! Thanks for reading my stories !

Quinton

ManOfTheFall's picture

Seeing that I don't live in

Seeing that I don't live in bear country that would have definitely scared the crap out of me. I definitely would have shot that bear. I did enjoy reading the story. It's always good to have some hair raising excitement thrown in here every now and then. I will also congratulate you on your bear, but I'm sure you would have rather had one of those nice big bull elk. Thanks for sharing.

riojohnmckinney's picture

that bear is more story than bear

A warning shot would have caused the bear to flee up that tree or at least given you chance to retreat away. You could have kept moving away, after all you walked up on the bears you could have walked away. It is a small sized bear. I have had them come into my campground twice, I have run the bear (s) off both times. I only hunt/shoot/kill the big, fully grown animals, however, I have no problem with you shooting any legal animal. You get zero points in my book for that bear but you say you were "in trouble" so that makes it allright I guess. I don't think you were in trouble, in fear maybe, but you really didn't have to kill that bear to save yourself in my honest opinion. You shot a small (less than 200lb, mother bear with cubs of arguable age) You get no points for that, nor any points for crapping your britches, killer.

Critter's picture

It is always interesting to

It is always interesting to hear the advise or opinion of a person that wasn't there.  Granted a loud noise may of made the bear leave but what if it hadn't then where would of you been? 

I have been in the same type of situation and I all I had to make a loud noise with was a bow and arrows.  Now that sow bear with cubs was only 20 yards away and I knew that I was about to meet my maker.  If I would of had a pistol with me that day and the sow would of came within 15 yards she would of been a dead sow and we would of lost a couple of cubs.  But my safety would come first and I would not of fired a warning shot. 

elkkill06's picture

Everybody has a right to there opinion !

rio,

I honestly do not believe that this time was a bluff. I have been in many (I mean many) situations with bears. When they bluff charge you they do not foam at the mouth. I have been bluff charged by one bear four times before he turned and ran off and that was with just a bow in my hands at less than 7 yards. I had a huge boar come into my camp and take a doe, that was quartered and in bags. that did charge me and ran me back into the camper and then ran off with the hind quarters. I had another big male come in behind me while working a bull elk and when he seen me he turned and ran away. Do they usually give up and leave, yes, but I personally know of four times they did not. In the same area one guy (from Texas) that ran into the same situation as I did in getting into a mess with a sow and her cubs and he ended up getting mauled and his head chewed up. The CDOW came up with dogs and ended up killing her and the the two cubs were a year younger than the ones with the sow I killed.

Now as far as the size of the bear she had a 17" skull (which is quite big for a female) and is 5' 6" from nose to tale. One more thing to add I ended up killing the boar (the young male) three years later on a Septmber hunt. The CDOW new because of the tag in his ear. So do not go telling me I do not know how to typically handle a bear situation sir.

Quinton

numbnutz's picture

WOW!! Great story, I would

WOW!! Great story, I would have done the same thing as you did. If my life is in danger i will defend myself at all cost. She looks like a good healthy bear, congrats and I'm glad you and your wife and friends are ok. On a side note i would have probaly had to change my shorts after that.LOL

jim boyd's picture

Quinton, That is a hair

Quinton,

That is a hair raising incident to say the least!

I live in fear of a situation like this... we do not have these challenges in the areas I hunt...

I am glad you acted quickly and decisively, that is for sure.

I am also glad that you followed the rules, reporting your kill - and were not cited for any violations.

Now - a two year old bear - and chasing him up a tree with a stick... that is NOT going to be me!

Getting the broadhead back is an amazing thing, also... I wonder if you gave it back to Mr. Wilson as a keepsake?

It is amazing what wild animals can take as it relates to injury - and then end up perfectly healthy.

Great story - loved it!

You have so many stories to tell - judging from your pictures, I am not sure you can tell that many stories!

Send us some more...

Jim

elkkill06's picture

Thanks Jim !

I am as afraid of snakes as you are of bears ! So do not feel to bad. I did return the broadhead to Mr. Wilson and he was quite surprised.

As others have said, you typically are never going to have a problem with a bear. Although I have had several encounters with bears including one that I allowed to charge me 4 times with only my bow in my hands. It was a young boar around 230-250 pounds and he would charge and swat the ground about 7 yards from me and I actually could feel the dirt hit me in the face. I guess I talked the bear out of hurting me ;) while I ran off a great 6 point bull and 5 cows I was sneaking in on when the whole thing happened.

The only other bear that truely scared me was a big male that actually stalked me and that one definately made my hair stand up. I have also had a very big male come into my brother and I while we were calling in several bulls on the last day of that particular archery season, but as soon as I turned to see what was coming in behind us he realized what I was and booked it.

One other time I was out with 2 buddies in the summer calling coyotes and after 40 minutes of calling I had this young boar come charging into the call. Of course I was in full camo and ended up with him at 3 feet from the end of my barrel. I had to stand up quickly and pull off my face mask to get him to turn around. As he went around behind me I also yelled at him and he took off.

So as you see most of them will take off when they know what you are. I guess I just hunt an area that is full of bears. If it makes you mare comfortable definately carry that bear spray you are picking up.

Quinton

groovy mike's picture

Wow!

Quite a story indeed!

elkkill06's picture

No citation ! ;)

One thing I messed up was that it was 1993, not 2003.

jaybe,

I did not receive any citation, because in Colorado, if they (the young bears) do not have there milk teeth still they are not considered cubs. Being 2 years old they were well past that point. They both wieghed about 150 pounds a piece. Also what helped was the fact that I had an OTC bear tag for that first season along with an elk tag.

They also sent me all the info on the mother sow and it was very cool reading.

jaybe's picture

Wow!

That's quite a story! I have been hunting in Michigan for over 40 years and we have bears here, but I have never encountered one in the woods.

It used to be that when you bought a deer license you were also able to shoot a bear, but that changed many years ago. Now we have separate bear seasons, tags, etc.

One question: did you get a citation, or did they accept your explanation of shooting in self-defense?

Thanks for the story - it got my heart rate up to speed this morning.