I am still pretty new to bear hunting, I get the basic concept, but its still pretty new and exciting to me. This past week my dads neighbor asked me if I wanted to come with him to his bear bait. I of course said “yes” and promptly headed to his nearby house via my dads side-by-side ATV. As I pulled up I noticed that Ken, the neighbor, had a trailer hooked to his quad which had in it three large pails and a fifty pound sack of oats. I was now starting to have suspicions of why a young guy like me was invited to “come see” the bear bait. Work or not I was still interested. I followed Ken down a long dirt trail, we then hopped off of our ATV’s, he loaded an old defender shotgun and I geared up with my bow just in case I saw something. We first hauled the pails in and Ken filled the drum with old grease and nasty old food. We then walked the short jaunt back to the quads to grab the sack of oats for me to carry in. Ken did offer to carry it if I got tired, but I’m too bull headed to accept help. We filled the barrel and this time remembered the key for the trail camera, only to discover that the camera had failed to take any pictures.
Ken then looked at me and said “Wanna sit for a half hour?” I jumped at that chance. We climbed up the tree stand at about 7:45 pm and sat for about fifteen minuted before we heard some crunching behind us. I slowly looked over my right shoulder and saw a nice black bear walking towards us. Ken saw it too and we gave each other a bit of a grin and looked back at the bear walking towards the bucket left right under our stand then gave each other another smile, but a bit more nervous this time. The bear walked right between the tree and the ladder for our stand and began chewing on and playing with a green bucket we had used to transport old grease for bait, after about five minuted of chewing and playing the bear decided it was his now and promptly took it with him in the wilderness.
Ken and I had a great laugh at watching the lime green bucket disappear into the woods and trust me there are few thing that make as much noise as an empty plastic container brushing against trees. We sat and waited for a bit longer when suddenly an adorable little cinnamon coloured bear appeared at the bait and simply started eating, the cinnamon bear must have been a little smarter since he made it all the way to the bait.
The little cinnamon bear didn’t do much exciting, just had a bit to eat. It was about this time that the bucket thief came back to see what else there was to play with and sure enough he found the rope hanging from our tree stand. He bopped it a few times and then began to climb the tree, I had to think fast to try and remember if bears are good climbers, as best I can recall there are a few pictures online of bears inside tree stands. I opted to let Ken know there was a situation on my side of the stand. We immediately stood up and yelled at him which spooked him back about ten meters for about five minutes then he came back and started batting around branches and logs. He did a half hearted bluff charge towards the tree so Ken decided to show me just how amazingly loud that little defender shotgun is… Once my ears quit ringing I told him how impressed I was with the noise. Sadly the bear was barely phased (haha puns are fun) by the thunderous sound.
The cinnamon bear near the bait had somewhat retreated into the woods and the black bear simply seemed to lose interest in us. The cinnamon bear resumed eating and the black bear slowly worked its way toward the bait and eventually evicted the cinnamon bear. That black bear proceeded to stuff his face at the bait for nearly an hour. It was starting to get dark so Ken and I began yelling at the bear and waving our arms etc. According to Ken, who is quite knowledgeable about bears, they usually get scared and leave once they realize you’re human. This bear.. not so much, we would yell, it would look at us, and then keep eating. We fired some buckshot in its general direction, again to try and scare it off so we could leave, it stood up, looked at us, and resumed eating. We were stuck in a tree with a shotgun and a bow and it was getting dark, yet somehow all we could do was laugh hysterically… or nervously at the situation.
I was debating shooting the bear, I had the tag, it would have been completely legal, but it was a small bear and I wasn’t fully prepped at home to deal with skinning and processing a bear. That said I do think a bear that isn’t afraid of gunfire and yelling might represent a threat to quaders and hikers in the area. We debating the pros and cons of shooting the adorable little bear, and yes the fact that bears are pretty cute came into play. Our eventual plan boiled down to me going first out of the stand while he covered me with the shotgun at which point he would lower it down to me and climb down himself.
Just as we began to execute this plan the bear decided he was full and wandered away… good! Problem solved. I climbed down, knocked an arrow into my bow just in case, and Ken climbed down and loaded his shotgun as fast as he could. Once on the ground I noticed that both the bears we had seen that day were in sight and withing about a forty yard radius, luckily they still seemed pretty disinterested in us. We walked back to the quads and headed for home. By the time it was all said and done we had made it out of the tree stand a little after ten pm, meaning our half hour stretched to the neighborhood of 2.5 hours. But hey… It was totally worth it. I was also very disappointed to find that my video camera hadn’t been recording audio, its still new to me and honestly I dont think it has that function.
Posted in Archery, Hunting, Videowith 1 comment.