Monthly Archives: September 2010
We saddled our horses today to go bear hunting. We know that we do have an advantage not only with the speed of getting to our hole, but also with the sound of the horses hooves versus the sound of our hunting boots and our scent on the ground. Today we had Lea with us. I thought I would bring her along for good luck. It is always a good thing to get the children involved in the out doors.
We rode up the trail toward our water hole. Along the way we saw plenty of bear sign, or as many prefer to call it, scat! Hank & Lea played with the ripened acorns along the way. They tossed them at each other and snickered quietly. I kept wishing they would stay quiet. As we got closer to the hole, I pulled my rifle from my scabbard and prepared myself for a quick dismount in the event that one happened to be swimming and we jumped him. We stopped and I told them to keep and eye out for any bears as we rode out of the trees.
We slowly proceeded forward on our horses. Then behind me, I heard Lea making all kinds of racket. I thought to my self ”Dang it! You guys quit goofing around and pay attention” as I scanned the pond for movement. That is when Lea got louder. She was whispering as loudly as she could ”Mom! A bear! A bear! A bear!” I realized what she was doing, and she was not goofing around tossing acorns. I saw the bear who heard her just at the same time I had. He was out in the meadow but headed to the brush when he heard what she had said. I dropped my reins and jumped from my horse. I knelt on one knee to brace myself and looked for the shot as he darted into the oak brush and out of sight before I even had a chance.
Dang! I missed my chance! That was a beautiful cinnamon bear. He was just what I had been hoping for, and I missed my chance at him. All is well. We will hunt more this afternoon. We left that pond to lie since it was quite and excitement to hear him crashing through the oak brush. He was a good size bear. We could see his back as he made his way through the thickness, up the hill and out of sight.
My little good luck charm sure was one! She spotted that bear right off and even tried to quietly tell me. I think I will bring her along again for an evening adventure. We were so happy to finally have seen one that was a descent size and a cinnamon to boot. More hunting this evening!
This evening was an event filled one. Hank and I waited a little longer to head up to the water hole today because there was not a lot of action at it until just before dark yesterday. It was in the 80′s and the hike felt longer and my pack felt heavier but I was excited to hopefully see a bear.
We arrived in no time as quietly as we could. The first thing we did was grab our viewer and check the game cam to see what may have come by while we were gone. A cow elk, some cattle, a bird, an ANOTHER BEAR picture!
As I whispered this to Hank, we hard some stomping in the brush to the south. Our firsts thoughts were that it was cattle. That is when we looked at the time and low and behold it was only about 10 minutes prior to our arrival. It was not a cow we had just heard. We immediately assembled ourselves and proceeded to pursue that bear that had just been here.
We checked the wind to see what direction would be optimal and we headed into the brush from the west. It was a quick and quiet process as we made our way toward the point that would be most down wind from where we heard the sound. We proceeded and then stopped and waited. We heard some logs being tousled. We moved forward a little further then stopped and listed. We heard brush being moved. We headed into the woods a little more. The brush was thick and tough to maneuver quietly through. We edged forward peering over the oak which was more than waist-high.
I was looking for the top of a bear. I knew it would be hard to see him through the thickets and oak brush. I anticipate the sight of ears or the top of a head or maybe even the hump of his shoulders. Nothing. I edged forward a little further and then CRACK, CRASH from the tree right in front of me. Hank and I weren’t sure if it was coming or going. Our hearts jumped and the blood pumped! I raised my rifle and threw the safety in the blink of an eye and Hank reached for my pistol as we heard the crashing and then it moved away. The bear was no more than 15 feet away in that tree before it moved. He was hidden and concealed below the brush. We ran forward a few paces trying to get a good view of him. Logs bumped and branches broke as he headed to the top of the hill where we were. He was now no more than 50 yards from us but we still could not see him. We could hear as he walked slowly across the top.
We didn’t want him to run so we quietly retreated back to the water hole to formulate our next move, or maybe just to wait. We waited for nearly an hour and heard a few bumps of logs over in that thicket to the south. We listened to see if they were moving closer or further. We must have been sitting there, listening, whispering and telling our story over and over again about the excitement before for at least an hour. A chipmunk shreaked and we heard brush movement to the south. Could it be him? Would he come out into the open soon?
We waited, huddled in the oak brush hearing thumps and cracks to the east and constantly checking the north and west. We have seen tracks from at least nine bears so we were sure another could possibly come from the other direction. Then it was quiet. What ever was coming from the south behind the brush had quit moving. We continued to wait. It would be about 15 minutes to sunset and then 30 more minutes of shooting light.
Suddenly out of the corner of my eye I saw movement. I looked through the branches and saw a bear cub trotting by from the north. Now my heart really raced. I whispered to Hank because I knew he hadn’t seen the cub. “A cub!” I showed him where and my hand shook. As quickly as I saw the cub, it was gone. I told Hank, “If there was a cub there, where was its mother?!”
We sat as still and silent as we could. My heart pounded out of my chest and the blood was pumping so hard that I felt like the top of my head was coming off. Hank said he heard a snort some distance behind us. My heart raced more if that is possible. We peered around through the branches we were hidden in. We saw nothing. We waited what seemed like an eternity without hearing another sound or seeing another movement. We finally made the decision to head out before dark just in case we came to a confrontation with that mother bear.
I stood out side the bush and scanned the area for bears while Hank gathered my pack. I was worried that sow may be near, and I am sure Hank was even more worried since he wasn’t the one with a gun. We strapped the packs on and quietly headed down the mountain as the sun went down. I am glad to know the sow is in there. Tomorrow we will be sure to look for the big man and steer clear of her. Thanks to God, we never did get a glimpse of that sow today!
We had been scouting for a few weeks and found our spot. We found a nice water hole that had some good bear tracks around it. We decided to set a game cam by the hole to see what may be coming and going without leaving our scent in the area each day. We checked it a couple of times the week before season. We found that at a couple of the spots were getting no hits even though there were fresh tracks around the pond. After a couple of tries, we finally found a good spot and were getting some action. Mostly cattle, but at least the camera was working.
We checked the camera and water hole one last time the day before opener. That morning on our way up we found a HUGE bear track. It was fresh, fresh in the mud ahead of us.
We were surely following it up the trail. Mind you, this was the day before season! We proceeded with caution. We quite a few more tracks through out the morning and we are sure we are looking at about 9 different sets of tracks from bears.
When we arrived at the camera, it was pointing directly at the ground. Something had tried to pull it from the tree. We were excited with anticipation and quickly pulled the card to see what we had captured. Sure enough, all we saw was bear fur! Just the top of the bears head and an ear.
We have a picture of the top of his head and what we think is his furry side. We were excited! A super nice large track, and now a little sign of bear on our camera. We re-set it and snuck out, heading home filled with excitement for what the next day (opening morning) would bring.