I’m getting excited about bear hunting. It is one of my favorite hunts… Wait, they’re all my favorites right?! I love hunting, and I love the outdoors. With the anticipation of the upcoming season, I want to share one of the MANY memorable encounters I’ve had with bears in the woods. What experiences have you had & what’s on your list this year?
On the first day at our hunting spot, we saw three bears! That day I learned we had very little time to judge the crossing bears and less time for me to raise my gun to make a shot. I would have to be quick because there was such a small window of opportunity where the bears were crossing. I decided to keep my rifle on my shooting sticks and close to my shoulder so I would be ready for a shot. We sat, and we sat.
We hunted that thick brushy area for several days. It felt like months. We saw lots of bears. Some smaller than my dog and some as big as a car. I was fascinated watching their mannerisms and demeanor. Studying them is part of what I love about hunting.
One day a nice bear appeared directly in the clearing, right in the center of the cross-hairs, broadside for a perfect shot.
I quickly scanned the scene and flipped my safety off when, into the picture ran two small cubs. WOA!!! Fortunately, I did not squeeze a shot off. It is not legal nor is it ethical to shoot a sow with cubs.
Then my heart jumped! Bears are dangerous! They are definitely not “Teddy” bears, and a momma bear will protect her cubs. We sat motionlessly.
We watched as that sow disappeared into the brush and then crossed back toward the trees. Only one cub followed her. The other cub remained on the opposite side of the clearing. My heart jumped further into my throat, and my head pounded. I turned my eyes toward Hank as the momma bear grunted. We waited to see what was going to happen. If that cub didn’t go would momma catch our scent and come after us? She headed away behind a bunch of scrub oak. With another grunt, the young’n finally trotted to her location.
We felt some relief, except we knew she wasn’t gone. We could still see movement behind the brush. Our hearts raced as the sow reappeared just thirty yards in front of us with her hair burled up. Her hide stood about six inches off her shoulders and back. We thought she had winded us! I slowly moved my hand to my pistol in preparation for defense. The sow grunted and groaned. The cubs followed her. Finally, after what seemed to be an eternity, she herded the two cubs up the hill and away from us.
Mia Anstine is an outdoor writer, licensed outfitter, hunting guide, life coach, keynote speaker, and range safety officer, firearms instructor, and archery instructor. She is the founder of MAC Outdoors and Host of the MAC Outdoors Podcast.
Mia Anstine strives to encourage others to get outside, hunt, fish, shoot, and survive life with others in a positive way.
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