Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Bear Hunting Success - A Maine Guide's Tale
Unlike with a normal bear hunting scenario, this bait location was complicated by a conscientious observer. The sport was accompanied by his wife who was planning to video tape her husband. This meant that two separate stands would need to be installed to accommodate both individuals. Adding further to the complications, were the obvious facts that two individuals double the chances that some small detail will be missed. Tops on this list are of course, scent control and movement, two of the fastest ways to make a comfortable bear leary.
As the day faded into evening and was finally enveloped in darkness, no shot indicated they had not encountered a "shooter" sized animal. Upon picking up the wide eyed sports, I was gratified to find they had great video of a smaller (110 lb)bear working the bait site but had ultimately passed on taking the animal with hopes that a larger bear would present itself before weeks end.
In reviewing the video, it appeared to be an average sized bear but some choose to roll the dice, determined to take their chances at scoring a truly massive animal. For them, time would tell if they had played their cards correctly.
Wednesday presented itself and my conversation with the sports indicated that if the 110 lb returned they would take the shot. As I settled the sports into their stands, my confidence was running high. Though the bear had failed to show, the previous evening, the bait site was cleaned out daily, indicating that it would only be a matter of time before he returned during legal hunting hours.
As Jimmy Buffet sang "Margaritaville" for an annoying 11th or 12th time, that sweltering afternoon, a single gun shot, from the clients .30-06 Springfield, suddenly shattered the songs mellow chorus line and I fumbled for the walkie. Checking the walkie volume 3 or 4 times in as many seconds, I forced myself to take a deep breath and wait. Moments seemed to crawl by, making me exponentially more and more nervous. Finally after what seemed like hours, a heavily garbled voice crackled from the speaker, "bear at pebble!".
Arriving, I was pleased to see that, despite the adrenaline rush, the sports were still in their tree stands as instructed. I asked them if the bear was down and they indicated no. I next asked where the bear was shot and to point me in the general direction the animal ran. Tracing a blood trail as wide as a two lane highway, it didn't take long to find the bear heaped up by an old stump.
With my hand tightly gripping the handle of my hand gun, I slowly approached the downed animal watching carefully to see if he was still drawing breath. Convinced that he was most likely dead, I cautiously approached and gave him a firm kick. Getting no response, I tapped his open eye with a long stick and seeing no blink was finally satisfied that I could pronounce the animal dead.
Eagle Mountain for next years bruin adventure in the Maine wilds.
For more on bear hunting - Bear Hunt to Extreme I and II and Smallest Bear Calibers. Also check out Bear Season 2010 Mixed Bag.