The End 06/24/2016
Thursday night/Friday morning was pretty depressing. I was convinced that I would never see the boar and sow again. We figured that she was in heat while they were together and was no longer in heat and drove the boar off. It felt like I got sucker punched in the gut.
I didn’t want to even head up to bait #1 because I knew they wouldn’t be up there. My brother in law that had been coming with me almost every time wasn’t going to be able to go with on Friday (the 24th) so I was scrambling last min to find someone else to go. My cousin cleared his schedule and we headed up to bait #2. The plan was to haul in new bait as we hadn’t been there for several days. I was a little worried because I had people telling me if the bait ran out the bears would disappear. We got to the trail head and I honestly didn’t expect to see anything on the camera. I decided to load extra bait on my pack and leave my bow in the truck and only take the rifle.
In a way it was good my cousin was with me. His level of excitement really helped to boost my mood. Hiking in we decided that if there were any bears on this camera we would stay for the evening and not return to bait #1 as we were planning.
We got up to the bait site and no big surprise everything was gone. It looked like the ground was dug up a little bit so I was hopeful that there were still a few bears coming in. we pulled the card from the camera and started scanning. There were hundreds of new pics! The sow with 2 cubs were coming in every night after dark. The majority of pics were of them. The sow would dig at the ground and the cubs were climbing the trees around the site. We saw claw marks 15-20 feet up the trees. There was also a new bear on the camera that we had not seen before. It was either a young boar or a sow. Hard to tell from the few pics.
I wasn’t ready for the next set of pics…
Suddenly there was a giant bear on the camera. A few more pics and it wasn’t just one bear, it was 2! Looking closer it was the sow and the boar from bait #1! HOLY CRAP!!!!! Looking at the dates and I couldn’t believe it. We had pics of them on bait #1 at 8:30 pm Monday night, and then a pic of the sow on bait #2 at 10:50 pm THE SAME NIGHT!!!! Then another set of pics with both of them at 4:30 am Tuesday. There was only the one set of pics, but it was encouraging for sure! We decided there was no way we were leaving. We quickly got set up and waited.
The wait until dark took forever. Bait 2 had the crappy chairs and the sun was right in our face. We had a couple turkeys wander through the meadow and a funky little buck that we got some video of. Finally the sun set and darkness started setting in. We had heard some noises in the thick timber but was never able to see what was causing it. 9:00 came, then 9:15, then 9:20 and still nothing. At this point it was too dark for the camera to see anything so I slowly started to get things put away. As my back was turned, suddenly there was a SNAP! I turn around as my cousin is yelling (whispering) BEAR! BEAR! SHOOT IT!
I turn to see a bear standing right on the edge of the clearing, right below where we had been hearing the noises. The bear looks around for a second and then starts heading in. Luckily the wind was in our favor, blowing in our face and blocking our scent. As I was grabbing my rifle the bear started circling the meadow to come into the bait from the downwind side. I was scrambling to get a solid rest. I tried the top of the tripod, too tall, tried to hold the legs but not steady enough. Finally I gave up on the rest and just decided I would take the shot free hand. I gave my cousin the signal I was ready and he gave a quick whistle. The bear immediately stopped and looked right at us. I center the crosshairs right on his chest and the next thing I see is the muzzle flash. Once I recovered from the recoil all I could see in the scope was his back legs in the air. He dropped right where he stood. No recovery required. BEAR DOWN!!! It all happened in less than a min. it was right at 9:25 when he stepped out of the trees. We quickly ran down to him to make sure he was down. HOLY CRAP I JUST SHOT A BEAR!!!!!!! After he was down for sure, we took a min to come back to reality. My cousin looked at me and said “now what?”
Walking up to a bear is a different experience. I watched him drop, and he hadn’t moved at all and I knew he was down, but it still was very nerve racking to approach. His head wasn’t initially visible, buried in the tall grass. His body looked big, but we didn’t know what we had yet. I grabbed his head and lifted him up and knew immediately IT WAS HIM!!!! I can’t explain that feeling at all other than it was a roller coaster of emotions.
We snapped a few pics and then ran down to the truck to make some calls to get everyone up there! I was not going to wait until morning. Everyone needed to be there now! A few miles up the road we had service. My first call was to my wife of course. She answered and all I said was don’t wait up! She replied with “what the He!! Does that mean?” BEAR DOWN!!!! I don’t think she really believed me. After convincing her it was real I made more phone calls. They all seemed to go about the same. Soon everyone was on their way. To my surprise my wife called last min and said she was coming too. Her mom came to stay with the kids and she was on her way.
At 11:30 the troops were assembled and we head up the trail. By midnight we were back up to the bear. After a million pics we started to break down the bear. What a surreal experience. We got the bear done and the blind packed up and headed for the truck. We left the carcass in the grass and set the trail cam on it. We will head back up in a few weeks and see what came in to feed off it. The hike down was quick. The hide was heavy, no doubt about it, but it was not near as heavy as some of the loads of bait we had been hiking in for the last month. I had to slow down and wait for everyone a few times. We got home about 4 am and I crawled in bed for a few hours trying to get some sleep.