All of a sudden I turned my head and there was a small bear not 30 feet below me. How that little devil got there without making a sound I’ll never know. I didn’t shoot him. Heck, once his hide was tanned it would hardly be big enough to make one mitten, and a pair of mittens is far more useful. After a while, he wandered off and so did I.
The other two bears already had been taken by other hunters. The bigger one was shot behind Black Mountain at about 8:30 in the morning. We dragged that 300-pounder all day and finally got it to the car just before dark. I vowed right then and there I’d never shoot a bear that was over a quarter-mile from the road unless I could drive right to it.
A bear is like a bowl full of Jell-O, without the bowl. They roll back-and-forth and catch on everything.
I did shoot a nice bear in New Brunswick, Canada, about 10 years ago. I sat in a tree stand for several hours before I even saw a bear. I have trouble sitting very long but realized that if I wanted a bear, I’d have to stay put and sit still.
After about three long, boring hours, I got the feeling that something was watching me. I slowly turned my head and there was a bear. It had obviously circled the bait and checked to see if anyone was sitting in that stand. He eased back into the forest and I never saw him again.
A couple evenings later, a bear wandered right into another bait like he owned the place. I decided then that he was the first and last bear I’d ever take.
My dad and I went on several bear hunts across Canada and down into Maine. He was thrilled when he took a bear about 100 miles north of Michigan on the eastern end of Lake Superior. We had a lot of fun on those trips, even when we didn’t get anything. It was something we did together, leaving us with a million memories.
And so, I wished my friend good luck. I told him to pick out something he’d like to see — maybe waterfalls or something — and hike to it. That way, if he didn’t see a bear, at least he’d get a nice, scenic walk out of it.
Rick Brockway writes a weekly outdoors column for The Daily Star. Email him at email@example.com.