I have been lucky enough to hunt bears on some good property over the years and even have had bear coming into my baits. I have lost sleep on a few occasions with the dream of a bear coming towards my stand! Still I have come up empty every time! For some reason the bear is always running a day or two late.
My first year hunting bears was back when I was 17. We baited 4 stations and out of the 4 we had been being hit on 2 of them consistently. One by the river and one in the swamp. On the hour and a half drive up to the shack my dad and I discussed who was going to sit where. I felt more comfortable with the stand by the river since I was not 100% sure on how to get to the swamp stand. So when we arrived I settled in there. It was an hour later that I heard the shot… My dad got his bear right after he got in the stand. I sat anyways and never saw a bear. That season was more of the same.
Four years later we were baiting and hunting some land closer to home. We had a bear coming in to our bait and this time my dad was going to stay out and give me a shot at it first. I sat the entire first week. Every sit was over 6 hours and 3 of those sits were through some really nasty storms, hail and all. Finally I decided I needed a night off and my dad asked if he could sit. Reluctantly I said, “Yes”. Well one hour after getting in the stand he got our bear… I won’t deny that this made me a little upset but in the end I told him he could sit in that stand and it was his property anyways so it was npt my decision anyways.
The next year my friend Mike had got his tag. I was really excited since Mike is one reason that I got back into hunting in my 20’s and he hadn’t had a lot of luck with big game. This was his chance to finally get his first big game animal. He was set up in a spot that was only accessible by boat so we dropped him off a little bit after noon. A couple hours later I took Amy out fishing, she desperately wanted to get on the board at her uncles cabin. About ten minutes after we got out we heard the shots, boom boom…..boom! I told Amy to reel up! We raced back to the cabin to get the other guys. After dropping Amy off and loading up the others we raced across the lake to help Mike get his bear.
The look on Mikes face was priceless. His eyes were wide open and his jaw was dropped. He was so excited to tell us what had happened. Mike showed us where he hit the bear and the tracking began. It didn’t go more than 50 yards. He made a great shot. I got the joy of helping Mike to field dress his first big game animal. We then began the choir of dragging the bear out. It was an average bear for northern Minnesota, but to Mike this was a trophy.
I still haven’t got a bear yet. The black bear is the only animal I have pursued and not had success. I have hunted Moose, Elk, Antelope, Turkey, Whitetail, Mule Deer all types of small game and had success in all of them. This year I will be putting in again for bear and if I get drawn I hope I get one! In the next few years I plan on doing a bear hunt in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, I think paddling out of there with a bear in my canoe would be the ultimate moment of success for me.