Sunday, May 25, 2008

Firsts #8 Chris's Bear

Chris was one of the young men we took with us on last weekend's Proving Trail Adventures hunt. Chris had never been hunting before. He took this nice boar at 10:00pm on the last night of the hunt. The things these kids are learning on these hunts are invaluable. Getting this bear was a testament to Chris of God's faithfulness and to never give up.

Firsts #7 Wyatt's Bear

Proverbs 22:6 "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it."

I wrote a few months ago about some notable "firsts" helping friends to their first big game animals. Search through the archives to read some of those. Last weekend Scott and I led a group into the mountains for the first Proving Trail Adventures Youth Hunt, where 11-year old Wyatt bagged his first animal - a black bear. What makes this an even more unique first is that Scott and I helped Wyatt's dad, Joel to his first as well. What a thrill to help a father help his son be successful in the woods. One shot from 244 yards with a 30.06, not bad for anyone, let alone a little guy like Wyatt. He proved to be cool under pressure though with a confident, steady hand. Joel (and wife Tami) have done a great job training up Wyatt. He's a chip off the old chunk. He breaks out randomly in song, makes quirky off-handed comments, reads Louis L'amour and loves building campfires.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Black Bear Gets A Pass

Learned something about myself as a hunter a couple weekends ago. Scott and I headed out Saturday morning for a quick overnight black bear hunt north of town. The spot is crawling with bears and about as close to a slam dunk as I've ever found, but unfortunately we climbed up to the bear meadows only to find 4 feet of soft snow. We waded around for awhile and quickly decided to bail back to the lowlands. Discouraged that our plans had been foiled by the late spring, we really weren't into it anymore but hung out for awhile anyway watching some hillsides down low, but not expecting much. Mostly we tried to get some shut-eye. After a couple hour nap we awoke and Scott spots a bear across a canyon at the top of a cottonwood tree. Range is 330 yards. A long shot for sure but doable under the circumstances. Its an average bear probably a 5 to 5 1/2 footer, but we've both shot big bears and this trip was supposed to be more of a predator control or "whack and stack" hunt, we weren't concerned with size. So I get a solid rest, Scott is on the video camera and spotting scope to call shots. Bear presents himself with an open broadside angle. Safety off and...I just don't feel like shooting him. Weird. I just wasn't excited about it. Being so far away and without having to make any kind of stalk, it just felt more like killing than hunting. Scott felt the same way. Conversation went something like this:
"Do you want to shoot him?"
"I guess, but you can if you want."
"Naw, go ahead."
"You sure, you can have him. I don't care."
And back and forth like that until the bear finally moved off. Can't say I'd do the same thing tomorrow if the opportunity presented itself again, but it sure was an interesting note to my hunting career.

The picture is me withthe 6' 10" black bear from a couple years ago that didn't get a pass. Black bear season is in full swing now so stay tuned for more hunting updates soon.