(Picture by donaldmjones.com)

As I watched the small bear on the bait, my watch learn 11:55. My pickup time was approaching, so I quietly grabbed my quiver and slipped my arrow into it. Then I observed the bear lookup. It shortly moved off into the bush. Wanting in the other way, I noticed one other bear headed to the bait, so I shortly put my arrow again on my bowstring and ready for a attainable shot alternative.

Because the bear slowly approached the bait, I instantly acknowledged it because the one I’d named “2½ Ring,” as a result of his again was between the second and prime rings of the bait barrel. The 12-yard shot was good, and the bear ran 20 yards to my proper, stood and regarded round, then slowly walked away from me. Because the bear disappeared, I heard my information’s truck on the close by highway. That was shut — too shut!

This story started in the summertime of 2012, when my good buddy Kirk Peters talked about a bear hunt deliberate with a bunch of associates within the spring of 2014. They have been booked with Ryan Derlago at his Stickflingers bear camp. It seemed like an amazing hunt, so I informed Kirk that if anyone within the group cancelled, I’d be serious about filling in. Kirk referred to as a couple of weeks later to let me know that he had two hunters cancel, and so the lengthy watch for the spring of 2014 started.

Time flies, and the following factor I knew I used to be in Ryan’s bear camp for a six-day hunt. Ryan makes use of barrels in any respect his bait websites, and he gave us a pre-hunt speech on how one can use the barrels to evaluate a bear’s measurement. Ryan informed us that if a bear’s again (when he’s standing on all fours) was as tall because the barrel, it’s best to shoot him. If his again was even with the second ring on the barrel, he was a mean bear. Ryan additionally famous that oftentimes the bears will knock over the barrel. Ought to that be the case, Ryan informed us to think about making an attempt to stuff the bear contained in the barrel. If you happen to assume the bear would simply match, he’s not a giant bear. However if you happen to don’t assume you may get the entire bear within the barrel… shoot him!

My first night was spent near camp at a bait referred to as the “Sand Pit.” I loved watching a pair good bears that night, however my first sit ended with out seeing a bear value taking pictures. The following three nights ended the identical as the primary, with me returning to camp with a full quiver of fresh arrows.

Come Day 5, the one hunters in camp with unfilled tags have been me and Kirk’s buddy Jimmy. Time was rising brief, however Jimmy and I now had much more flexibility in selecting stand places.

That is the pointblank view of the bait barrel from my “chair blind.”

Ryan prompt that I sit a stand they referred to as “Too Shut,” as a result of it had not been hunted for a couple of days and was a constant producer. The title got here from the truth that it was too near the highway, however that didn’t appear to matter to the bears.

Too Shut was close to an previous overgrown highway minimize. The bait was within the backside of the minimize on the north aspect, with the “stand” alongside the highest of the south financial institution. All the opposite baits we’d hunted that week have been from treestands, however this one was a chair on the bottom. Prior to now, some branches had been piled in entrance to offer concealment, however they’d weathered to the purpose they now not afforded a lot cowl. The chair was positioned in entrance of a small tree, which broke up my define. I used to be anxious to see what it will be wish to be at eye degree with the bears.

It was a cool, cloudy afternoon, with occasional gentle rain. It wasn’t lengthy earlier than a small bear confirmed up on the bait. I assumed he was a year-old bear at greatest and weighed lower than 100 kilos. However he was a bear, and enjoyable to look at for a child from Nebraska. After some time, he was joined by one other small bear that regarded like his twin. They chased one another round and took turns consuming.

Then the newcomer chased the primary bear up the previous roadbed to the west. Moments later, they got here again — and proper at me! When the primary bear obtained inside about 5 yards of me, he noticed one thing wasn’t proper and minimize across the brush in entrance of me whereas the chaser disappeared behind me. I used to be surrounded! The bear in entrance was clearly curious concerning the blob on the path and stood about 10 toes away, watching me. He was fairly shut… Too shut! Finally, the little man wandered again over to the bait, ate a bit, after which disappeared again into the bush.

A half-hour later, one other bear confirmed up. This bear did me the favor of standing straight in opposition to the barrel, and I may plainly see it was 2½-rings tall. I regarded it over and figured I may in all probability stuff it within the barrel with out a lot effort. It was late within the hunt, however I made a decision to let the night play out.

Abruptly, the 2½-ring bear regarded up after which took off. I froze, scanning the bush, and shortly noticed motion. It was an even bigger bear, and he paced forwards and backwards on the highest of the minimize throughout from me, popping his jaws. I didn’t transfer a muscle, as this was a bear I’d positively shoot if given an opportunity.

It’s laborious to say how lengthy he went forwards and backwards, however I felt like I had not a lot as twitched for quarter-hour. The large bear lastly made it to the bait, 15 yards away, and it regarded like my alternative was going to occur. After which, nonetheless immobile as I imagined him settling in and hopefully giving me a chance to attract my bow, one thing appeared to bump my shoulder. A second push on my again pulled me out of my trance. I slowly turned my head to look, and there, not three toes away, stood a bear — slowly backing away as I made eye contact. That was all of the commotion the large bear wanted to determine it was time to separate. He was gone right away.

Too shut? Yeah, I suppose I ought to have been scared. Or possibly mad at him for messing up my likelihood on the large bear. However the reality is, I began laughing to myself. I couldn’t assist however see the humor in what had simply occurred. The little bear obtained the drop on me when he lastly determined to return work out simply what I used to be. And the goofy look on his face when our eyes met? The entire episode was hilarious!

That was just about the top of the hunt, as darkness was quick approaching. I gathered up my gear and headed out to the highway to attend for my experience. Ryan and Mike have been each amused as I informed my story on the experience again to camp. They informed me I used to be the primary hunter they’d ever heard of who tried to play tag with bears! A brand new expertise of their camp.

For the ultimate day of my hunt, it was determined that I’d sit each morning and night. I favored the setup at Too Shut and thought there was an opportunity the larger bear would come again. As we headed out that ultimate morning, I informed everyone if the 2½-ring bear confirmed up once more, I’d not hesitate to shoot.

It was an excellent spring morning that discovered me settling into my chair about 9 a.m. I had been sitting for nearly two hours with no motion, once I simply occurred to show my head to look behind me, and there was my little buddy sneaking up behind me once more. Not this time, my buddy!

As our eyes met, he regarded away after which shortly disappeared into the woods behind me. However by no means concern, as a result of about quarter-hour later, he calmly wandered down the previous roadbed to the bait and began to eat. No less than now I knew the place he was and had some leisure that didn’t contain my direct participation!

That is the two 1/2-Ring bear I arrowed the day after my shut encounter.

And that brings us again to 11:55 a.m., and the scene initially of this story.

The bear I shot had walked out of sight and away from the path of my pickup car, permitting me to quietly slip towards the highway. Skilled guides are laborious to idiot, and Ryan and Mike instantly requested me about my lacking arrow.

“I simply shot a bear,” I informed them.

“When?” they requested.

“11:57,” I replied.

They regarded on the clock within the truck and gave me a confused look. This was as a result of the truck clock was various minutes behind my watch and hadn’t even reached 11:57.

After we returned to the location, I confirmed Ryan the place the bear had briefly stood earlier than strolling off and instantly noticed blood. I used to be happy that Ryan informed me to go forward and monitor the bear. He let me take the lead, and a brief distance later we discovered the bear after it turned off the path simply sufficient to get to the sting of a swampy space. The double-lung shot was the proper ending to a enjoyable hunt. The bear had a great disguise, and the meat was scrumptious.

Generally I ponder if that small bear is now an eight or nine-year-old bear, hanging out across the stand referred to as Too Shut, ready for a wet day to sneak up on some poor, unsuspecting hunter. He can be fairly a bit bigger at this level, so it in all probability wouldn’t be so amusing to his new sufferer, and there’s little question that hunter would assume the bear was “too shut!”

The creator is a dyed-in-the-wool conventional archer who has been on the board of the Nationwide Bowhunter Schooling Basis for over 22 years. He lives in Ainsworth, Nebraska.

Creator’s Be aware: On this hunt I used my trusty Bear Takedown recurve, ash arrows I constructed myself, and Grizzly broadheads.

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