It’s late May and for us here at ACM that can only mean one thing, Bear’N Down Baby!
I was lucky enough to get invited, along with POSSE member Scott Wolfe, to go back up to Northwest Alberta with Jason Packer and Steve Overguard at Big Bear Country Outfitters. Last season was a barnburner and my anticipation was high for this year. Our week up at Big Bear turned out to be better than last year, if that was possible.
Scott had shot his first bear the night before and it was my turn to be the trigger man. As
we sat at lunch, Jason told me we were going to hunt the ‘End of the Line’ bait that night. There had been a lot of activity on the site and a good bear was seen. We knew the bear we were looking for because his back feet were rubbed bald. I quickly finished my lunch, changed into my Rocky gear, pulled on my new Mudsox, and we were on our way to the ‘End of the Line’.
We had hardly got our camera gear setup in the tree when we looked up and a small boar was headed our way. My Nikon’s told me this was not the bear we were after. So we finished setting up and sat down to watch the nights show. The small bear put on quite the act climbing up and down a wind fell tree that landed on the ridge pole from which we hung the beaver carcass. It made the perfect access ramp for the beaver delicacy that the bears love so much. I watched the small bear for about forty minutes when I looked up the clear cut and saw a bear standing. It looked like a good bear. I put my Monarch’s up, and the bears bald feet gave him away. Target acquired! My pulse began to throttle up as the big bruin methodically started to make his way in.
As the big bear closed the distance, I grabbed my Hoyt and started to mentally prepare myself for the shot. We were expecting him to walk to the beaver carcass the way the other bear had, but he chose not to. Instead he came in, walked right past the carcass and directly to the bottom of our Ameristep ladder stand to check out the new additions to his neighborhood. I’ll never forget the big bears’ eyes burning a hole through me as I did everything in my power to hold it together and not make eye contact with him. After what seemed like a month staring up at us, he started to walk past us, sniffing the ground where we had walked into the stand. At 8 yards while he was still sniffing the ground, the big bear opened up and gave me a perfect quartering away shot. Bad idea!
I came to full draw, asked Scott if he was on him, and before he completed the word “yeah” my Beman and two-blade Bloodrunner pounded the bears opposite shoulder. The big bruin let out a loud growl and bolted, but his fate was sealed. He made it all of 20 yards, front flipped into the clear cut and started that eery death moan. The bald footed bear had come to the ‘End of the Line’. It was a great bear squaring out at 6’ 10”. I couldn’t have been any happier.
Big thanks to Jason Packer and Steve Overguard of Big Bear Country Outfitters for having us back up, the boss man and boss lady, (Ralph & Vicki) for sending me back, and of course my Lord and Savior for allowing me to witness his awesome creation. If you’re looking for what I believe to be the best baited black bear hunting in the world, check out Big Bear Country Outfitters www.bigbearoutfitters.com. They’ve named the outfit accordingly and if you go, I’m sure you’ll agree!