We Got a Bear - Manitoba

It was the time of year when everyone starts thinking about their deer hotspots, capturing pics on their Stealthcams, and picking the perfect spot to set up their Ameristep treestand or will a ground blind work better for that area… But not me…. I had some unfinished business from Spring – an unfilled Manitoba Bear Tag.

At first I thought I would be okay with not getting a bear this year. It’s not like I haven’t shot a bear before. But as Fall approached, I realized it wasn’t just “getting a bear” that I was missing, it was the hunt and the emotional rollercoaster that always accompanies it. But did I decide too late? After a quick inventory of our options, it was evident that with a little help from Rod and Russ, I would be seeing enough bears to tempt me to finally fill my tag.

Now, to decide on a weapon, that was easy, I had taken my TenPoint crossbow on every hunt in the spring and felt so confident with it, that there was no reason not to take it out for the fall. My bolt was tipped with a Spitfire. With everything in place, the waiting game began. When will the baits get hit, what will the Stealthcams show, when will I need to slip into my Realtree camo and hit the trails?

It didn’t take long for the bears to move in and it was time to grab my cameraman (aka hubby) and get out there. But wait… first, I needed more help—someone had to cover my appointments for the day and my son would need to get picked up from school. Now I could go and in a blink (or 4 hours). I was sitting comfortably in my ladder stand and waiting for the action to start. While I was waiting, I took a deep breath, enjoyed some chokecherries that were on the tree beside me, and started thinking about the chaos it took to achieve this serene moment. I had just started to think about what intelligent thing I would say into the camera if I got a bear, but it didn’t take long before a bear appeared and my attention shifted to the reason why I was there.

I studied the bear and every time I blinked it got bigger! But it kept looking behind him so I convinced myself to wait. As soon as he left, I was sure I made the wrong choice until under the green canopy, I saw black feet. I had almost made up my mind that this was the bear I wanted before I saw it. Then, one glimpse of the large black head and I was sure. I was so excited and all I could think of was, “I’m going to go home with a bear!!!” That excitement was causing my whole body to shake and it would take a couple of deep breaths before I could hold my TenPoint steady. Everything feels right and I pulled the trigger—perfect shot, I could hear the bear run and crash and I start shaking again, said nothing intelligent to the camera and after some arguing, Russ also agreed that the shot was good enough to trail the bear tonight instead of waiting until tomorrow morning.

The blood trail was distracting to say the least, we were so amazed with what the Spitfire had done that we almost walked the 30 yards right up to the bear without seeing it. When I saw the bear, I start shaking again. Everything had come together so perfect, except now I need more help.  I need to get my bear out the bush. Russ, Rod, Jim, and John arrived at the top of the trail to share in the excitement and the work.

When I called my 6 year old son, Luke, he excitedly asked “Did we get a bear?” I could honestly say, "Yes, WE got a bear." Thank you to everyone who helped and to Archers Choice for letting me share my experience with you. Now I just need a little help with my deer hunt...

Hunter: Shelley Mehling

Cameraman: Russ Mehling