Practical Jokes Bear Telling
By Arliss McNalley
Feb 3, 2006 – 6:58:00 AM
|Just the beginning as devious minds start working.
Practical jokes are as much a part of the group hunting
experience as the communal cooler and hittin? the sack at 4:30 am when the eastern sky is brighter than the
glowing embers of the neglected campfire.
My band of hunting buddies is particularly blessed with a number of quick-witted
pranksters. That?s why I was so happy to
be on the planning side of this particular trick one mid-May evening in Alberta black bear
My uncle was sitting at a bait a couple miles west and my
brother and cousin teamed up an equal distance to the northeast. My good buddy, Carman and I sat perched in
our bench stand over the middle bait, waiting for a black spot to appear in the
woods. Carman is the undisputed king
leg-puller of the crowd, never missing an opportunity to make us believe
there?s a big bear or buck only a head-turn away. So when I turned my head again, I was
surprised to see an actual bear coming down the trail. He stopped broadside by the barrel, allowing me
to reach full draw. A well-placed arrow
saw the bear down within sight of our stand.
?Well, that was fun,? I said. ?What are we gonna do now?? The evening had climaxed early, leaving us
about 3 hours before the guys would pick us up after sunset. We tagged the bear, posed for a photo then
proceeded to drag him towards the trail.
That?s when the fun started all over again.
?Why don?t we prop him up over this deadfall?? I
schemed. ?When the guys show up, it?ll
look like a live bear frozen in the headlights!? With two sly grins, we elevated his head with
a forked stick, brushed the leaves off his coat and sought a good hiding spot a
short distance away. From there, we
The familiar hum of the Honda engine told us that my uncle
would be the first victim (not counting the bear, of course). When he crested the last rise, the quad
brakes went on and his backup rifle came up almost instantly. You?ve heard that it?s hard to teach an old
dog new tricks. Well, let me tell you,
it?s also hard to fool an old dog with new tricks. He lowered the scope with a chuckle.
We hurriedly invited him into cahoots as the old Ford
bounced down the opposite trail, its lights flashing through the trees as it rounded
the last bend. When the bear suddenly appeared
amidst a well-chosen stand of poplars, the brake lights exploded while we tried
our best not to. My cousin cracked his
driver door and with the interior glow, we could see them discussing the
uncanny situation. Just when we thought
the gig was up, he grabbed his bow and quietly exited the pickup. He took a couple cautious paces toward the deceased
bear. He nocked an arrow?pulled back?and
?You shot high,? my brother said from the passenger
seat. ?Shoot again ? he? still standing
there!? We could hardly contain
ourselves. My cousin is a good shot and
I knew he wouldn?t miss twice. So for
the sake of our bear rug and his humility, we roared out of the bush when he
raised his bow again. We?re lucky he
didn?t turn the bow on us.
We drove back to camp, opened the communal cooler and
relived the hysteria until 4:30
in the morning.
Arliss McNalley is the Maker of the : BowKaddy
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