Bear hunting is quite different that most other hunting in that it offers a lot more “down time” during the daylight hours. Although bears move during the morning hours, it is the evening hunt that is most productive. Cody explained that it is likely to “ruin” a promising bait sight by over hunting it or hunting during the wrong times. Thermals and wind direction change in the evening and Cody sets up his bait sights with this in mind. Therefore, he doesn’t enter the stands until the wind has made it’s change which is usually 6:30 PM or later.
A ride to the taxidermist shop with Mike’s bear filled the morning. It was exciting to see the different game animals on display and made me long to return for another hunt with Keating Outfitters for maybe elk or mountain lion.
After a filling lunch provided by Sue and Dena, I had just enough time to take a few practice shots on the mountainside behind Cody’s house. I didn’t need a treestand for elevation, as the shots were taken sharply up or down the mountain at two 3-D deer targets.
Author and Mike Carter checking out an elk rack taken last season.
With everything dead-on, I was ready to bow hunt for a color – phased bear.
Cody had told me the area he hunted usually provided a 50 percent population of colored bear. Many he said were blonde, brown and sometimes reddish brown in color. Having taken several black bear with my bow I dreamed of taking a unique colored bear on this Idaho adventure.
Cody and I entered the two man elevated stand at 6:45 PM. Cody would be operating the camera and by sitting close we could discuss the size, age and sex of any approaching bears. Only one hour passed before my first encounter with an Idaho black bear.
It was impressive to watch the 125 pound bear slip along the mountainside while not making the slightest noise. Occasionally he would rise to an upright position to check the wind with his powerful nose then approach closer. After several minutes cautiously approaching the bait, the black bear moved in and began to feed. It remained nervous and Cody told me it was most likely because the bear could smell larger bears that were also using the bait sight.
Within minutes the black bear raised his head to look behind him, then he ran up the mountainside. A large brown sow came into view as she and her two cubs approached the bait sight. It was a beautiful experience as one of the cubs was shiny black and the other was blonde. The cubs ran around and climbed trees fussing at each other while the sow ate.
They were all only 10 yards away and gave us a good show until about 9:40 PM. Then they walked away and we exited the stand.
Back at the lodge we ate another wonderful meal prepared by Sue and Dena. Before bedtime, everyone sat around the TV and watched the footage. I couldn’t wait to see what came in tomorrow!