The Missing Bear Hunts – Fred’s Bear
By Fred Lutger
Jul 20, 2009 – 9:23:07 PM
2008 Canada Bear Hunt, Fred’s Bear
I practiced hard for the hunt this year. I shot almost every day. I put a new arrow rest, stabilizer and release loop on my bow. I shot bulls eye after bulls eye in my back yard. I was confident in my equipment and my shooting. That said, the second day I hunted, I put a high hit on a bear that I knew was not in the vital area. I use lighted nocks, 5 1/2″ white feathers and white wraps on my arrows. That helps me see the arrows impact. My hit wasn’t where I wanted it.
Regardless, we showed up in force the next morning and followed what sign we had. We lost the bear’s trail and spent hours combing the area with no recovery. I hunted that bait for 2 more days but it was not revisited.
I set up a new bait sight I called Buddy’s bait. It was a very active sight and I put a stand up there on the 4th morning of the hunt. I returned that evening and quietly climbed to my stand and had a seat. I put on the new safety belt the Tree Stand Safety Belt made by Mountaineer Sports. It is used in addition to my safety harness. I fastened it around the tree and then around my waist. This safety belt holds you tight in your stand and adds a margin of safety that stops you from falling off your seat and stand. As tired as I was from the long days of this year’s hunt, this was comforting.
The woods were very still. At a little after seven I heard that distinctive crack of an approaching bear. The bear did not come directly to the bait but circled about 100 yards away. It went in the direction of my truck. I could hear it on the trail I walked in on but I never got a glimpse of the bear because of the thick foliage.
After a few minutes I heard the bear coming closer. Bushes moved to my front and I caught glimpses of the approaching bear. Again the bear went behind the bait. I watched and listened. Minutes later I saw the bear far to my left walking back toward the area I first heard him. He was a good distance away but turned and made a bee line straight to the log covered bait in front of me. This whole episode took an hour.
I was loosing light. I always tell my hunters to wait until the bear is on the bait and offers a broadside shot. This bear was standing in front of the bait at a good quartering away shot. I came to full draw and took my shot. My lighted knock lit up and my arrow buried to the fletch. I saw the bright red nock as the bear ran back behind the bait and disappeared.
I noted the last spot I saw the lighted nock. A few seconds later I heard the bear’s death moan.
I lowered my bow and got out of the stand and walked to the spot the where bear had stood. Then light lit up a trail of blood that is every bow hunter’s dream. In a short distance I saw the lighted nock flashing in the distance. It was in a bunch of tag alders that was almost too thick to walk in. The bears had worn a good trail through them. I parted bushes and went to the bear.
Next I followed the bear trail back to my bait and headed for the road and my truck. Robbie Craimer was with Robert Hoague at the big rock bait a couple miles away. They came by to check on me on their way to meet with the other hunters. I told them my bear was dead and I had already found him. We decided to drag him out right away. That saved us a lot of time not having to return after meeting up with the other hunters. It was a long drag, not because the bear went far but because this bait was far back in the woods.
We loaded the bear on the back of the truck and met with the remaining bear hunters. More good news, Don Himmelberg informed us that he also had shot a bear. He asked if we should look for it right away. I said lets wait until morning.
First light the next day we found Don Himmelberg’s bear and returned to camp. Chef Klaus made a great breakfast, took pictures and got to skinning. Bear camp is fun.
Life is good, Fred