Fred Lutger of Freddie Bear Sports and Fred Lutger’s Wilderness Bowhunts. Fred has taken bowhunters on bear hunts for over 30 years.
It is appropriate to mention that I arrived at the bear hunt two days
after the actual bear hunt. The other bear hunters had already returned
to the U.S. So my hunt boiled down to hunting with two of my best
Due to flight delays I arrived a day late and that meant we had 4 days
to hunt instead of the planned 5 days. Plus, we had to load all the
treestands and other gear that went with us and be ready to return to
Fred’s store Freddie Bear Sports in Tinley Park, Illinois.
As you know I got a bear on my first hunt and the next day Mike Ditchler
(Chef Klaus) got one too. So on Day 3 and 4 Fred Lutger was the only
hunter. Fred had seen bears but so far had passed on them. The main
agenda for our last two days was to run the baits, hunt and get loaded
up and ready to leave early for the border early
the 5th day.
When we checked baits Fred was particularly interested in two
locations, the one where the ThermaCELL saved our hides and another
bait, several miles away, in a pine forest.
In both places, Fred had
found super jumbo sized bear scat, a sure sign of a huge bear. And both
baits were getting hammered every day for the last two weeks.
The ThermaCELL site had a TrailTimer event counter that showed the
times that a bear had visited the bait. This gave us reliable
information about the time of the daytime visits and the visits did not
have a pattern. Some days bears came in the morning and on others they
visited the area mid-day or late in the day. One bear took a liking to
the TrailTimer and bit and clawed it.
Here is the display showing the times of the events.
And here is a view of the TrailTimer from the far side of the bait logs.
I went with Fred on Day 3 to do video duty. But no bears showed up to video.
On Day 4, the last day to hunt, we went to the ThermaCELL site to pull
the two treestands. Fred and Mike were doing busy work so I grabbed a
bait bucket and walked into the woods on the trail that led to the
bait. It had rained during the night the last two days and that made
for very quiet walking. Also the woods is thick here and visibility is poor. I was at the
edge of the small clearing where the bait logs were when something out
of place caught my eye.
A bear butt. A big one. Ten yards away.
Wooo-eeee. A big bear was scarfing up the bait. I
froze immediately, expecting to be discovered. But the bear didn’t pick
up on me.
I backed out slowly.
Then I stepped it up and hurried to tell Fred to get his bow and go after this bear. He did.
Mike and I waited at the truck, silently, listening intently.
Meanwhile, Fred rounded a blind corner in the trail. Fifteen yards
ahead, at the edge of the bait clearing, a big bear stood in the trail,
looking at Fred.
Both predators stood motionless, watching each other for a couple of
minutes. Fred looking for an opening. The bear trying to figure out
what was happening. Then the bear turned and, not fast; but not slow enough for a shot, made his exit.
Fred returned to the truck and told us what happened. That afternoon we didn’t see any bears. After dark we pulled the stands.
Back at the lodge Fred used my satellite phone to see if he could
arrange to stay another day and hunt the big bear. If he could we would set up a Double Bull there in the morning and stay all day. But no such luck, so
at 5:00 in the morning we began our drive back to Illinois.
Next year we will be back at the lodge with the 2010 bearhunting group
and start the 2010 bear hunt off with the traditional toast, “To the
And Fred will tell everyone one more time, “There are two kinds of people in the
world, those who have killed bears with a bow, and those who haven’t.”