I honestly marvel at the endless variety hunting provides. I hunt with the same group of folks every year. We run the same pieces of property, and often sit in the very same stands. That’s alot of the same. Even still, will things being so similar, things rarely ever play out the same way.
This year was no different. Similar to previous years, our efforts in 2017 began by running what is arguable the crowning jewel of the cadre of properties available to us. Natural pinch points connecting large tracts of undisturbed woods make this a magnet for deer. Not to mention there is a small lake present and plenty of close by fields for forage. When considered in context with the quality of habitat, it is no wonder that we have taken many a deer of this property. After a brief hike in, I sat up smack dab in the middle of one of the pinch points; the same stand where I harvested my very first deer.
I settled in for the 3-4 hour run, when almost immediately, the dogs began to bawl out their sounds of excitement indicating they found a scent. Gun at the ready I closed my eyes and opened my ears. As most seasoned deer hunters will tell you, stillness is a hunters best friend, and I find nothing makes you still like closing your eyes and opening your ears. I was shaken awake by a rumbling in the bush directly ahead of me which consistently grew louder. The noise peaked as three large black shapes appeared through the brush dead ahead. Recognition kicked in as I realized those shapes were a mother black bear and her two cubs.
I grew up with stories about how defensive mother bears could be. Lots of stories included hunters who got between a mother and cubs and ended up having to deal with a charging mama bear. My gun was raised and my mind nervously recounted these stories. I stayed patient and watched the mother through the sights of my rifle. Thankfully, her only interest was evading the barking hounds behind me and she casually passed to my right about 15 yards away.
We ended up taking a deer on that run, as we have many times before. Even though I didn’t shoot the deer, I was strangely satisfied with my close encounter and my forced re-evaluation of common bear behavior.
The experience definitely made for a memorable hunt. Pics below.
Cheers from the wild,
The kids even decided to come up to check out the last day of the hunt.
Another successful year.
Even the kids were interested in the deer.
And of course, the four wheeler!