Bear Hunting Up a Tree
There isn’t time to write how-to’s and other helpful posts. I’m putting up veggies and herbs from the gardens, we’ve been on vacation, and now I’m hunting. We’ve been tending three bait sites for 33 days now. Monday was opening day and I’ve been bear hunting up a tree. I’m up the tree, not hunting bears that are up a tree.
It didn’t take long for my butt and back to remind me of why I prefer to hunt from the ground rather than a tree stand. There’s a knot on the tree, right between my shoulders. Sitting straight back to relax isn’t an option. The seat is short and cuts off a few inches from the top of my thigh. Uncomfortable, at least until I give in to move enough to lean to one side or another, shifting my butt a little to the left or right or ahead. Why DO I love this so much?
And then it took a while to get reacquainted with the sounds in a section of woods I know well. A loud, sharp crack ahead and to my left got my attention. I looked in its direction – into the tree tops – and felt silly for thinking something cracked a branch on the ground. A moment later a raven called and claimed the snapping of the branch of a red pine. Two young blue jays perched in nearby trees, unsure of what was blending in with the tree. The Canada jays weren’t shy, hopping branch to branch to get closer, check me out, maybe remember me being there a year ago. I think they know they’re my favorite; they find me most every day I’m in the woods.
After hours of sitting still I thought I saw something. Movement caught my eye, to the right of the barrel, behind the tree last year’s bear stood beside before stepping into the open. I. Didn’t. Budge. Drops of adrenaline punched up the pace of my heart beat. It moved…again. And from behind the tree darted a gray squirrel. I can’t help but get a little excited. There isn’t a bear coming to the site during daylight so I really wasn’t expecting a bear, but still…
Something caused a scrambling noise behind me. Unable to turn to look through the trees, I had no way of knowing what it was. Nothing came my way and a minute later that little shot of adrenaline was gone.
A Hootin’ & A Wailin’
Loons started to wail around 3 pm. In the 48 weeks since I sat in that spot I’d forgotten about the loons. It’s easy to relax and watch the woods while the loons are calling, even when they’re wailing. Around 5 pm the first “who? who cooks for you? who cooks for you?” came through the woods. I’d forgotten the barred owls that call back and forth, usually starting around 5 pm. Last year I could hear great horned owls as well. There weren’t many small birds to see and hear but the larger birds made up for it. I started to feel at home again.
This is my view, zoomed in. I sat behind the pile of brush, my ground blind, last year when it had leaves and sprills. A bear walked in from behind the tree stand and walked along the ground blind. We put up a game camera to be sure it was a bear. I sat in the tree stand about a week, until the bears disappeared. Look closely. The first tree to the left of the barrel, also in front of the barrel, is where the game cameras are hung.
He’d put a lot of meat in the freezer. Other photos confirm this is a boar.
Steve’s site, and three reasons he isn’t hunting there. On the few days that he can hunt I’ll sit here and hope for the sow and cubs in daylight while he sits at my site and hopes for the big bear. We don’t shoot wet sows and cubs.
It’s an odd year. Bears are walking through sites without stopping, showing up several nights in a row and then not again for a week, if ever. Friends who usually have a half dozen bears in each night haven’t had a half dozen bears in the last five weeks. It’s dry, we’re in a drought. I can think of reasons but as far as knowing why it’s odd, <shrug> beats me.
I’ve been mobbed by chickadees and gray jays this week, and six seriously annoying blue jays. It’s Friday. I’m not hunting today but I’ll be back at it tomorrow, in a ground blind on another piece of land instead of bear hunting up a tree. Waiting, patiently and impatiently at the same time, to fill the freezer.