More Scouting... Better Results
I can't believe how fast the time goes between blog posts sometimes. I had planned on writing last week, but got caught up in work, more work and then planning for the weekend hunt. During hunting season it might be difficult to keep up, but I promise to do my best!
Last Thursday was a day that I have been looking forward to for 3 weeks. To make a long story short, my buddy Eric and I knew where we wanted to go to locate the highly traveled route the bears were taking. We mapped it and set out in the AM to find our spot. One of our eager new seminar attendees, Don, accompanied us on our quest. After just a couple of hours we located exactly what we were looking for. Tracks, tracks, more tracks and lots of bear sign. There were at least 4 distinct trails, 5 sets of prints and bear hair and scratches all over the trees. We hiked back up the drainage about a quarter mile and found the perfect ambush spot. Jackpot! All three of us were very excited and couldn't wait to get our stands up. Unfortunately, we'd have to wait to get them up because we still needed to acquire the second stand. Phooey!
Fast forward to Saturday morning. Eric and I knew that we were going to put up our stands in the early afternoon for our evening hunt. What that really meant was we wanted to sleep in for a bit. Some call it lazy while I call it conservation of energy. We met up at our usual spot with twice the gear we normally have. Bear season had already opened the Saturday before, so I had to bring my bow, pack and cooler in case we were successful in arrowing a bear. I was happy to pack it all! Happy AND excited! We also had two stands to hang and some brush to clear. While driving to our destination we spotted 3 different sets of tracks on the road. It was exciting because they were really close to where we had planned to hunt. The anticipation was almost too much to bear (yes, the pun is intended)!
We loaded up and hit the trail to our ambush spot. Eric was using a Redhead frame pack to carry his gear, while I was using my Redhead Mountaineer backpack. What a difference between the two. He had more weight on his back, yet is was so much easier to hike with his frame pack than my backpack. Looks like I'll be investing in some more gear soon! I'll have to sell some of what I don't use first!
The hike in was exceptional and worth waiting until the afternoon to get in there. Once we arrived the work began. We set up two stands, one for filming and one for the shooter. Our trees are very close together, so communication should be a snap. After we finished with the stands, we realized we had made great time and decided to head down the trail and set up a game cam. It forced us to do some more strenuous hiking, but my chubby frame needed a workout. The half mile hike to and from was good exercise, so why not follow that up with some food, right? Sounded good to me! We cooled off while we ate our lunch and planned the evening hunt.
Game time! We changed into our camo, stowed our excess gear and got into the stands. We knew we would have a long sit, about 4 hours, but it would be worth it if a big bruin walked our trail. I hadn't anticipated the 35 mph gusting winds and that made the sit seem twice as long. My eyes were burning from being wind-whipped, which made me feel very tired. Fortunately, our stands were in two very solid trees, so there wasn't much sway to them. The benefit to the wind was no bugs, which meant I didn't have to fire up the ThermaCELL.
The first two hours went by very slow, even for me, but hours three and four brought a little excitement. The wind died down during the third hour and once it did the forest sounds kept us looking all around. The major eye-opener was when we both hear a cub (or two) growling and playing/fighting with a sibling. At least that's what we thought was happening to him. It sounded like it was within a hundred yards, but we never saw them or mama bear. Later on we heard a very odd sound. Still not sure what it was, but it sounded like a deeper call of a rabbit in distress. Sort of. It was on and off for about 10 minutes and we couldn't figure out if it was a yote, bear mating call or someone sucking wind from a hike.
We had an exciting day to say the least, yet that was the extent of it. No bears made an appearance and the wind made for a chilly evening, but we had a great time. Spending time with friends on the outdoors is one of the most enjoyable things ever. I learned a great deal from Eric and hope to put what he's shared with me to good use. I'll keep you all posted on our adventures. I'm not sure when I'll be heading back up there. DIY Pro Staffers Eric and Nathan (Eric's brother) are heading to Arizona for a Coues deer hunt and then on to meet up with our other Pro Staff member Eddy for a Colorado elk hunt. I, on the other hand, will be working hard and living vicariously through them. Best of luck fellas!