The Bear Woods Has Promise
Headaches and sore throats have been trying to keep me from posting this entry. I wanted to get this posted yesterday, but my annual day of feeling sick (I don't get sick very often) hit my like a 2x4 over my left eye. THWACK! I am still feeling like crap, but I wanted to share my Saturday bear hunt story.
If you read my last blog entry you know that I have been having a hard time getting out to hunt bears. It's not for lack of trying, but all of my buddies have had other things going on. Plus, it takes me 2 hours to drive to my hunting spot. With the archery bear season winding down, I wanted to hit the forest at least one more time before bullets filled the air.
My email and phone got a workout this past week as I tried to find someone to go hunting with me. Each answer was the same until my friend, John Buhs, said he could go. John and I met a few years ago via the North American Hunting Club forums and this was the first time we'd actually had the opportunity to go hunting together.
We were a bit delayed in getting into the woods. By the time we arrived there we only had two hours to collect my two trail cameras and get up into the stands. After collecting the trail cams, we started finding plenty of small bear tracks and they were all around the stands. It looked super promising!
We settled into our stands at 6:00pm, but time was not on our side. We sat for an hour and the only thing we saw was a covey of quail that sauntered under our setup. Had it been quail season I would have taken the ten yard shot. After they passed through, we watched the sun settle past the horizon. Abiding by California law, we gave it another half hour and then called it quits.
We packed up, climbed down and hit the trail back to the truck. Then, merely 70 yards from the trailhead, the leaves and branches exploded in a fury of excitement. Something, I have no idea what, was ten feet from us on the trail and tore outta there when we got right next to it. To say that our adrenaline levels rose would be an understatement! With hands on our bear spray, and our free hands ready to pull knives we searched with our headlamps through the brush. The branches were moving back and forth, and we could hear whatever was just there running away. Talk about one heck of a way to end a hunt!
Little did I know that the trail cam would explain plenty. On the cameras I had 6,000 photos. One camera had 2,500 images while the second had 3,500 images. A few photos of me setting up the camera and then I finally hit pay dirt with this image below.
BEAR! She actually showed up on camera two days after we set it up. This bear got pretty cozy with the first camera. So cozy, in fact, that she pulled on it enough to skew the viewing lane. The time on the photo should be noted - 6:43pm. When John and I got to the stand it was just after 6:00pm. If we had been on stand an hour or two before we may have had a better chance to allow our scent to dissipate a bit. At least that's my theory.
I am stoked to get a photo of a bear near my stand! Eric Welsh and I scouted the area a great deal last year. However, I really do wish the bear hadn't been so playful. The camera snapped three photos of the bear and 2,497 photos of the sky and leaves. Awesome! <--- Note the sarcasm, but I really am excited to have finally photographed a bear on my trail cameras. Public land bear hunting is awesome!
I want to send a big thank you out to John Buhs for trekking out to the woods with me and helping me out. Thanks for taking the time out of your day, John. Also, I'd like to thank the Welsh brothers. Eric for helping me find this spot and Nathan for helping with get these trail cameras up. None of my scouting or hunting in SoCal has been without help from others and I am greatly appreciative of all of the assistance.
Now, with proof on my computer screen, I am hoping to get back out again very soon. Deer season opens for me in a few weeks, but I'd love to have some bear meat in the freezer first.