A Fall Bear Hunt to Remember
Wilderness Obsession Hunting Pro Staff Mark Bowser:
September 26, 2016 will be an evening I’ll remember forever. Late that afternoon I got a text message from my nephew, asking if I had any luck with the bears yet. I replied that I had not really had the time to hunt them, but had many pictures. He explained he was heading into the woods that evening to see if luck would be on his side, I replied: “good luck, let me know how you make out”. As the work day ended, I swung by and picked up my wife and travel companion, then headed for home. During the drive, all I could think about was my conversation with me nephew, and the more I thought about it, the more I thought about climbing into my tree stand.
We arrived home and I said to my wife, “I am going to go and climb in to my tree stand, I have a feeling it is a good night!” I quickly jumped into my hunting clothes and started out with my bow, but for some reason I decided to leave it behind. I think it was because I had a new rifle that I wanted to try out and determine if it had any luck in it. I rate my firearms based on the luck they bring me and was anxious to see if the new Browning A-Bolt 30-06 would measure up to my expectations.
As I went out the door my wife said “good luck”, I turned and explained that I only had one bear in mind and very likely would not see him as he only comes in the dark. I headed quickly to the stand, “rang the dinner bell” by beating on the barrel after I replenished it with food and settled in.
It was not long before I had my first two visitors, thrashing and crashing, out came two squirrels. All who have sat in a tree stand will know the anticipation squirrels create. They played and chased each other around jumping in and out of two buckets I had tied alongside my barrel. The woods was so quiet that the noise these two were making, I thought would be heard for a mile in the quiet woods. I felt a slight breeze hit the side of my right face and for some reason it made me look to the left, to my surprise there sat a bear! It was sitting with its nose pointed straight up, it was sniffing, and I thought maybe it is getting my wind, I stayed in my frozen position trying to size up the black ghost that was below me. I was looking through brush and really could not tell how big it was. Finally, after a few minutes it stood and started to walk in, I immediately felt my heart beat when I saw it walking, it was huge and it looked like the body was jiggling and rolling with every step it took. I had the new gun ready and had determined it was the one I was looking for!
Before it made it in to clear view it turned and started in a different direction, he then stopped and again raised his nose and started sniffing, I could feel that disappointment starting to build as it appeared he was going to walk out of sight, but to my surprise he turned and headed toward my trail camera, all the while I had my gun to my shoulder and now was looking through the scope, I remember thinking, come on just a couple more steps, finally he was stepping in to clear view at 9 yards from my tree stand ladder. I sized him up one last time and placed the crosshairs between his shoulders as I looked almost straight down on him I squeezed the trigger. The bullet hit its mark and the bear dropped in its tracks. I chambered another round and watched through the scope just to make sure it was not going to move!
After a couple of minutes I had to sit down as I was shaking. I immediately thought of my nephew who was in the woods that evening, and sent him a message "big boy down" he quickly responded he had a bear working its way in to him as well!
I gathered my emotions enough that I could safely climb down the ladder, turned and took 9 steps and placed my hands on my intended trophy I felt that smile of success come over my face as I looked over the huge bear that laid in front of me. I made my way home and gathered up my oldest boy to come help me, we took the tractor and we were able to drive right to the bear. It was then that I realized how big it was, the two of us had a hard time rolling it in to the bucket of the tractor.
I felt my phone buzz in my pocket it was my nephew Jacob Seale, he had also just filled his fall bear tag! I sent him a picture of mine and congratulated him. My bear weighed 409lbs field dressed and although it is no record, to me it is a trophy of a life time. So September 26th 2016 will always be special to me and Jacob. I will remember the details as clearly as if my finger was squeezing the trigger at this very moment! As for my rating on the Browning A-bolt? Simply full of "luck"! A special thanks also go out to the squirrels who, in my mind, got the bear to come early to see who was stealing his meal!
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