I guided bear hunters during the Idaho spring black bear season…. it feels like a lifetime ago. We had a lot of fun, but we worked hard. After all of the hunters had gone home, there was still one evening left of the season and I decided to hunt one of the baits.
One bear bait in particular showed signs of a large boar hitting it pretty regularly (this was before we had trail cameras) so I decided to try there. As an added bonus, my family was in camp with me and everybody was down having a party. I was going to join them after dark.
It’s a fairly long walk, albeit an easy one up to this particular bait and it was one of those great spring evenings… You know the kind. Warm, but not too warm, very slight breeze, the birds were having an absolute chorus I need to find out what particular bird it was because it was incredible!.. Anyway, back to bear hunting. I got to my stand around 4:00 or so and had only been there for about half an hour when the first bear showed up. It was a cub and soon afterward a second cub and mamma showed up too. It was fun watching them as they ate and played for about an hour. After a while, the mother bear started acting nervous and soon another bear came up the trail out of the thick timber. My first reaction was that it wasn’t a big bear, but the way he came aggressively charging out of the timber got me second guessing myself. He ran past the bait and chased the little family far into the timber. I could hear them crashing around for a good five minutes. Finally, he came ambling back and started to eat at the bait.
This particular bait didn’t have a barrel at the time, so it was totally up to the hunter to judge the size of the bear with no visual aids. I was having a hard time, but finally figured that due to it being the last day, I would go ahead and take him. Besides that, it had been a long spring away from my family and it would be nice to spend the rest of the evening with them.
He didn’t hear me draw my bow and my arrow went zipping through his chest. He only made it about 40 yards or so before expiring. As we walked up to him later, I was a little embarrassed. He was puny! Now I’ve been around a lot of bears and I’m usually fairly decent at judging them, but I think this guy’s cocky attitude just made me think he was bigger than he was. Just goes to show you how hard it can be to judge black bears. Anyway, I had the skin tanned and it is one of my favorite hunting memories because my two boys, Webb and Cree got a kick out of touching him and watching us skin him. Archery bear hunts with my family are one of my favorite spring activities and the kids love it. I can’t wait to do it again.
by Cory Glauner