Mathews Inc.
Ups and downs of life
Bears
Contributors to this thread:
buckfevered 06-Jun-24
buckfevered 06-Jun-24
buckfevered 06-Jun-24
APauls 06-Jun-24
molsonarcher 06-Jun-24
Corax_latrans 06-Jun-24
Bou'bound 06-Jun-24
buckfevered 06-Jun-24
Charlie Rehor 06-Jun-24
buckfevered 06-Jun-24
buckfevered 06-Jun-24
DanaC 06-Jun-24
drycreek 06-Jun-24
buckfevered 06-Jun-24
buckfevered 06-Jun-24
DanaC 06-Jun-24
buckfevered 06-Jun-24
4nolz@work 06-Jun-24
duckhunterbrad 06-Jun-24
buckfevered 06-Jun-24
TREESTANDWOLF 06-Jun-24
buckfevered 06-Jun-24
midwest 06-Jun-24
buckfevered 06-Jun-24
buckfevered 06-Jun-24
buckfevered 06-Jun-24
Chuckster 06-Jun-24
buckfevered 06-Jun-24
buckfevered 06-Jun-24
buckfevered 06-Jun-24
buckfevered 06-Jun-24
Scoot 06-Jun-24
buckfevered 06-Jun-24
buckhammer 06-Jun-24
Charlie Rehor 06-Jun-24
Bou'bound 06-Jun-24
Wv hillbilly 06-Jun-24
midwest 06-Jun-24
Chuckster 06-Jun-24
JB 06-Jun-24
t-roy 06-Jun-24
Insheart 06-Jun-24
ND String Puller 07-Jun-24
buckfevered 07-Jun-24
Zebrakiller 07-Jun-24
Supernaut 07-Jun-24
hdaman 07-Jun-24
drycreek 07-Jun-24
buckfevered 07-Jun-24
buckfevered 07-Jun-24
buckfevered 07-Jun-24
buckfevered 07-Jun-24
jmiller 09-Jun-24
From: buckfevered
06-Jun-24
So I’ve really debated posting this because of the inevitable crap that will come from some of the decisions we made. BUT, here goes. A little back ground. My brothers and I grew up in a hunting family. We were introduced to the duck blinds very early on, like being carried on dad’s back across knee deep water to stand on a cement block to keep our 10” toddler boots from being overwhelmed. (Flooded timber style ducks) So, we’ve been hunters for most of our lives. In 2014, I went to New Brunswick for my first bear hunt. What a blast!! At the time, dad didn’t think much of paying that much money to hunt (very frugal type) , but after the stories of that first hunt, he wanted to give it a try. So he and I went in ‘15 together. He was able to kill a decent bear the last evening and was hooked. In 2016, he and I introduced my older brother to the adventure. The three of us made the annual 26 hour pilgrimage of the next several years. In 2019, Ed and I had to go alone as dad had been diagnosed with cancer and wasn’t able to make the trip, but was insistent that we go. We contacted a good friend to take dads spot, had a great time but it just wasn’t the same.

From: buckfevered
06-Jun-24
We lost dad in Sept. of that year, 2019. It was a tough fall whitetail hunting that year with out my hunting buddy to chat strategy with, but life goes on. Spring brought the all the crap of COVID, but just before the lock down started, mom was diagnosed with lung cancer. We navigated that well for about 4 years until last December when things began to change. By February, she had some complications and other issues that caused here to have to forgo treatments. Backtrack a little back to 2023 spring. Ed couldn’t bear hunt, but I was going too. So, I aimed from something a little closer to home and booked with Mikey at Plum Lake. Had a great hunt, met a ton of great people. That brought around o rebooking for June 2-8 with Ed coming too. Back to this spring, and mom was holding her own in Feb, March and most of April. Late April was the turning point as she slid down hill health wise. By early May, the bear hunt didn’t look likely. About 10 days out, I called Mikey and told him we were 90% sure we weren’t going to make it. The angst of mom getting worse, the demands of family care for her, and the feelings of missing our annual “get away “ was all weighing heavy. We had been scheduled to leave Illinois on Friday for the 18 hr drive on May 31st to arrive in Manitoba on Saturday and start hunting on Sunday.

From: buckfevered
06-Jun-24
Sadly, on the morning of Wednesday, May 29th, mom lost her battle with cancer. We planned the funeral for Sunday the 2nd. Immediately, the family began telling us to try to see if we could go late on the hunt. I called Mikey, and he said he would work with us in whatever we wanted to do. We debated and talked with family, and they were all 100% in favor of doing the hunt, or what we could of it. So, Monday morning brought the delayed start to the trip north. Arrive on Tuesday noon, be in a stand by 3:00.

From: APauls
06-Jun-24
Well I'm here to encourage you! Any decision made with good intentions is just that. They're not always the best but I don't believe in scolding someone for a decision made in good faith. I'm sure you've got an interesting story to share - we're all ears!

From: molsonarcher
06-Jun-24
You did what you needed to do. Thats what counts in the end, regardless of what happend on an excursion after the fact. Looking forward to the rest of the story.

06-Jun-24
I don’t see anything at all questionable… Sorry about your folks.

From: Bou'bound
06-Jun-24
Mike , nick and enjoyed the multiple camps we shared in New Brunswick with ed and your dad, bill. Great people great fun. Sorry about your mom. I know you did all the right things to be there when it mattered. All the best.

From: buckfevered
06-Jun-24
Made the trip without any hiccups. Made it to camp with just enough time for introductions, lunch, a quick session on the range to insure bows were still on point, a quick shower, and it was load up time. A truck load of mixed emotions as I absolutely love bear hunting in spots like this. Just knowing you so far out in the “bush”, totally away from “civilization “ so to speak. Sitting in the stand and knowing you will not hear a man made sound short of an occasional plane is soul soothing to me. My whitetail woods in Southern Illinois aren’t so remote. The whirlwind of the past week, the emotional ups and downs, were all culminating in those last minute gear checks and prep.

06-Jun-24
I don’t see any questionable decisions? Is there more to this?

My Dad, brother, me and our kids left for a fishing trip two days after my mom passed. She would not have been pleased if we didn’t go.

From: buckfevered
06-Jun-24
Tuesday weather was promising, cloudy in the early afternoon, light winds out of the SW, clearing as the evening progressed. Going to be great to be in the bear woods. A short hour ride brought Mikey and I to my drop off point as we had already dropped Ed of at his. Mikey said we had a short bike ride, then a short canoe ride, then a short hike to get to the sight, nice! An adventure awaits 1/4 mile or so on the 6 wheeler brought us to the waters edge and a waiting canoe. A lot of rain in the area has flooded this bog , so what was bikeable a couple weeks ago, is now a waist deep bog. No hill for a climber as dad would say. A quick 1/4 mile or better canoe paddle brought us to the far shore where a short 100 yard hike exposed the bait site. Mikey baited and pulled cards while I readied myself for the 6+ hour sit. We said out “see you a dark” goodbyes” and I settled in.

From: buckfevered
06-Jun-24
You all that have been there know your mind goes in overdrive when you settle in to the stand, and mine was still unwinding. I know mom would have wanted us to go, I know all our families wanted us to go, but knowing you left some to deal with the immediate tasks at hand when you feel like it’s your responsibility is what filled my mind is I began the task of moving into “hunt” mode. Thankfully (or maybe not so), the bears gave me a couple hours to acclimate to the change of pace and scenery. In at 4:00, and by 6 I was in full on bear mode. Breeze was down to almost nothing, therma cells were humming their tune, most “skeeters” were paying attention to their restricted perimeter, and the birds and squirrels were enjoying their afternoon snacks. All was good. Around 6:15 or so, I saw my first raven fly by. I had always been told that if you cans sit quiet enough and still enough for a raven to come in, your doing well. Lo and behold, over the next hour I was fortunate to have two different ravens do their caution dance from limb to limb, checking things out, to finally picking some bait for their stomachs.

From: DanaC
06-Jun-24
However this turns out - hunting-wise - I hope the time helps you find peace at heart. Good luck!

From: drycreek
06-Jun-24
So far, so good ! Appreciate the part about not hearing another human made sound. That’s always the best part of hunting “out there” !

From: buckfevered
06-Jun-24

buckfevered's embedded Photo
buckfevered's embedded Photo
Around 8:30, I was staring out across the bait barrels, watching a couple trails going out that way, when out to my left at about 20 yards came walking a decent little bore without a care in the world. Don’t stop a look around, didn’t scent check anything, just walked right in and plopped down in the corn and started shoveling it in. It was quiet enough I could listen to him smack his jaws as he ate. Nice bear as his back was a little over half way between the 2nd ring and top of the barrel when he did get next to one. After about 30 minutes at the feed trough, he got up and sauntered to my right and down to the waters edge (just 25 yards from the stand on that side), slurped a belly full, and headed back to the corn. He proceeded to eat corn another 30 minutes before abruptly wheeling around and walking out the way he came.

From: buckfevered
06-Jun-24
It was a short wait for bear two for the night, as little yogi left at 9:30 and then boo boo shows up at 10:02 straight away in front of me. He was nervous and never really committed to stay around. He was gone by 10:10 or so, and it was a short wait until I was “picked up” for the return canoe ride. Very relaxing, enjoyable first evening. It solidified the decision to come and unwind from the last month. Charlie, not much more to it than what you see, but sadly, it seems as of late, a lot of pundits just have to find criticism and fault in any and everything someone else does. Just figured they would tear this one apart as well.

From: DanaC
06-Jun-24

DanaC's embedded Photo
DanaC's embedded Photo

From: buckfevered
06-Jun-24
Ed saw three small bears about yogi’s size. He says they put on a great show for him. Regrettably, another hunter in camp got a short at a nice one, but even the follow-up morning tracking job could end at a dead bear. Day two in a bit.

From: 4nolz@work
06-Jun-24
Family is more important than hunting simple choice

06-Jun-24
Sorry to hear about your losses. Enjoy your trip and the beauty that nature provides with all of its peace and quiet.

From: buckfevered
06-Jun-24
Yesterday morning dawned with the pitter patter of rain on our roof, bummer. Afternoon weather guessers had somewhat conflicting guesses. One app showed showers off and on early with clearing in the early evening for somewhat good sits. The other showed steady rain from about 7 through dark. They both missed. Headed out in the dry, but by the time we got to the canoe, rain gear was needed for sure. I got in and set up in 18 - 20 mph winds from the NNW and a steady rain in my face. It rained for the next couple hours and I just hunkered down letting Mother Nature do her thing. It finally slacked up around 6:00 to 6:30 but the temps started dropping, setting me up for one of the colder nights I’ve ever sat in a bear stand. It was a very uneventful sit as even the birds and squirrels weren’t wanting to venture out in the weather for a long time. Finally, around 7:30 or so, a few birds and a squirrel or two made their appearance. While not the black critters I’m looking for, they did break up the tree rocking from the heavy winds. Finally, 5 and a half hours after sitting down, I saw my first black movement.

06-Jun-24

TREESTANDWOLF's embedded Photo
TREESTANDWOLF's embedded Photo
Sincere condolences Mike & Ed and to the family. Adding to what Bou has noted, It was great meeting and sharing camp with Bill and you guys. We certainly did laugh quite a bit. I am certain they both wanted you to go. If I may, a most memorable photo of the "man" (*Hunted on the ground for Black Bear gents! On the ground, no blind.)

From: buckfevered
06-Jun-24
Off to my left, on the same trail as last night, I caught a bear making the trek toward the bait. First glance says it’s yogi on a return trip to eat more corn. She (hint, hint) just rolls right in like she owns the place and lays down in the corn to start her feast. I’m still thinking it’s the guy from last night, and start the mental discussion when you’re cold and have been setting there for hours with nothing. Short discussion for me, embrace the environment God has given you and enjoy every aspect, no matter the circumstances. All that lasted all of 45 seconds as now I caught another black being approaching from the same trail, much bigger. He stopped just about straight off my left should, in the open, at about 18 yards. Pretty doable shot for a right hander. As I contemplated that shot, the sow jumped up and ran right at him and growled. This caused him to take a step back. She quickly spun and returned to her buffet without another thought to his presence. He began a slow calculated advance into the bait sight. As he passed behind a little pine tree, bow came up, locked in and tension on the string. His head hadn’t cleared the tree limbs yet when he stopped and took a gander at yours truly.

From: midwest
06-Jun-24
This story is great, buckfevered. So sorry for your loss.

From: buckfevered
06-Jun-24
It was more a passing glance as he proceeded forward. I came to full draw but before he completely cleared the tree, he turned to head directly away from me. Give him 3 steps toward the door he took before a turn to his right putting him broadside, but somewhat behind some small tree trunks. We’re about a minute in to this now, as its pause, take a step, pause, move forward. I realize he’s going to clear the last tree just as his nose will hit the meat cage hanging in another tree, giving me the opening I needed. 10 seconds later, he does just that, clears the last tree; open vitals, broadsided, leg forward, head up- all systems GO!

From: buckfevered
06-Jun-24
Drop the string, lighted Nick showing great arrow flight, and impact in desired location. Got that cliche pumpkin thump and instantly saw the lighted Nick fall to the ground just beyond the bore. He didn’t grunt, grown, or make a sound other than an instant wheeling to runs straight away. Off he went while I’m praying for the tip over in sight. Nope. He cleared the 50 yard before a quick turn to his left. I caught one glimpse of him through the brush as he traveled right to left at about 60 yards out. Sow bear barely raised her head at impact and or subsequent death run. She proceeded to snack away for the next 20 minutes.

Me- ha! I went through the most violent adrenaline shacks I have ever experienced for the next 10 minutes. It was exhilaratingly awful. Uncontrollable, starting at my shoulders and working its way to my feet, spasm after spasm. The cold, the adrenaline rush, the dumping of so many emotions I guess. I was finally able to hang the bow up so it didn’t crash down the stand. Sow- unconcerned. I’m sure she was thinking what an idiot up there, poor guy.

From: buckfevered
06-Jun-24

buckfevered's embedded Photo
buckfevered's embedded Photo
Sow eating corn. Look close in upper left, you’ll see the meat cage in the tree. Just to the left of the base, you should be able to see the green nock on the ground.

From: Chuckster
06-Jun-24
Awesome buckfevered. Following. Sorry for your loss.

From: buckfevered
06-Jun-24
9:25 pm. It’s only a short wait, but like a kid waiting on Christmas, it feels like it will take forever for the boys to show up. The sow ate for another 15 minutes before meandering around sniffing barrels, then the meat cage, and finally my bloody arrow. She left out the way the bore ran but veered to the right. Gave me a last stand up and wave from about 45 yards, then sauntered off straight away. Oh, I didn’t mention that about a minute in to the death shakes I heard not a real death moan, but rather 3 deep exhaustive breaths from the boars last location.

From: buckfevered
06-Jun-24
About 10 minutes after the sow left, I watch yogi come in like he did last night. He wasn’t as carefree as yesterday, but ate for a while and tip over a couple barrels just for kicks. He left the way he came, but ended up standing on a log, looking around, then bolting straight away to the left. He may have heard my rescue party loading the canoe. Mikey and new guide Curt showed up and could read my shiteating grin. Terrain kept them from initially seeing the lighted Nick, but it didn’t take long to take up the track. Arrow covered in good blood, so with a hint of too much exuberance, we were off. Had to back track once but it was just a short restart to a triumph end. A handshake in the thick brush is a great thing to get at 10:45 at night. I’ve got to get the field pics from Mikey here in a bit.

From: buckfevered
06-Jun-24

buckfevered's embedded Photo
buckfevered's embedded Photo
Here is one from just after we got him back to camp.

From: buckfevered
06-Jun-24
We sledded him out back to the canoe. What a fun ride, 3 grown men and a counter weight bear in a fiberglass canoe. It’s the adventure, right. It is all so therapeutic!

I know where mom’s heart lies. She loved us going on adventures. Listened intently to all our hunting stories. She was our biggest cheerleader as I’m sure all mom’s are. While we didn’t specifically talk about Ed and I going or not going on this adventure in her last days, I know what she would have said if asked, no doubt.

For me, thanks for the therapy session, Bowsite. What do I owe you?

From: Scoot
06-Jun-24
Boy does your hunt bring back a lot of memories and emotions for me. I really enjoyed it! I have no critical feedback for you-- I think you did great in all regards.

From: buckfevered
06-Jun-24
Thursday evening now. Ed’s in the stand hoping for his chance. Weather is still windy out of the NW 15-17, temps in the high 50’s, and cloudy.

Tell if the tape on mine, 354 lbs, 20-1/16” green skull, with a 35” neck. Again, thanks to Mike Price and Plum Lake Outfitters!

From: buckhammer
06-Jun-24
Very nice post. Sorry for the loss of your mother.......congratulations on a fine bear.

06-Jun-24
Yes sir, we must believe. Well done.

From: Bou'bound
06-Jun-24
What a brute but that’s not what matters that’s a tribute to you and your family and being there for each other supporting each other all through life

This time your mom won’t need to ask how the hunt went. She already knows

she was there.

06-Jun-24
Great story so far! Sorry for your loss. Thanks for sharing

From: midwest
06-Jun-24
What a tank! Congrats, man! Mom is dancing in heaven!

From: Chuckster
06-Jun-24
Thats awesome dude!! Mom had a hand on your shoulder. Great job.

From: JB
06-Jun-24
Great story telling and congrats on a great bear! Sorry for your loss. I see nothing you did wrong. I am betting that your mom would definitely have wanted you to go. She's in a better place and you are too.

From: t-roy
06-Jun-24
“Bowsite. What do I owe you?”…….Maybe a few more pics from your hunt, otherwise I’d say you’re paid in full! Great write up! I’m betting both of your parents were looking down and smiling. My condolences for your losses, as well.

From: Insheart
06-Jun-24
As others have said, so sorry for your loss.

Very easy way to know you did the right thing is think of it like this. If you were sick, would you want your son/daughter to go or stay?? Great write-up Mike, God bless you and your family.

07-Jun-24
Great write up Mike, thanks for taking the time to share it. That’s a heck of a bear, congrats!

From: buckfevered
07-Jun-24

buckfevered's embedded Photo
buckfevered's embedded Photo
Thank you all for the kind words. I spent the evening chatting with some others and staring into the fire. The wind calmed the last couple of hours, but that wasn’t much help for Ed. He changed stand sites but drew a blank tonight.

T, I’ll try to get a couple pics and post them up. Didn’t take a lot this year though.

From: Zebrakiller
07-Jun-24
great post congrats to a great hunt, sorry for your loss. what a memory you have great bear to top it off

From: Supernaut
07-Jun-24
I'm sorry for the loss of your folks and may their memories be eternal.

Congratulations on a beautiful bear and thanks for taking us along on your hunt.

Peace be with you sir. -Jim

From: hdaman
07-Jun-24
Thanks for sharing all of this with us. Good for the soul and great memories! Take care.

From: drycreek
07-Jun-24
The Mom of a hunting family is a treasure, as most moms are. I remember us cleaning ducks in the kitchen when it was cold as hell outside and my mother laughing about the downy feathers floating around the house. She cooked everything we brought in, my brother and I. I’m certain your Mom would have approved of your bear hunt. Sorry for your loss buckfevered, but glad you had the good times too !

From: buckfevered
07-Jun-24
Weather for tonight is partly cloudy with a couple passing rain showers. The plan for Ed is to check some cameras to see which stand might be best for tonight’s wind and conditions. I believe I’ll assist in pulling some stands and cameras and get a little more time in the bear woods. Fingers crossed for Ed.

I’ll work on getting a few more pics of the area too.

Also may have figured out that I have to double return button to get a true paragraph break.

From: buckfevered
07-Jun-24

buckfevered's embedded Photo
buckfevered's embedded Photo
buckfevered's embedded Photo
buckfevered's embedded Photo
Here is the end of the canoe ride. I’ll try to add a couple other photos as well.

From: buckfevered
07-Jun-24

From: buckfevered
07-Jun-24

buckfevered's embedded Photo
buckfevered's embedded Photo
buckfevered's embedded Photo
buckfevered's embedded Photo
Spent the afternoon helping take down stands and cameras and moved a bait.

From: jmiller
09-Jun-24
It was so nice meeting both of you and sharing some time at camp. What a beautiful bear!

  • Sitka Gear