Contributors to this thread:
My Idaho Bear Story
This is my first "story" to tell on Bowsite. I've been hanging around here ever since I started bowhunting but mostly just ask questions or comment on others posts. I truly enjoy and learn a lot from others telling about their hunts so I am going to take a stab at it. Forgive me if the first few pics don't work or if it takes a few days to complete.
This all started back in Feb 2015. I have killed one bear here in MT with my bow but wanted to try hunting over bait. For two reasons: 1. I thought I would get the opportunity to see a lot of bears and watch how they behave, learn more about them. 2. I thought if I could do that this year then next year when two of my boys are old enough to hunt on the mentor program, I would know what to do and they could get a bear at 10 years old. No problem right?:) This will be easy.......
I did a post asking for some help or advice on how to pull this off. I live in Bozeman, MT so wasn't really sure what my options were. I did not want to do an outfitted hunt. I received a PM from fellow Bowsiter "HuntMan". He said " if your willing to put in the work, you could pull it off from Bozeman. I will teach you the way and help you out." Now, I've seen a lot of Hunt's posts and knew the dude was a killer so I wasn't about to turn that down. I hit him up and that was the start of what I think is going to be a hunting friend for life. I really can't say enough about what he did for me on this hunt. His selflessness and efforts to help me fill a tag were way more then I was expecting. He did so much more then teach me just the ways of baiting. I learned a lot and unintentionally but gladly so, I ended up getting to spend a lot more time with him throughout the season. I can't say it enough but THANKS again Hunt. I am forever in debt. My wife won't read this but I want to go on the record to say Thankyou to her too. We have four wonderful boys we are raising and it's a lot of work for her when I'm gone. Usually it's just been Sept/Oct/Nov when I really get after it but this year added a new dimension. She is beyond fully supportive of my somewhat obsessive pursuit.
Here we go.........................
Fast forward a few months and the season has kicked off. I've been texting back and forth with Hunt and getting everything I need for the bait ready. My tags have arrived and it's time to head down for the first baiting. We planned on a quick trip to drive over, bait, then come back same day. Was going to camp with the boys but the weather was not cooperating. My goal was to have the boys as involved and part of the hunt as possible. I planned on the older two sitting in the blind with me when we came back to hunt and was hoping they could be there when I dropped the string. Here's a pic of the boys mixing up some bear treats.
We met Hunt for the first time and headed for the hills. At this time I wasn't sure what the plan was. Thought he would point me in a general direction, shake my hand and tell me good luck. Not at all. He was planning on going up with me, had an exact spot picked out he has baited in the past and was planning on going up with us. I had 3 of my boys with me and Hunt brought his little man too.
Final touches. Set the cam and roll on out. It's raining of course.
I forgot something else in the prep stages. My dad made the barrels for me and the boys customized them with some camo paint. I had my dad come along and camp with us too in hopes we would all be together for the harvest. Heres a pic of the boys barrel.
We head home and plan on returning the following weekend for a 4 day weekend to camp and hunt. I should mention I've been having some, lets say, um shooting issues the last two years. I've been able to get myself some opportunities on great elk, deer, bear and turkey but have not been making good shots. Get too excited. I did fill a few tags last two years but I also wounded and had some un recovered. I committed to a lot more shooting this past winter. Bought a pass to the 24 hour range and shot before work all winter long. Feeling much better but we'll see what happens in the moment of truth......
Hunt is good people! You're in good hands! Looking forward to hearing the rest of the story SBH! Good on you getting your little men out there with you! Those memories will last a lifetime!
It's time to hunt. The twins draw straws and Smith is the first to sit with me. I'm pretty confident we will kill a bear. Mason is going to hang out at camp with gramps and come pick us up at dark.
Friday afternoon, we crawl in. Bait is hammered, almost empty. SD card won't read on my cam so no pics but it's pretty obvious. We are feeling good.
We sit tell dark, get skunked. No problem. Tomorrow is the day.
Saturday night. Swap out the twins, Mason is with me.
WTH? I've spent my whole life trying to keep bears out of camp by keeping a clean camp and worrying they will come in. Now I'm sitting in front of 55 gallons of food and scent and they won't show up?? What have I been worried about?!! If they won't come in to this, they could care less about our camps. I'm confused. Ok, Sunday night. That's the night.
We have to leave Monday. The bears are hitting my bait but not when we are there. Mason and I go in Monday morning, refresh the bait. Reload the camera. Everyone is a little bummed. Thought we would have one down. I make plans to come back solo the next weekend as the boys have last week of school and I figure I will have better odds by myself. It was fun to hunt with the kiddos but now it's time to get serious I'm thinking. I'll kill one next weekend.
Get home. Camera did work, just couldn't get the pics to view. Plenty of bears. Not sure why we never saw one. I should also mention, I'm not picky. Especially with two tags and my kids with me. I need to build some confidence and make some kills. Glad to shoot a smaller bear. We have a couple good ones showing up and a few smaller ones.
When did you steal my Glendel buck target ? I know mine is the only one with holes all over the neck ! -:)
Great story so far ! Kudos to HUNT for taking the time and congrats on getting the kids involved.
Now, let's see a bear on the ground !
Hunt Man! The Man!! Good Luck! C
DryCreek- Remember I said I have shooting issues:) Just kidding, all 4 of my boys shoot with me so lets just say, we cover the whole target with arrows and the backstop too! My kids are convinced any shot that hits the deer would eventually kill it. Who am I to argue with a 6 year old.
Ok back to the hunt..........
So I head back the following friday morning, check the bait and re fill it. I'm solo this time and have bears hitting all times of the day and night. I sit Friday night and experience the same thing as before. NADA. So I come back and do a morning sit on Saturday. Sit from 5am tell 11:00 am. Nothing. Take a break and come back for the evening. Back in at 4 and out at 10. ZERO bears seen. I'm starting to wonder.......
Sunday morning brings another sit and another no bear situation. My bait hasn't been hit since Friday. I roll out and call Hunt when I get in reception to see what he thinks I'm doing wrong. Gotta work on Monday, been up there 3 weekends in a row, not sure how much more my wife will tolerate.
I get the green light to go again the following weekend. Head out Friday as is becoming my routine. Get to the bait and re fill. It's getting hit good again. Hunt asked me to meet up with him Sat afternoon as he was going to sit his bait that evening. Hoping I'd have a bear to show him. I sit Friday night and Saturday morning and see nothing. Bait doesn't get hit overnight. I'm now 10 sits in, 4 trips over and not even a bear sighted. I connect with Hunt and he is in disbelief. Taking pity on me he offers that I come sit one of his baits thats getting good action and kill a bear. I'm shameless and accept.
I sit his bait and get skunked Sat night. Um yeah. Sun morning is pretty much the end of it. I sit my bait and get skunked. I'm pretty sure I have some form of a curse on me. I want to come back again but all the trips are taking a toll on family and work. I know somehow I'll get back over but theres no way I can maintain my bait anymore. It's just not working.
The days and trips are all piling up. I'm telling myself to accept the fact I probably won't kill a bear but it's still been a good experience, I've learned a lot and it is what it is. I'll get em next year type of speech you give yourself. I can't come up to re bait and I need to re bait mid week to keep the bears on my site by the time I get there on the weekend. Well, Hunt steps up again and hits my bait for me midweek since I can't come down. That dude wants me to kill a bear. He won't accept anything from me in return. Said he would wrestle me down if I tried. I'll tell you what, it's a lot of work to maintain a bait and he has his own to worry about. Now he takes on mine. Crazy.
I come down the following weekend and sit Sat morning and Evening then Sunday morning I sit tell 10. Its time to be done. I pull out and take my bait and ground blind down. It's done. I tried. Had a good set up and lot of help but just didn't come together. I swing by Hunts on the way out and he can't believe it. Still no bears seen when I am there. He knows what I've put into it and it wasn't for lack of effort. I told him I pulled the bait and thanks so much for the help, you'll see me next year. As I'm walking away, he tosses out "Hey, sneak up here for one more night if you can. You can sit my bait. Make it happen"
I skip a week of hunting. I know I'm going back. I just don't know when or how. I haven't told my wife yet. Try to let a little time slip in a wait for the right moment. Hunt hits me up with a text, "come up friday night, this bait is getting hammered." See you Friday was my response. I tell my wife, she says "I knew you weren't gonna quit. Don't come home without one." BOOM. It's gonna happen.
I roll back over to Idaho Friday. Timing works out perfect and I'm ahead of schedule. Connect with Hunt and a youngster he is setting up for the evening. Drop him and his dad off at a bait and head up to the other baits. It's snowing. It was 90 yesterday. Only in MT, er ID i mean. Wait out the storm, shower at the truck, scent free clothes on and into the stand. Bait is hammered. I climb in. Last chance starts now.
I'm freezing. Didn't plan on this weather. Literally shaking I'm so cold. Have to stand up to get warm, I turn a bit a low and behold theres a bear. Finally. Nice chocolate colored too, with a good noggin. He walks behind me and never comes in. 10 mins later a black colored bear comes in from the trail we came in on, almost gets to the bait then bails for some reason. Well at least I saw something I told myself. I'm so damn cold I don't know if I can shoot anyways. I sit back down. Sun comes out and warms up a bit. I turn to my left and theres another bear. He looks committed. Stares down the bait then walks around to enter with the wind. I lose him behind a tree, grab my bow, stand and get ready. Nothing. Nothing......Then here he comes. Walks right in and sits down to eat. I was instructed DO NOT shoot a sitting or standing bear. Hang tight and wait for a good shot. He feeds for a bit and I'm ready to roll as soon as he gets into position. I'm calm which isn't usually my situation at this moment of a hunt. He turns broadside, then quarters a bit, I draw, set anchor, middle of middle, level my bow, then squeeze the trigger. Notice the orange spot to the left of the barrel.
He's dead on his feet. He runs up hill 12 yards, smashes into a tree and starts the death moan. 30 seconds later he's expired. I spend a minute to soak it all in, knock another arrow and sit down. 7:24pm. I have two tags and theres two others bears in the area. If I can handle the cold, I'm gonna kill another one. I feel like those other two bears will come back. I wait 30 minutes and decide I can't wait anymore to put my hands on that bruin so I climb down.
This one was hard earned. I know he aint a big un but this bear represents a lot to me. What a great adventure.
I screw up the self photo but am kind of rushing to get started on skinning this thing. I've only skinned one other bear so not sure how long this will take me. I'd like to get done before dark since there's two other bears hanging around.
He ended up having a cool blonde patch
Skinning went well surprisingly. Had him on my pack by 9:15. That brown bear did end up coming in again. While I was working up my bear I heard a thump behind me and there he was at the bait......12 yards away. I moved to maybe get my bow and he stood up and blew outta there. Kinda wish I would have hung out in the stand a bit longer but no complaints. I have a bear on my pack and a quick easy walk back to the truck. IPA's are in the creek, lets roll!
Final thoughts and things I learned from this in no discerning order:
1. Over 2,700 miles driven back and forth from Bozeman over a 5 week period. Persistence pays off.
2. 73 hours in either the blind or the stand before I had an opportunity
3. If you get an opportunity to hunt with people who are better hunters then you, do it. You will become a better hunter. I've seen this with my elk/deer hunting too.
4. You can't go overboard on scent control. It's not possible. Do everything you possibly can to be scent free
5. Pass it on. I was incredibly blessed to get the help I did from Hunt. No way this happens without him. My boys will benefit from it next year and in the future. We had some good trips together and they were part of this which was pretty cool. There is a lot of help/knowledge available on BOWSITE. I have been a beneficiary of others experiences/failures and success many times. Ask questions if that is the position you are in, Answer them if you can for others.
Congrats on your bear!
Hunt is the man, I don't get to hunt with him enough. Glad you guys had fun, bears are a blast.
Best of luck the rest of the year!
Good times for me. I love to see people enjoy hunting. Matt can't wait till next year and the boys getting a crack at one. You put your time in that's for sure . Congrats again . Man those IPAs where good. Hunt
This was awesome ! Hats off to everyone involved from your persistence SBH, to your selfless help HUNT, and to SBH's wife for her moral support. Truly, all is well that ends well !
Good stuff boys! I enjoyed that. Hunt = responsible for more dead bears than some outfitters
Your boys must be stoked! Enjoy! C
Awesome thread. So cool to see you involve your kids. Congrats on your persistence and congrats for being a good dad. Thanks to Hunt to. Great job all the way around.
Congratulations on a well earn bear. Great story as well. You set the expectations high for your next story. Yes and BOWSITERS are a great help. Kudos to HuntMan
SBH and HUNT......congrats to you both on making it happen. Nicely done on getting the youngsters involved!!!
Great story and pictures. Congrats and thanks for sharing!
Awesome job by everyone involved, great story write up with great pics thanks a bunch!
that is an excellent bear, story, and outcome. a memory made.
awesome story, great photos, thanks for sharing and congrats on your bear!!!
Sweet! Been to Idaho twice bear hunting. Never killed one but had some encounters. On my bucket list for sure. Congrats!
Congrats! Hunt is a very generous fellow, and I would not want him hunting me.
Great story and persistence. Good job to you and Hunt!
Great story and YES, HUNT is GOOD PEOPLE! Someday we might get to share a campfire, but for now he is a long distance friend!
Congrats! Great story and great bear! Huntman is the real deal! I love to hear about REAL MEN helping others! Thats what its all about! Goodluck next year! Mike
Congrats on the bear and great job of Hunt helping out!
OUTSTANDING! Kudos to you all, and HUNT you"re a great and unselfish guy!
Thanks for sharing this with us.
Great story, thanks for sharing, congrats.
I will tell you what, i have read a lot of post on bowsite but this is by far the best!! If our country/world had more sportsman/men/fathers/friends like you guys it would be a much better place!! Congrats on getting the bear but that is obviously not the best part of the story just the icing on the cake. I wish you both and your very lucky boys all the luck next year, God Bless!!
Life time of memories hunting with friends and family doesn't get better than that. Congrats on the nice bear.
Great story and congrats on the well earned bear. Some folks have the idea you throw some food out and go shoot a bear... pick a good one... no so. Thanks much for takin' us along!
Good on ya Hunt. Good people for sure. SBH is a lucky man to have that kind of knowledge and experience beside him. Pass it on....
Hey-Thanks for all the kind words. You guys get it!
Great job on the story and congrats on your bear!
That was a great read! Congrats to both you and Hunt.
I'd love to hunt bear, but being on the wrong side of the planet kinda makes it hard!!
Congrats! You hung in there and didn't give up. You earned your bear.
awesome story, awesome bear