For the last four years I have been getting Stealth Cam pics of a huge black bear, at our cage, we call Daddy Howgtown. Only once have I seen him live, the first year. Since then, he has been nothing but a mythical creature passing by my cameras in the black of night.
A week ago he paired up with a red sow that comes in more often than any other bear at our stand. This is the same sow that I got Three Toes off of, two years ago. She has been coming in every evening this spring with her year old cubs. The stand has been incredibly slow due to her being the meanest momma bear in town. Lots of nights we have only seen her and her three cubs, and the odd bear lurking in the shadows, avoiding a thrashing from this grouchy lady.
Ten days ago, she was near the bait and a black cub came in to the bait... The sow rushed him, he made a dash for the tree right next to our stand. The young bear climbed as fast as he could, with the sow right below him the whole way!!! When the young bear reached the top, with the sow right behind, he leaped out of the tree and dropped thirty feet landing on his back right beside our cage!!! He bounced three feet in the air, when he hit! There's no way he didn't break bones, but he had no time to dwell on it cause she was now coming down as fast as they went up. He ran to another tree and climbed to the top... Unfortunately, it was the same tree her cubs were in.
That night, when we left the cage, the dispute was still unresolved, and that young bear is now missing in action... If he's not dead, he's probably wishing he was.
This is just one of the nasty attacks this sow has put on other bears. Knowing she rules the roost, and how often she comes in, when I saw a photo of her paired up with "Daddy HOGTOWN Rabbit" I knew this was our chance to connect on a bear we had put on the "untouchable" list.
First my game plan was to sit in the evenings, like we always do, and just wait for it to happen. Knowing he would only be paired with her for so long, and not succeeding in the first few days, I knew I had to revamp the game plan... I had photos of the two bears coming in almost every day, but never the same time. 4:03am, 10:46am, 3:57pm, 5:30am... Every day at least once in daylight but never the same time. So, I decided two days ago that I needed to be sitting all day, from dark to dark. This is no problem in deer season, when the days are 9 hours long. BUT, this time of year first light is at 3:55am and last is at 9:47pm... Thinking about the task intimidated the heck out of me, but that was my only option.
A couple days before this, when we went to sit, there were photos of him five minutes before we got there. And when we left the stand that night, there was a pic of him on the bait watching the quad trail, five minutes after we left. Leading me to believe he knew we were there and just waited for us to leave.
I wanted to do everything I could to mask my scent so this wouldn't happen again, hoping I could trick him. But really, how do you trick the nose of a black bear??? My formula was to take a beaver carcass that had been riding around in the back of the truck for two weeks, put it in a pail, and set it between my legs for the sit... Very gross, I know. I also poured used cooking oil all over my stand. And the third part of the plan was to have my Ozonics machine running over my shoulder.
Day one sitting all day...TORTURE! I saw two bears over a span of seventeen hours.
With only two hours of sleep I headed out for my second all day sit, yesterday. At 3:45am I was quiet and ready to rock, and so was the decaying beaver and all of flies that were invited to the party. By 10:00am I was losing my marbles, and there was still twelve more hours to go...
By 4:00pm there was no way I could possibly stay awake anymore, so I cleared the floor of the blind and layed down for a nap. An hour later I heard a thud coming from the bait. I sat up and peaked out... A nice young cinnamon bear had just pulled in. I was so proud of the fact that I woke up and didn't miss any action... Two minutes later, I heard huffing coming from somewhere. Looking up I noticed two different bears in trees... So, I had obviously slept through more than I thought. My bad.
Feeling guilty about not editing, I took my laptop in the blind with me and edited for two hours until my computer battery died. This is definitely a first for me!
9:16pm... just over seventeen hours on stand, a young sow was at the bait. She looked over my right shoulder and got nervous... I glanced in the direction to see what it was... the big red sow came in to my view, with the biggest, most awesome freight train of a black bear I have ever seen, coming right behind her!!! She went straight to the bait, while he chased the young bear up a tree. Once he had the area clear he began swaying straight towards me and my camera!!! I clicked the safety and off on my Ten Point Crossbow, and silently gave myself a pep talk about staying in control.
He walked right out in front of me at 23 yards, and turned, quartering away... I took the shot, the bear crashed through the timber, only making it 30 yards!!!
So many times during this seventeen hours, I questioned why a guy puts himself through torturous things like this. And there really is no answer... until a moment like this unfolds, and then it all makes perfect sense.
I am so proud of this bear, he's a spectacular animal. I have been convinced for so long, that it would never happen. Until now, I thought endings like this only happened in Hollywood.
The footage is crazy, can't wait to share it with everyone on one of the upcoming episodes!