Mule Deer, Elk and Western Big Game Hunting -

"My First Bear Hunt"
Written by Jerry Thurston

My First Bear Hunt
It is 1:30 p.m., just outside of Doaktown, New Brunswick, Canada and I'm walking the trail into my stand getting ready for the evening hunt. The forest is still with a light breeze occasionally rattling the leaves about the tops of the maple trees. Shortly after I sit down in my stand, the squirrels start chirping and a camp robber flies into view greeting me, then landing in a tree a little ways away. Flying from tree to tree slowly, closing the gap until he is only a few feet away. Then, with a blink, he is gone leaving me in silence once again.

Minutes seam like hours in the peacefulness of the forest, waiting to see what's coming next. I here the crunch of the leaves, then another, and wonder what it will be this time. I wait and wait, and then they appear out of the thick bushes, a whitetail doe and her fawns. The fawns play around like kids in an odd game of tag. Suddenly, the doe pops her head and tail straight in the air and I can see the hair rise on her back. The fawns stop and wait for there mothers next move, as they look around to see what danger she has sensed. Then, with a snort and a stomp, they were gone back into the darkness and I am left in the quiet peacefulness waiting intently once again.

The intermittent breezes growing farther apart and the silence growing longer than before. Then, I hear the faint crunch of leaves, a breaking branch, then more leaves crunching. It's getting louder and louder. I watch into the darkness so intently, what prize for the camera will this be? It's certainly too loud to be a bear.
A squirrel breaks into a chorus of chattering, nearly scaring me to death. The crunching of leaves is very close, when from behind a poplar bush appears a two year old bull moose, slowly grazing down into the valley for the evening. I watch him eat a couple of bites of grass, take a couple more steps, and then a couple more bites of food. Several seconds later, he disappears back into the darkness of the forest like everything else, leaving me in the silence once again.

My First Bear Hunt
I look down at my watch only to see another day is about gone. With less than an hour left until my guide will pick me up and take me back to the lodge, the breeze has stopped completely now leaving an eerie silence. I can hear my breath sounding tremendously loud, a chickadee picking up and dropping a leaf ten feet away, a distant squirrel chatter, and then silent again. My heart is pounding in my chest---thump...thump...thump...

It's after seven now and the light is starting to dim as the sun goes down. I hear a new sound, and I first think it's a wild pig coming into the bait. I can't see the animal thru the trees, but I can hear it snorting, then it's interrupted by a squirrel that erupts into chatter. I hear the plastic bait bucket being rolled around on the ground and see some black moving. It's a bear!! My heart jumps and I can feel the adrenaline pumping thru my body. The excitement flows uncontrollably as I slowly raise my rifle to my shoulder and find the bear in the scope. I see his silk like black fur shining in the dimming light and a unique white heart on his chest. What a beautiful animal and a perfect first bear.
He is in full view now, standing broadside forty feet away sniffing the air for the donuts in the barrel and still snorting as if to scare some smaller bear of which I have not seen. This bear is a perfect trophy for me and a memory of a life time. I line up the cross hairs on the front shoulder, trying very hard to control the excitement I am feeling. The gun settles down as I gently slide the safety forward, hold the gun tight, take a long, deep breath and start to squeeze the trigger.
The noise is tremendous, sounding like thunder as it breaks the peaceful silence of the forest. The bear whirls around facing me and bolts towards me stumbling from the loss of the front leg and cart wheeling back to his feet with glorious speed. He takes three more strides as I eject the empty casing and ram another shell into the chamber, but it's over.
I let out my breath and admire the strength of this animal as his eyes are still shining a few feet away. I click the safety on and crawl down out of my stand to take a look at my first bear.

Closing his eyes with my rifle barrel, and then kneeling down beside him, I feel the soft black hair and slowly pet his head as if to say good night.

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