Sunday, September 18, 2011

No Lions, No Tigers, Just Bear!

This is the time of year our quiet country road becomes a major thoroughfare. As I write this, I watch the pickup trucks disappear into the Hiawatha National Forest, only to re-emerge moments to hours later - all in pursuit of the elusive black bear. The hunt is on...

Some bear hunters hunt out of tree stands, hoping their bait pile of sugary snacks, vanilla extract, all drenched in disposed cooking oil from the nearest restaurant, will attract more than flies and bees. This potpourri of odors doesn't appeal to the moose, but curiosity will bring them in for a quick lookey see. We captured this grainy shot below on our game camera. It's kind of like shooting a picture of the elusive Big Foot! Bluurry! Grin.

Eventually, a bear with a sweet tooth will swagger in and chow down. Usually at night, after the hunter has gone to bed. Frustrating.

Other bear hunters prefer to hunt with their dogs. They release their trained dogs and monitor their activity and current location by the collar the dogs wear and the state of the art radios the hunters carry. The chase is on until a bear climbs a tree, is trapped by the howling dogs, and the hunter drives to the location and shoots the bear.

We prefer the tree stand approach.

Yesterday, we were fishing down by the river in the afternoon with our own dogs lolly-gagging through the river and the woods. We could hear the faint Beagle-like yelp of bear dogs in the distance, getting closer and closer to the Grizzly Den. We knew they were on the scent of a bear. My dog, Bear,

was not quite as content as in this picture and began whining like crazy while pacing between us and the truck, visibly agitated and quite certain we were under attack. Ike looked on nervously into the woods, then studied Hubby's smiling face and then my face trying to assess the danger level from my wrinkled forehead. Confused for sure, I'm guessing he was wishing for respite in his dog house...

I gave hubby the camera with the order to shoot the bear if'/when it crossed the river, then I stayed close to the cabin with the three dogs (chickens, all four of us), just in case that bear decided to cross the river and come our way. Brave Hubby disappeared around the bend of the river to get the best shot possible. But the bear had a different direction in mind and took a hard left turning away from the river at the very last moment. Whew.

But no pic.

Neither Hubby, or sons, or myself obtained a license this year. I have enough points to get one next year. But for now, I can share with you the success Hubby and son had two years back.

After 3 days of hunting...son got his first bear, a sow. The timing was perfect as son had to leave for work the next day. As usual, his dog, Tess, had to pose pretty and be in the picture, too!

After 9 straight persistent days, Hubby got his bear, a boar, in a cedar swamp.

They say bear meat is sweet. I don't know. I only process the bear using it for jerky, burger, and steaks. The guys all said it was good. I'll take their word for it!

We've been stopping in at the check-in spot in Strongs to see the bear that are being brought in and documented. So far, since the 10th of September, just under 30 bears have been brought in. Strongs, Michigan, is officially recognized as the Black Bear Capital of Michigan.

For the most part, it is a safe sport. Until, that is, you come across a protective mama bear. Here's an interesting article that was the talk of the coffee shops this week. Click on the link below.

Trout Lake is about 15 miles west of us.
This is why I walk with a can of Mace in my pocket. 
(Don't worry mom.)

Fishing was Great!!

And so was the fish fry!

Have a blessed week, everyone!

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