Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Bear Down!

"______ Down" is what one says, or texts, whenever a hunter harvests whatever it is the hunter may be hunting at the time. In this case, I was black bear hunting, so the title of this post fits, filling in the blank with bear. I finally got this beautiful 220 pound sow last Friday, September 14, at 7:30 p.m. But let me start from the beginning...

A few days before bear hunting started, I went to check on my blind. This past summer there has been an explosion of spiders - and they're HUGE - and I didn't want to be sitting as quiet as a mouse only to discover one of those in my blind, so I took a broom and headed out (yes, of course I took Steve with me). Now I suppose a few of you out there are thinking, "She can kill a bear, but she's afraid of spiders?" 

Well, earlier I mentioned the word mouse - no spiders, but the mice definitely moved in after deer season was over last fall and made a MESS as you can see by the stuff we swept out. And no, I'm not afraid of mice, but I wasn't going to share my blind with them.

Every day Steve crossed the river and baited for me... in no way do I take all the credit for this successful hunt. It took teamwork!

The above picture is of opening day. I got settled into my blind at 1:30 p.m. while Steve baited across the river. Our two game cameras indicated two bears were hitting this bait by my stand  - a big one and a middle sized one. Steve was also baiting by his stand in case I needed to move due to the lack of bear. That camera indicated he had a small bear coming in each night. (The three bears...ha!) All the bear were coming in between 7 and 8 o'clock in the evening. Perfect! Or so I thought. On the day of opener, they all went nocturnal.

This is where the bait is. Steve hollowed out a huge log and then made a log cover. He put the yummy stuff inside so the other critters didn't eat it all. Only a bear could shove this heavy log over and then have a feast. Every afternoon a raccoon would come strolling in and lick the cooking oil Steve poured over the log. Round and round it would go. Because I was bored, I would bring my gun up and watch it through my scope, telling it how lucky it was I wasn't out to shoot raccoon, just bear.

Monday through Thursday I sat in my blind from 2:00 in the afternoon until dark which is 8:30 up here. We discovered on our game camera that on Thursday night, when I left at approximately 8:20, a bear came to the bait log at 8:30. 
Now I was wondering - Is she/he watching me?

 So on Friday I was determined to stay as long I could see, and prayed it would come in even earlier. However, we visited with some wonderful friends in St. Ignace, so I didn't have to sit so long that day. I got into my blind around 5:00 p.m. 

Thanks Ken & Vicki!! You brought me luck!!

I got settled, and sure enough, around 7:15 my little buddy waddled in, the raccoon, and began it's evening ritual. And so did I. I had the little critter in my scope, when all of a sudden, it shot to it's hind feet and stood, with it's back to me, staring into the woods. Whoa, I thought, something must be coming in that the raccoon doesn't like. Sure enough, the raccoon did a 180, and ran in the opposite direction. I think 2 whole minutes passed, and the bear came out of the woods. It was absolutely magnificent! What a glorious creature!

Those of you who aren't hunters might not understand what a conquest this is. But to be honest, I am glad I won't be able to get another license for at least 5 or more years. I couldn't shoot a bear every year. But Steve and I have it processed, and tomorrow I am going to can it. We don't shoot anything we don't eat!

The leaves are changing so fast up here. Soon I'll be able to post fall pics. The weather has also changed dramatically - cold, windy, and lots of rain this week. But hey, it WAS a beautiful summer!

Below are just a few more random pictures of my hunt. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Our Trip to Wyoming 2012

Crossing the Missouri River
Pieces of History

Cows and Calves

Fields and Fields of Sunflowers Along Side the Road

The ride out to Buffalo, Wyoming, was breathtaking, even if we did have a predicament with our truck. West of Minneapolis, we discovered our alternator was having issues. We literally coasted into Hutchinson, Minnesota, before the truck quit for good along side a busy road. A nice stranger stopped and gave us a jump so we could get the truck to a Napa store. We bought a new alternator and Steve installed it in the Napa parking lot. We were on our way again...

We were traveling through fields as far as one could see, when the NEW alternator began having issues. Steve would have to pull off to the side of the road numerous times to reinforce a plug on the alternator in order for the battery to keep charging...and night was beginning to fall. We calculated we had about 30 miles left before we arrived in Watertown, South Dakota. Arriving after dark, everything was shutting down in town, so we found a motel room for the night. The next day Steve set out in search of answers and parts, and in the end replaced the alternator again. We didn't get back on the road until almost noon, which put us in Buffalo, Wyoming, hours later than anticipated.

But once we got there, met up with our patient friends, and saw the scenery - both the rolling plains and the Big Horn Mountains - our truck problems were soon forgotten.
(Or so we thought....more on that later.)

We fell in love with Wyoming!

We arrived at dusk...

...and the wildlife was out and about - EVERYWHERE!!

This was where we were blessed to stay with our friends, Gary and Sue.

The next morning they took us on a ride through Crazy Woman Canyon. I have many more pictures to show you of just the canyon on a future posting. But this is what we discovered on this ride...

A mother and baby moose!

We did a lot of four-wheeling while out there, and it was an interesting experience. We share much of the land with cows! They are everywhere! But on this particular ride, the first wildlife we encountered...

...was two bull moose!

And those cows I was talking about sometimes had horns and didn't look too keen on sharing the trail with us.

Here come Gary and Sue!

The views were magnificent!

Good Times! Great Friends!

I have many more pictures to share with you, but it may not happen for awhile. On Monday, I start bear hunting. Steve has been baiting for me and we have quite a few bear coming in for the yummy granola, frosting, and cooking oil he puts out.

Here are some pics of the boars/sows from our game camera...

I'll let you all know how it goes. No news means I'm still in the woods!