|What a short hunt!!! Got to the lodge around 1 pm on Sunday last. The cook showed up shortly later and started in on loading up his truck with food for both human and bears. He asked me what was up with the ATV. I told him that Hal ( the owner and outfitter ) said that I could run the trails and roads around the remote camp. Gus, the cook, said all the roads were closed to ATVs' due to heavy logging and road building/repair. He also stated that they strongly suggest that we didn't take our own trucks back to the remote camp. After seeing the TRAIL we needed to take, I'm glad I left my truck back at the lodge. You should see the trucks they use. The other hunters arrived thinking that they too could take their trucks to the camp, seeing they brought canoes to use. Damn Hal.
We arrived at the remote camp around 4 pm with our kidneys barely intact. What roads, what trucks, they would not be allowed on the roads of N.Y.. We settled in for the night and had a great dinner. A few beers and off to bed. The sun came up about 6am lighting up the tent with the five hunters and the cook inside. The guide, Mike, took his bunk outside and slept under the stars. It only went down to about 65 that night. Gus got up and got the coffee brewing. Shortly after the eggs and bacon were being served. The hunters lounged about setting up their gear and playing cards. The day was sunny and around 85 degrees. I didn't think I'd need my sun block!!! After a cold lunch we started setting up for showers. There were two solar shower bags that we filled at a near by brook. If you wanted to wait for warmer water, you showered later than others. The guide came back from baiting and had lunch while we readied ourselves. Sites were drawn and we loaded into the proper trucks.
A hunter from Road Island and myself had to go through the mile and a half of the creek bed we needed to drive to our sites. We parked the truck and started to walk up Van Dyke Mountain. Mike dropped off Gary at his bait and reappeared from the woods to take me on up to my bait. He made me drop all my gear but a gun and a pee bottle. Wanted us to keep our mind and eyes on the hunt, I guess. After humping up the mountain for over a 1/2 mile we turned into the woods on the other side of the cut from Gary. After about 150 yards my stand appeared. Mike made sure I was settled in and mentioned that most likely, the bears would come in from behind me, ( down wind ). Time check.....3:30pm
The breeze was in my face at about 10 to 15 mph. Now and then the gusts would move my tree. I could smell the scent of pine from where Mike trimmed the tree to set up my stand that morning. I worked up a sweat humping up the hill and was wiping off my forehead often. Soon I was able to put on my Sent Lock hood. Sitting still in the homemade ladder stand was hard even with the aid of a cushion. Red squirrels were all around me and the bait. A few even busted me and kept barking an alarm. A well placed stick thrown in the right direction sent them on their way. Time passed slowly, the heat would have been welcome any other day but this one. Around 5-530 a dark cloud rolled in and the wind picked up. I thought of how fruitless this watch was. Soon the rain came and it grew darker. So dark that I could not even see my bait at 27 yards away. I hunched over and covered my optics on the Ruger .44 . A peek now and then showed a lighter sky to the west. Soon the rain stopped and it grew lighter. The long sleeve tee shirt I was wearing was soaked through, but the rain was welcome relief from the heat of the day. The wind died down some but was still blowing into my face.
I was having a hard time keeping still on that stand and kept moving about. The best I could muster was about 10 minutes without moving at a time. After a major cramp clearing shuffle on the top of the ladder, I looked off to my 11 o'clock about 75 yards out, and spied a black object, new to the area. Gone......back........gone.......a bear, coming in from "downwind". It kept coming. When it was even with the bait it turned towards the barrel and acted very cautious. Raising one foot and holding it in mid air while looking around for danger. It crept closer to the drum I could get a good idea of it's size in comparison with the drum. A 55 gallon plastic. The bear's back was higher that the line of the drum set on it's side, so I decided to shoot. The Ruger was made ready well before the bear made it to the drum. By the time the bear's head was a foot from the opening of the drum I had a good sight picture of the vitals, and let one fly. The beast dropped in his tracks. He was still thrashing some on his belly, so I sent another round of Buffalo Bore .44mag. in it's way. The bear flopped on his side and the thrashing subsided. Soon the eerie death moan was sounded by my bear. I got down from the stand and reloaded the two spent shells. I cautiously walked over to my prize. "MANY" pokes and prods later I held the bear. Time check......640pm.
Due to the over cast skis, dusk came early. I was instructed to head out to the opening and wait till last shooting light. Knowing Gary hasn't shot, I didn't want to screw things up for him by passing his bait area. The rain came again and in buckets now. The temperature was falling as well. I decided to head down. I met Gary coming up to meet me and to see how I did. We talked as we walked to the pick-up point. Mike, the guide had a warm truck, ( the heater was the only thing that worked well ) and a cold beer for us. We decided to leave the bear out overnight so as not to disturb Gary's site, seeing predators were not a problem.
I tossed allot that night worrying about the bear. Dawn didn't come soon enough. Mike and I had a cup of coffee and were off. We took along a kid, Mike also, because he was new to hunting, (this was his first ever hunt) and he was a big boy. We got to my site and found the bear as I left him, except a little stiffer. We used an old army stretcher to cart the bear out to the waiting truck in the cut. Back to camp and breakfast. The creek bed is the slowest mile and a half you ever could drive.
We spent the rest of the day taking pictures and skinning the bruin. He weighed in at 212 pounds live weight. As we skinned we could see the bullet hits and damage done. The 1st shot hit him high in the near shoulder and went right on through the other dropping him in his tracks. The second shot hit lower in the near shoulder through to the far forward ribs ripping open the rib cage to about a 1 1/2 to 2 inch hole, then into the inside of the far front leg, where it stopped at the bone. We retrieved that slug and have as yet to weigh it. I guess it retained 90% of it's weight.
Wednesday we were all in a funk about the events in the news. I helped with cooking and baiting on Tues. and Wed. I decided on Wed. to head home on Thurs. The camp needed supplies as well, so a trip to the lodge was needed. The 45 miles back to town takes 2 1/2 hours due to the roads. We tagged the bear for the state boys and hit the lodge. A fast shower with hot water and I was on the road by 11am. I took one small detour to drop off the rug to Anthony Scorza and was home by 1030pm. Boy was it good to sleep on a soft bed again.
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