Bear Hunting Is Bearable

Bears have always fascinated me, they’re such humble animals. The way they are able to move so silently without being noticed is amazing! I’ve always wanted to hunt for them and this year I was a lucky to get drawn for a Minnesota bear license — and I am 14!

We left our home in northwestern Minnesota around 1:45 p.m. so we could be in Waubun, Minn., by 3 p.m. to meet our guide, Todd from B&B Guide Service, at his house. We got there and Randy, Todd’s guiding partner, told us that Todd was dropping off five other hunters and that he’d be back shortly. My dad and I suited up in our camouflage and bug nets and made sure the .243 was ready to go. As soon as Todd got back we jumped into his pickup and off we went. I was off on another one of my hunting adventures!

We got to the walking trail and I followed behind Todd who had some fresh bear bait. That day he was adding strawberry fruit snacks and sunflower seeds. I climbed into my stand next, followed by my dad. Our stands were within arms length apart. Todd set out the bait and drove away, leaving my dad and I alone in bear country.

Jumps At Every Sound
The first 20 minutes were the worst for me. I jumped at every sound I heard! My eyes were wide open and every time I heard anything, I got goose bumps. After awhile I calmed down and enjoyed watching the chipmunks stuff their cheeks plump full with sunflower seeds. There were more chipmunks than I could shake a stick at, big ones, too! By now it was around 7:30 p.m. and we hadn’t seen or heard a bear for hours! My dad and I both were beginning to become restless.

The sun was finally setting below the trees and evening twilight was setting in all around us. My heart began to race with excitement knowing that this was the time when the bears came out! Well — that feeling lasted for a good 15 minutes after I realized nothing was coming. I looked at my dad around 7:45 p.m. and said “let’s pack up dad, and come back tomorrow.”

Just as soon as I said that we heard a branch snap, then another. I wrapped my fingers around my rifle tighter than ever and listened and listened. My dad and I both knew there was a bear around.

Then out of the thick wall of brush emerged a black blur, walking quickly past the bait and right toward our stands! I said “DAD, CAN I SHOOT IT?!” and he said, “You can if you want — it looks kinda sma…” BAM! There was no way I was letting that bear any closer to me. I dropped her in her tracks at about 20 yards.

I was grinning from ear to ear as we walked up to the beautiful bear, a dry sow with a thick black coat. I had never been so excited in my life!

We took pictures and I called Todd to tell him the good news. Now … I am not the biggest fan of the dark, especially when I know there are bears and wolves in the dark that can see me. Call it an irrational fear, but I really did believe that my dad and I were going to be wolf kibble. I rambled on and on making all sorts of noises to keep the lurking beasts, those I pictured in my head, away until Todd got there.

Help Arrives
After what seemed like forever, Todd’s pickup headlights shone through the trees and he brought two helpers with him. One was his son, and then other another hunter. My dad and the three others drug my bear out to the truck with a rope and loaded her up.

The author and her Minnesota black bear.

My dad and I got in the cab and the other two rode in the bed with my bear. Todd had brought along delicious chicken from his restaurant, The Hilltop, just east of Waubun on Hwy 113. It was a delicious treat after the long sit in the bear stand!

We drove back to bear camp where there already was a gathering of people. There was another bear shot that night as well, so all the hunters came to see bears. The others seemed surprised that I shot it, because I’m just a teenage girl, not your typical hunter.

My dad and I drove home with my bear in the bed of our pickup and when we got home around 11 p.m. we weighed her. She was 200 pounds on hoof and we’re guessing she was about 8 years old. We are not sure though, we haven’t gotten the tooth analysis back from the DNR yet. We skinned her and I am getting the hide tanned so I can hang it in my room and someday make a nice rug.

It was a quick, but great hunt!

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