June 22, 2011
I've had some close encounters, but this time both my nerves and hunting instincts were put to the test. Sure, when predator calling for bear you hope for a reaction, but you better be ready when the time comes, because ready or not€¦here he comes!
After spending a few days in the wilderness, kayaking from shore to shore, camping under the stars, I had several close encounters, but still no bear down. My strategy was to spot the bear from my kayak, make a game plan based on the wind, hit shore, stalk as far as possible, then hit the predator call once I had a visual.
As I paddled around the corner into a back bay I spotted a big boar feeding on a grass flat about 1,000-yards out. After checking the wind and glassing the shore I decided on a landing spot for my kayak and started cruising toward shore. After stalking a couple hundred yards on the noisy shore I approached a fallen down tree that provided a little extra cover. Bear can't see very well but I still prefer to be hidden if at all possible. Once settled in behind the fallen tree I knocked an arrow, took a deep breath, and started blowing my old wooden distress call.
The sound instantly caught the boar's attention and he raised his head in curiosity at first. It's almost as if you could see his mood change as he went from curiosity to killer mode and his entire body spun around toward me and started coming my way. Still around 150-yards I could tell he was a good bear and that he meant business. As he started walking in my direction I knew he was committed, and I decided to get aggressive. The harder I called, the more he picked up his pace.
There were two things I wasn't prepared for. One was the fact that I was getting so out of breath I was afraid I would pass out. The other was the fact that my hand was holding the call, meaning my release was not on my bow if things got a little crazy. It may not seem like much but as a bowhunter I want to be at full draw at the drop of a dime if something would go wrong and this was making me pretty nervous! With these thoughts racing through my head, a bear coming right at me, I decided to stop for a second and catch my breath. As I stopped for a second the bear slowed down a bit but still kept coming my way.
Once I had caught my breath I decided to really let out the distress calls. This worked and the bear started running toward me. I'm not sure if I had any idea how close he was getting but I stopped to watch him for a second and he continued to walk right toward me. Once the bear hit about the 40-yard marker I decided to call one last time and make sure he committed. This big bruiser started bounding toward me and I instantly dropped the call and got to full draw. This is when instincts take over and the nerves turn to steel.
As he came inside 20-yards he paused to look right at me and actually lifted his head a bit to see what was in the tree. I remember seeing his little beady eyes locked into mine as I was looking for the best-shot placement. With only one-shot option in front of me I placed my pin right above his V in his throat section. The second it hit a fountain of blood came pouring out as he spun around and I knew it was a perfect shot.
The blood trail was almost two-feet wide and my bear never made it off the beach.
There is no question that a throat shot has a smaller margin of error, but when you have a bear eyeing you up at 18-yards, you make it count. This is the second bear in a row that I've taken in the throat with my bow and neither made it more than 40-50 yards. It's one of the risks you take when predator calling a bear, because a lot of these big boars will not step down! You need to checkout a bear's anatomy before your hunt and know exactly where to place that arrow if a broadside shot isn't presented. You also have to be ready to think quick and act in an instant or you may not make it back for a second try!