Last year, I was lucky enough to be a part of a successful hunt, when Smally killed his first bear. This year, I got lucky again and was able to see Colonel get his first bear on our third drive of the day. I spent all day drivin', so I was pretty tuckered out. When those shots rang out in front of us though, all of that was forgotten as we beat the brush to finish out the drive, then get back into the thick shit to see the bear. I tell ya, nothin' makes me happier than to have some good hound-doggin' pay off.
The bear went out in front of the two drivers to my right and ran headlong into Gene, one of our standers. His first shot dropped the bear in his tracks, but as he walked toward him, the bear jumped up and ran back into the drive. He wound up in front of Colonel, who was drivin' to my left. Three shots from Colonel put him down for good, and the whoopin' commenced. I never saw the bear until he was down, but I was definitely in the middle of all the action.
|Gene and Colonel, shortly after|
the drive finished.
Both Gene and the Colonel are former Marines, so there was a lotta braggin' directed at the other "inferior" service members in the group.
|The obligatory group shot, after the drag out.|
Upon return from the check station, it was time to get it skun out. Colonel and Rat, an experienced bear slayer, did some quick knife work as the daylight faded and a snow squall moved though. I took the liberty of bein' the designated flashlight holder and picture taker.
I did take a few pictures as we drove that day, so I'll post them, just so y'all have an idea of the hell we go through to try and get these bears...
|It starts out innocently enough....|
|And then the mountain laurel rises up like a wall in front of you.|
|And once you're in, you're either slitherin' like a snake along|
the ground, or you're six feet off the ground, climbin' around
like a monkey. This particular patch was about 300 yards long,
and has yielded many bears over the years.
|This is what we call the slashin's, a mile-long section of|
mountainside that was logged off a few years back. It's a lot
tougher to get through that junk than it looks, but it's great
cover. Dad got his only bear on this drive, and the only bear I've
ever seen while bear huntin' came out of it, which I promtply missed.
The bear we got this year came outta here.
It is definitely a team effort to get a bear, and I really enjoy huntin' with that gang. It's somethin' the ol' man and I can do together, and I look forward to it every year.