Louie, from Louie's Outpost and Timber Wolf Air was right. Today was a good day for the bears to be at the baits. The past day and a half, the weather had turned cold, windy and cloudy. Almost none of the bear baits had been hit yesterday.
Although Jim and David had both seen bear in their current stands, Louie decided to move them to other baits. So early morning, we piled into a truck, with tree stands, bait, and hope and drove down to Grainery lake. There we loaded on to a pontoon boat and headed across the lake.
Louie took Jim into a spot where he had seen a really nice bear. The stand was set at about 16 feet in a pine tree, about 15 yards from the bait. They set out fresh bait and Jim headed back to shore.
Louie met David at a junction in the trail and took him to what Louie calls the "falls" bait. The stand was in a huge cedar tree and David put his stand at about 18 feet up. The bait was located across a creek at about 20 yards. According to Louie, that stand at times is a roaring river. This is one of the longest standing bait stands Louie has used. He told us that this was probably one of his best producing stands. We baited the stand and headed back to the boat.
"It happened at about 5:00", said Jim. "I was surveying the site around the bait when I spotted a small bear coming in from the northwest. He came in and began to take the bait at the barrel. He was too little reach the meat sack, and in fact, never even attempted to get to it. I watched him for probably ten minutes, and something spooked him. He moved out the same way he came in and looking over his shoulder all the way. I thought a bigger bear was on the way in."
"It was fifteen to twenty minutes later that I noticed another bear coming in from the east. This bear stayed in the brush, and was leery about coming in. It looked like a bigger bear, so I got ready. I watched him for nearly four to five minutes looking for a shot opportunity. As the bear stepped into a little opening, I drew my bow and sent my 2117 Easton arrow, tipped with a 125 grain Thunderhead at the quartering toward me bear."
"He lit out at a dead sprint. I was pretty sure he was mine. I waited a long time before I came down from my stand. I didn't see him immediately, so I decided to get David for some help. Unfortunately, I hadn't gone in with David when he set up his stand, so I couldn't find him."
"After coming back to my stand, I decided to try to track him, and found him not more than forty yards from my bait clearing. He was done! My arrow was a complete pass-through, starting just in front of the right shoulder and passing through the chest. I think both lungs were hit. Then came the tough part."
David was seeing bear too. "I was in a beautiful spot. Deep woods, creek, and I could imagine the falls that would be there if there was more water. I saw a lot of wildlife waiting for my bear to show up."
"I was filming some raccoons who where taking advantage of the bait, when all of the sudden the coons split. I figured a bear was coming in. It was about 8:00, and I only had maybe an half an hour of shooting light left, probably less in these deep woods."
"After three or four minutes, a nice bear came into the bait from across the stream. I would say this bear was in the 300 lb class. He walked straight in to the barrel. But as I moved my bow, it clinked on the tree stand. I was sure I had blew it. The bear turned immediately and went right back up the trail it had come down."
"But much to my surprise, he turned around and came back to the barrel. He fed off the sprinklings on the barrel, and then lifted his head to seek out the meat sack. The sack was high and he was trying to reach it, when I drew my bow and placed my pin on his chest. When I touched it off, there was an explosion of movement. The bear took off like a shot, and I could tell that I had passed my arrow over his back. A miss!"
David met Jim back at the beach, and they took a quad in to get Jim's bear. Jim's bear was a young one, and not very big. "I really thought it was a larger bear," said Jim. "If I knew he was this size, I wouldn't have shot. But when I saw him in the brush, he must have been on a knoll or something, because he sure looked bigger."
Louie estimated Jim's bear to be a 2 1/2 year old. Not a big bear, but two bears in the bag.