Posts Tagged "black bear"

Black Bears: Please stop charging me!

Posted by on Sep 17, 2013 in Feature Articles | 0 comments

Washington's Mt. Adams, on my way to bear camp.

Washington’s Mt. Adams, on my way to bear camp.

 

Close encounter with black bear #3… in less than a year!

I don’t make this stuff up. Honestly. Yes, it happened again. When I was bear hunting on August 16, 2013 near Mt. Adams in Washington state, I had yet another very close, hair-raising and heart-pounding encounter with a black bear

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The Most Fortunate Turkey Hunt…Ever

Posted by on Apr 29, 2013 in Feature Articles | 0 comments

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I would never have imagined in a million years what I was about to see when I opened my eyes and lifted my head from that sunny boulder protruding from the earth on the side of that peaceful mountain. But I saw it. The image lasted a mere second in reality, but has been burned into my mind forever. From this season forward, I will never think of turkey hunting the same. If not for one small but significant piece of evidence, no one would ever have a reason to believe such a story. I still can hardly believe it myself, and I can’t get it out of my mind.

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Broken Arrow, Broken Dream: The Vanishing Bear

Posted by on Feb 20, 2013 in Feature Articles | 0 comments

I had a feeling from the beginning of July, 2012, that the upcoming hunting season was going to be special. But by the end of the bear opener, which only resulted in the discovery of a virtually fruitless huckleberry crop, I was convinced this intuition had to be referring to the elk bowhunting season just two weeks away.  For me, elk camp is one of those big occasions I look forward to, in part because in certain areas of Washington’s public forestlands, you can purchase a multi-game license that allows you to harvest a black bear, a cougar, and a black-tail deer; all while hunting elk.

I guided a good friend of mine, Caleb Hancock, for the first four days of the season and didn’t see an animal. It was unseasonably hot, and it had been bone-dry for over a month. The ground and every twig, leaf, and needle strewn about it cracked in a cacophony that sounded somewhat like “RUN, ELK; RUN!”

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Hunting Bear: The Downside of DIY

Posted by on Jan 25, 2013 in Feature Articles | 0 comments

Gifford Pinchot National Forest

Gifford Pinchot National Forest

Every fall, one cannot help but find stories of elk camps, deer camps and duck camps in the shiny pages of hunting magazines all over the country. And for good reason. Sharing the excitement is part of the excitement itself. How does that old adage go? Sorrow shared is half the sorrow; joy shared is twice the joy. Never is that sentiment more in-your-face than in hunting camps everywhere. Our first organized bear camp, in the mountains of Washington in August of 2010, was no exception. Our party consisted of three guys. Two of us shot our bear on that trip. I did not.

Like most good friends and hunting companions, when we left camp after that long weekend, I was genuinely happy for my comrades. But just because I was happy for them didn’t mean I wasn’t disappointed. I am always disappointed when I am not successful…at anything. But I usually don’t flog myself or stop eating out of self-contempt; I just do what any other obsessed hunter would do: try again.

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Black Bear vs. Mountain Lion

Posted by on Jan 11, 2013 in Hunting | 0 comments

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Left: Mountain Lion. Right: Black Bear.

Most often when we talk about predators, especially those in the North American mountainous wilderness, we lump black bears and cougars in the same breath. Both are generally considered more dangerous than a coyote or bobcat, but not quite as dangerous as a brown bear…probably a notion justified by sheer size alone. I’ve been very fortunate to have had the amazing experience of harvesting these two predators in recent years, and while the taxidermist is completing the mounts, I paid a few extra dollars to have the skulls cleaned, boiled and bleached (of sorts…not sure of the exact chemical). Yeah, I probably could have messed around with it myself, but that is exactly what I would have created in the process: a mess. Needless to say, I believe it was well worth it.

Obviously bears and cats are classified in two different families, but the differences have never been so glaring as when I began to take a closer look at their skulls. There is a lot to be learned about the differences between the animals, their behavior, and therefore, how to hunt them. The first obvious difference between the two skulls is the length and shape. While the cat’s head is short and compact, the bears head, especially the nasal canal, is much longer. So what? This tells me several things.

SMELL. Bear wins… hands down. There is an old Sioux Indian adage that goes: “The eagle sees a leaf fall in the forest. The deer hears a leaf fall in the forest. The bear smells a leaf fall in the forest.” In looking at the length of the snout, this is no wonder. Quite simply, many more olfactory receptors fit there, as opposed to the cat. And like dogs, having a long snout allows a greater volume of scent to linger in the canal, and for a longer period of time.

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