Bear Trapping 2015
Bear Trapping 2016
If you have been following along, we will jump right into it.
The 2017 bait season had me worried from the start. I wasn't able to get bait delivered prior to the opening day of baiting and it took me almost a week past the baiting opener to get my bait sites baited. Apparently that had given enough time for the bears to concentrate on other food sources as the first week went by without a bear visit. Still plenty of raccoon kicking around, but a few less than last year as I had trapped several the fall before to enjoy their beautiful pelts. Week two I was starting to get worried as there had still been no activity at the bait, but there was bear sign in the area, so I knew I was probably competing with other baiters as well as natural foods. By week three I started panicking that I wouldn't get a bear to come in, but as the week progressed I reminded myself that it is a long season and I resigned myself to be patient.
The next week I had mixed emotions as bear showed up, but it was a sow with cubs, which for me is a scenario where I don't set my snare. Then just as quickly as they had appeared they vanished and much to my relief two boars showed up. One a young boar which wasn't really a target for me, but would have been an okay catch, and one beautiful boar that looked to me to be every bit of 250 pounds. Much rejuvenated I readied my snare equipment and made sure everything was in order. I had decided not to snare the first of the season since the weather was so warm, and the thought of processing a bear in that heat was not appealing.
The day came when I setup the snare like I had done all those many times for the last couple years before and walked away with hope. The next day as I crept up over the ridge, I could see the bait was gone and the snare was fired, but I didn't see any black fur. Sure enough, upon closer inspection the bear had triggered the snare but the loop had missed it's mark and hadn't gone onto it's foot. Somewhat dejected as I had dealt with this in years past, I added some additional sticks in an attempt to guide the bears foot exactly where I wanted it. For anyone saying it is easy, keep in mind I need to get that bear to step exactly on a spot only slightly larger than a coffee cup. Night two I was eager with anticipation, but as I snuck up over the ridge the same scenario as the day before had played out, so I added a few more sticks and rocks to get him to step where I wanted. As I approached the next morning to see the snare fired again, but no bear in sight, I decided I needed to step back a bit and rethink my strategy. Looking at the trail I had so many little sticks and stones in an attempt to guide his every footstep, I decided a change was in order and I cleaned the trail back to wide open to simplify things. I then found four sticks, two slightly bigger than the other two and placed the bigger two perpendicular to the trail and the two smaller sticks parallel to the trail to create a box of sorts and put the snare on the box.
On Friday morning I swung the rifle onto my shoulder, grabbed the bait buckets and headed up the ridge. About 100 yards away from the bait, I thought I heard something, but pausing momentarily I chalked it up to a squirrel, seeing as how it was the third season and had to be the 100th time I had checked an empty snare, I continued in. Then at about 50 yards out I caught a glimpse of movement and my heart nearly jumped out of my chest as I spotted black fur. Dropping the bait pails, I finally realized I was looking at an ear and I swung the rifle off the sling to the ready position and took another step closer. This must have caught the bear's attention, as it was laying down and abruptly stood up, as I stared in shock and disbelief that I had finally caught him, he came to realize what I was and that he didn't care for my presence. He started making a noise, that I would put in between a growl and a bark. Not sure what to expect, I quickly put the trusty .30-.30 into action and fired the lethal shot. As the bear expired and I approached, I had to put my hand onto the thick, luxurious, black fur to tell myself this was real. I had been after it so long that it seemed surreal that it could actually have happened. I excitedly rounded up a couple of friends and coworkers to help me get the bear to the pickup and as I hefted his big melon of a head and picked up his wide paws, I knew I had gotten the bear I was after and he would be over the 200 pound mark. I wasn't quite sure how much he was over until I got down to the local tagging station at Up North Outdoors and we lifted him onto the scale. As his legs cleared the bed of the truck, I saw the scale break 300 and I couldn't help but let a grin pass across my lips. When everything settled he weighed in at a respectable 319 pounds. He had a gorgeous hide, a melon of a skull and some of the sweetest bear meat I have ever tasted, and I finally achieved a life long dream of trapping a bear. Stay tuned for other outdoor adventures coming up soon!