An excerpt from from “The Bear Hunting Obsession of a Driven Man”
When estimating size and weight, black bears are the most misjudged big game animal in the woods. Bears simply look much bigger than they are (especially to hunters who have not seen several of them under the self-imposed stress condition of viewing one at close range with the intention of putting a tag on that bear.
Therefore, the huge bear before the shot frequently becomes a much smaller bear when the hunter walks up to it.
Contrary to popular belief, all bears are not 500 pounds. As a matter of fact, a 500-pound bear is exceptional. Hair up to four inches long, often standing erect when the bear approaches the bait, adds considerably to the visible circumference of the animal. That, plus a bit of fear factor and general unfamiliarity with the animal, create large weight and size misjudgments.
Over the years I have taken many first-time bear hunters to the north woods. Until that time, the only bear they had ever seen was at a zoo or in a picture. Not only did they tell me they wanted a 500-pound (or better) bear, when they shot a 200-pound bear they thought they had killed a 500-pounder.
In an Ontario camp one year, a father and his two sons were on their first bear hunt. I took a decent 200-pounder the first night out and after that contented myself fishing and visiting with the outfitter and his family.
About six o’clock on the third evening an RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) officer pulled into the lodge’s driveway. One of the sons was so excited he had started to walk back to camp. The officer had picked him up on the highway.
The young hunter had a smile a mile wide and proceeded to explain his hunt. He said he shot a MONSTER bear climbing his tree.
The outfitter asked, “Where did you hit it?”
“I don’t know,” the young man said, “but it died 50 feet from where I shot it.”
I asked how big it was. “At least as big as your bear,” he replied.
There was plenty of time to retrieve the bear before dark, so we headed out.
On the drive to his stand, the young man explained how committed he was to bowhunting….thousands of hours of practice just for this hunt, etc., etc.
Parking the truck, we grabbed the cot to carry out the bear. The outfitter took his rifle, just in case.
From the stand, we walked over to the young man’s bear. The “monster” bear was a yearling, about 70 pounds. The young man’s smile lit up the place. He was sure his bear was a trophy, and for him it was!
Later that evening in the lodge, he got into some Canadian whiskey and his mouth started spilling big stories that, after a while, were more than a bit irritating. Finally, he looked at me and asked, “What would you do with ole’ big boy?”
“Tan its hide and make a wallet,” I said.
I probably should have apologized, but I didn’t. The young man had, by now, gotten on everyone’s nerves.
For more hunting tales and almost 200 pages of extensive, proven “how to” black bear hunting tips, check out THE BEAR HUNTING OBSESSION OF A DRIVEN MAN.