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Bear Tails & French Manicured Nails

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Bear Tails & French Manicured Nails
By: Candace Crick

I officially had one of those days, you know the one where you are cursing yourself sideways because of what you got yourself into. Bear hunting in Idaho did exactly that! It was June 2012 and we were off to Idaho by plane. We went as far up the mountain we could go by truck & switched to fourwheelers & Bombi, the snocktrack, for a 2 hour adventure to camp. It was at Weitas Creek Station where we would get to stay for a week with no electricity, but the luxuries of a cabin and a bed, and most importantly a hot shower! Any man can imagine what itís like to take a woman to camp with no hot shower. Tankless hotwater heaters are my new best friend!

I had only been bugging my husband, Tim for a year to take me on a bear hunt. There were several things that sparked my interest in bear hunting I could barely hide the excitement. The adrenaline rush factor would be my first and for most reason to go bear hunting. I hadnít hunted my entire life & have never hunted dangerous game. It would be a huge accomplishment to harvest a bear with my bow. I have lots of girlfriends that have hunted but not one had a bear. Secondly, thereís the decorating factor, I particularly had my eye on a color phase black bear to add as dťcor to my living room attire. I have almost every animal hanging on my walls, but a bear was not one of them. Most women would be repulsed by that comment, but not me in the slightest! Last but not least, the love of cooking sparked my interest with bear. I have heard so many stories about cooking bear meat or any wild game at that. I always hear how itís not very good or such & basically you just donít eat it. I take pride in my harvests & love to create feasts for my family from the woods to the table. Bear is not something Iím ultimately familiar with but if you know how to cook; you know how to cook. Itís the preparation behind the meal & I take pride in the things I put on the table. Bear would definitely be a challenge from my kitchen to hunting it in the woods; but if you know me; Iím always up for a challenge!

I couldnít be a happier lady the moment we stepped foot in camp. We settled in the first night & got all our gear ready for the next days hunt. Bear hunting is typically done in the afternoon so that next morning we screwed in our broadheads and made sure everything was still sited in. It was a nice change of pace to be able to practice with some time before the hunt. We are going to be using the natural surroundings & brushing ourselves in on the ground. Iím a firm believer in practicing like you hunt. So, I used my swivel chair & flung arrows from the sitting position. I even had some time to learn about bear species from the outfitter. Bear would be a tad different of an aiming point than whitetail for me & since Iím an archer I had to be that much more precise. Bears vitals are a little further back & if I go for that heart shot that I love than I may just pluck hair or have a very angry bear alone with me in the woods! So I was told to split the shoulders & the rear; find the middle and go down half way. So your perfectly middle middle & thatís a double lung shot all day on a bear. Bear tend to run further & even survive if you only clip one lung. So practice was a must & thatís exactly what I did.

The next afternoon, we quickly put our game faces on, camo & scented down with our scent suppression really well. Bear have a very good nose on them & that was highly important. Next, we were headed back up the mountain and off to hunt bear. Quietly we crept into the bear woods & set up our makeshift ground blind. You donít want to stick out like a sore thumb but you definitely donít want to change too much. The woods is their living room, if you change where you set your couch in your living room you'd notice, and if you change where a log or some sort is or build a fort they are going to notice. So change as little as you can, check your windage, and sit still and be quiet. I set up with approximately a 20 yard shot window. Tim huddled next to a tree using my Hide-A-Bow for the camera stand cover; as I had coincidentally left my bolt at home & could not use it for my bow. I was sitting to the right of him, in the open, but well camoed in with all the greenery.

It wasn't 30 minutes after settling in that I had seen a huge cinnamon bear coming up my trail! When I first seen him he was already 25 yards away. Their paws are so soft and quiet walking through the woods it was incredible to believe I couldn't hear a animal of this size coming in! I tapped Tim on the knee he was half way to sandman land already. He quickly looked up & pressed record on the camera. To our amazement the bear followed all the way down the same trail and stood in front of me at minimum of 5 yards. This is the part where I was cursing myself sideways, and contemplating how to give Tim my bow without the bear noticing. A sissy thought, I'm sure but it's was the truth at that moment. The bear lifted his nose and sniffed for what seemed like an eternity and then moseyed back up the trail and back down the otherside of the trail to almost 5 yards again! Seriously, what had I gotten myself into? At this point I had made the assumption we were probably going to end up bear soup; especially since we werenít packing any heat besides carbon arrows. The bear does exactly the same thing sniffs & looks around for a gracious amount of time. I'm shaking so much I'm just praying he doesn't notice us. My inside voices were trying to steady my breathing & keeping me from freaking out. Finally, he turns and heads a back to the bait. It was just like the Outfitter said, he'd mosey around for a while to see if everythingís ok. Then he'd eat, give him about 20 minutes let him get comfortable, and remember not to take a shot unless itís a double lung. Down he'd duck his head, and come out chomping away, over and over in the same repetitive motion. It was as if he was on pins & needles and knew we were there. Eventually he lightened up & began drooling from the caramel. His motions got slower and slower and more repetitive. I knew I had to calm my breathing down to a completely level & get my stuff together. I picked up my bow, and went to draw back and my arrow fell of the string and out of the rest, bouncing several times on the ground. Really, after all this time, I drop the arrow, seriously? What is wrong with me?

I waited a couple minutes, renocked, and waited for his motions to repeat over and over again. I slowly drew back my Mathews Reezen, and anchored solid, took a deep breath in and held steady. Down his head went, and back up; it wasnít the perfect shot yet. Then, finally he relaxed his shoulders and widened my shot, I release. Camera still rolling, I began bawling hysterically. I had just had what was my first pass through besides a whitetail doe, and knew it. My arrow flew through the small tough of hair I was aiming for. I had seen the entire flight of that arrow in slow mow in my brain & it was perfect!! I couldn't be more estatic with my equipment at this moment. I had 4 years or so of struggling to get try to achieve the perfect shot and here it was. My arrows and Broadheads were a deadly combination! I probably owe a lot of it to my dedication to practice practice practice mostly. All I did for at least ten solid minutes was manage to cry. They werenít tears of sorrow but a compilation of so many things. I was crying from the fear I had at first, the adrenaline I was feeling now, and the excitement of calling the guide to tell him lets go trail my bear! I did it!

Next step was to trail my bear down a mountain, with about a 12-12 pitch. Let me tell you what its like to climb down a mountain at such a steep decline with an adrenaline rush the size of Mount Everst! My knees never stopped shaking for more than ten seconds at a time. There were several times I felt like I was giving up and scooted a couples steps down on my hind end. I was shaking so terribly I was afraid I was going to end up heads first at the bottom of the mountain. I'm sure the climb wouldn't have been nearly as bad if I could calm my adrenaline down a bit, but thatís easier said than done at this point. My husband & the guide were having quite the trouble themselves. Tim acutally slid about 20 yards or more on accident. Just a few minors scrapes and bruises but we all made it in one piece. I was staring a cinnamon color phase bear at fingers length. I could touch and feel and take pictures and live the glory of my hunt & know that I had successfully harvested my first bear!!! After disecting my bear to see my shot, it was perfect, the reward of actually double lunging the animal and knowing so was more gratifiying than I can ever explain. .

It was getting dark and we needed to pack my bear out & get back up the mountain before we really became bear bait. So we packed out my bear, camera, and bow & started for our workout up the mountain. I ended up putting my french manicured nails to the test as at times I cat crawled up the side of the mountain. I could not be more pleased with this hunt. It could not have been more memorable than it was not even for a moment. The first day in the field, and hunter to harvest was me! Seems as if you get your stuff down right; arrows, broadheads, scent suppression that works, and practice those shots. It'll all come through it the end. We were also so very blessed because to top it all off we had captured the entire adventure on film. Well maybe it doesn't happen everytime like that, but that's why we call it hunting, not shooting. Reality this time though was it did for me, finally it did for me, and I'll never forget it!



CANDACE CRICK <-------<<<
Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Classifieds Guidlines/Rules-candacebear-jpg   Classifieds Guidlines/Rules-voteeh-jpg  

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  1. Outdoorsman's Avatar
    What a great looking bear Candace and what a great story. Congratulations by the way.
    Ending a week long trip the first day, nice.
  2. Sammo_3888's Avatar
    Pretty sure having a bear at 5yds would betray my scent blocking as I'd need new underpants. Ducks and fowl are much less intimidating. Well done!



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