Anyone who has ever done a self guided bear hunt knows the work involved in preparing for such! Collecting bait, packing, trailers, four wheelers, trail camera’s, guns/bows and ammo, food, tree stands and ground blinds are but a few of the items on any bear hunters check list. Where we go a four wheel drive vehicle is a must, and I had just leased a brand new Dodge Ram Quad Cab 4×4!
Dave and I had a definite advantage over most bear hunters in the fact that our bear camp host (Gary Baldwin) was baiting for us. We have been hunting near Marquette for 43 years at Gary and Dick Baldwins camp. They are like family and half the joy of bear camp is visiting with the Baldwin family. Gary had contacted us prior to our departure and said both our baits were getting “tore” up! What music that is to a bear hunters ears! Black bears are trying to fatten up for the upcoming winter hibernation, so we knew they would be sticking around our area.
Dave runs a business and only had four days to spend in the field, but I felt confident that was plenty of time to hang at least one bear on the game pole! When we arrived, after our 500 mile journey, Gary was there to greet us with a grin on his face. It was good to see our old friend, and he had good news concerning our hunt. We unloaded and put 400 pounds of bear bait in the garage, and were anxious for Gary to take us to our “hot” spots! All three of us jumped on Gary’s side by side, and up the steep Marquette hills we traveled. Both spots were just like we were told -“tore up!” We couldn’t wait to get in our stands that evening.
Dave was shooting his AR-15 chambered in 308 and I was shooting my Excalibur crossbow. That first evening was perfect, but no bear came in for a “fast food” meal! Much of our bait was from Mcdonald’s. The whole trip went downhill from there as a weather front moved in with wind and rain which lasted for 5 straight days. The whole time we were in camp the baits were never touched once! In 43 years of doing this hunt I have never had my butt kicked, this bad, by the weather! We toughed it out, and sat in the stand for four nights, at 4 hours at a time, only to see a few raccoons and red squirrels! I guess that is why you call it hunting and not “killing!”
We still managed to have a good time, which I will follow up on in the next few post. Now it’s time to get ready for that elusive whitetail buck!