A bear hunt to remember

by Gord Ellis | October 27, 2015

remember - Ripped hunting blindIt had been a tough morning. My extended family and I had said goodbye to my wife’s grandfather Ed Marsh. He was 98, and ready to go, but it was still difficult to say that final farewell.

Ed had been a moose-hunting mentor to me, and was a wonderful man. We’d spent a lot of time over the years talking about moose, various hunts, and bears. He didn’t like bears, and was happy that I hunted them. He was convinced they were bad news for moose.

After the funeral, we all needed a little time. I’d not been out in my hunting areas for a week due to the funeral preparations, and I wanted to see what was going on. I told my wife, Cheryl, I was going to check things out and gave her a kiss.

It was gorgeous afternoon and I rolled down the window to let the air circulate. It felt good to be driving. When I got to the field, stop number one was to check out the ground blind. It was visible at the end of the field, but there was a problem. It was partially collapsed. A closer look revealed the door side was ripped open and the chair was hanging out of it.

The unmistakable claw marks of a bear were quite visible. Two supporting arms of the blind had been smashed and a window was ripped.

The unmistakable claw marks of a bear were quite visible. Two supporting arms of the blind had been smashed and a window was ripped. A week earlier, this brand-new ground blind had been erected in a perfect spot at the edge of the field. It was just 40 yards from an entrance to a nearby cornfield that had heavy deer and bear traffic. The next day, my first doe of the season was taken out of that spot. It was all coming together. Now this. I was a little mad.
remember - Gord Ellis and his bearI drove home and told Cheryl, “I’m going to go back and kill a bear.” I had a bear tag to fill. There had already been a couple of chances at big bear in the field, but they’d been out of bow and shotgun range. It was time to get serious. I got my gear together and headed back to the field.

My first task was to prop up the blind so it was usable. There was a bit of a tilt to the tent, and a lot more light and air getting in than normal, but it would work. I brought both my crossbow and shotgun, to cover all bases. The SD card was pulled from a nearby trail cam and checked. Several bears had been out in the light. A good sign. I settled back and started to watch.

At about 6 p.m. there was a crack in the bush. This got the adrenaline going. Then, in the woods, there was a large black shape. I pulled up my shotgun and looked through the scope. At about 60 yards, a nice bear stuck out its head. The scope found a shoulder, but not a lot of it. I pushed off the safety, took another look and decided against the shot. There was still time.

That bear ducked back in the woods, and remained visible, but not clear for a shot. Had I blown my chance? I sat for about 40 minutes, second-guessing myself.

A great big boar
Nearing 7 p.m., and with light falling, the bear in the woods suddenly bolted off. Strange behaviour, unless a bigger one was approaching. I peered farther up the field and there it was. A great big boar.

The bear was as round as a pumpkin, and taking its sweet time moving toward the cornfield. The shotgun went up, and I watched the bear come ever closer. At about 60 yards, the boar stopped dead and started tasting the air.

It sat down on its haunches and I quietly slipped off the safety. I took a breath and squeezed. The shotgun roared, the bear fell back, and it was over. The field went dead quiet. The sky was going grey as light was quickly falling.

I sat back in the ripped-up blind and thought of Grampa Eddie. He would have been very happy. And then I thought of all the work ahead.
It had been a truly memorable hunt.