21 December 2000

Bear 2000 Spot & Stalk

by Larry Velvick (President Idaho State Bowhunters)

Bear 2000 Spot & Stalk

September 2000

I'd been elk hunting all morning bugling and cow calling with no results. I was in the timber and happened to look downhill and saw the bear in a boggy meadow at about 70-80 yds.  He was moving from my left to my right so I decided to move parallel with him and narrow down the distance as I did so.  The thermals were perfect.  I tried to be as quiet as I possibly could but occasionally I'd step on a twig and he'd raise his head, look around but not be alarmed.  I even lost him for a bit and backed up trying to locate him again and backed into a dead tree branch.  Again he raised his head and looked around but wasn't alarmed.  He found a pool of water in the bog and just set down and splashed water on himself.  He then started walking again in the same direction.  He finally came to a point where he stopped and I thought this was the moment of truth so I drew my trusty Diamond Recon but before I could shoot he turned slightly and left me with an uncomfortable shooting angle so I let down.  Then he stepped up on a log and stepped off the log leaving his back feet on the log and front feet on the ground.  This was my last chance and thought the distance to be 35 yds so I *calmly* drew the bow and let the sight pin settle.  The shot was broadside or very slightly quarterly away.  When the arrow hit my thought was "damn, that was a good hit!"  He rolled and growled and then just got up and walked not ran parallel to the log into the brush.  When I next saw him he was standing with his opposite side to me and I could see blood on the far front shoulder.  I had heard of animals not knowing they were hit and just walking away but I was amazed!  Anyone who knows me will have a hard time believing this next statement but then I made a mistake!  I took my eyes off the bear and went to look for my arrow.  After locating my arrow (two pieces) I was further confused.  The front half of the arrow was totally clean and the back half was totally covered with blood.  Did his fat and hair clean the front half?  I still don't know.  Anyway, I went to where I had last seen him and walked in the direction he was looking when last seen.  It was nothing but green meadow grass and blood should have been very visible.  No blood.  Went looking for my hunting partner.  No partner.  Went looking for blood again this time ranging further out.  No blood.  Doubt begin to creep in.  Went looking for partner again.  No partner again.  This time I started to grid search for blood in the grass with no success so on a guess I went the opposite direction he had been looking and found a very heavy blood trail.  He evidently had turned 180 degrees when I wasn't looking.  He obviously was bleeding from both sides and after a 30 yd trail I saw what I thought was him piled up in a very dark clump of trees.  Looking through the binocs I could see this horizontal line mixed in with all the vertical lines of the trees but still wasn't sure he was dead.  I was finally able to determine which way he was headed in the shadows.  I yelled at him but with no response I figured he was dead and so he was.  This was my first spot and stalk bear and it is a real adrenaline pumper, guaranteed.  Larry

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