September 12, 2007
We‘ve been having a bear hitting our bait pile pretty hard but still have not seen the culprit. This is the best spot we have and we have been baiting it every year for all five years we have been bear hunting. This is none other than the infamous “Stump”. However, there is not much left of the ol’ Stump after years of bear thrashings, just a very tough shell at the very base before the roots. It is the spot where we have shot all three of the bears we have taken in previous years, including both of my opening day bears and Butch’s brute.
I let Butch sit at this spot on opening weekend, he sat there four days straight and I have now sat there Friday, Sunday, Monday and tonight. Every day for two weeks now, it has been getting thrashed and completely cleaned out of at least 2 5-gallon buckets at a time. Yet, we’ve not seen the culprit. Over the years we have also trained the chipmunks and raccoons, which come en masse each night. When I get out of the stand, the pile is usually a glow with about a half dozen sets of raccoon eyes in the shine of my headlamp. But I know for sure that it has been a bear cleaning out the pile because of the destruction and obliteration of the large logs we use to cover the pile; no coon that I have ever seen could move the larger logs. Plus, he left behind a pretty healthy pile of scat not five yards from the stump. I have had a feeling that it is a pretty good bear, possibly even the bear that I bumped off the bait when Brent came with me to bait it two seasons ago, which was a decent bear at that time. However, once a bear has been bumped off the bait it will probably never come back or only come back late at night. Which is my other fear, because if he is coming in at night there is very little if not nothing I will be able to do to change his mind.
So, Monday night I put out a scouting camera to try to find out when and how many bears are coming in. When I got there today I only had three pictures and one was of me as I was walking up to check the camera. First of all, I believe that the time stamp on the camera is about 45 minutes behind actual time because of setting it incorrectly Monday night in the rain. So the first picture I believe is actually about 8:45 pm or about 25 minutes after I left my stand! The bear in the first picture is probably a yearling or about the size bear I have shot in the past. He is standing alongside the bait pile before it is destroyed and the pile is usually about waist high on me. But the bear in the second picture is a much bigger, beautiful bear! I am disappointed that I didn’t get his head and his big shiny teeth in the picture, and the camera should have taken more pictures than this so I moved the camera to a closer tree tonight. I know it took a picture of a coon as I was getting ready to leave tonight and took a picture of me as I was walking out tonight as well, so hopefully we will have better pictures tomorrow! Unfortunately, I don’t know if I will be able to tempt this guy to come a little earlier than 2am. But hey, the weather is cooling down, the bear hunters are thinning out, and as long as the bow hunters and small game hunters hitting the woods this weekend don’t provide too much more stress, maybe he’ll make a mistake and come in early…