It was a warm Friday afternoon in April, I was finishing up studying for the day when my husband asked if I wanted to go for an evening drive to try and find me a bear. Since it was pretty warm out I didn’t think we would have much luck, but I was up for getting outside. For us, hunting is not just about getting an animal. Any excuse to spend time out in the wilderness we will take.
I love driving up into the mountains, loosing cell service and enjoying the beautiful views along the way
We got up to the height we wanted, got out of the truck and started walked. We were moving along and keeping quiet when we came across some scat (POOP, pictured below for your pleasure haha) that looked pretty fresh. We knew the bears were around but you never know if you’re going to be able to actually see one and get a shot at it. While seeing fresh sign is always exciting, you never really know if you’ve already spooked the animal or not. At this point I’m trying to run through every scenario in my head. Best case scenario you see it from a distance and are able to have time to set up and take a more relaxed shot….but as we know this isn’t always the case. Im also learning that bears are very hard to identify between males and females. Shooting females is not illegal (unless they have cubs with them) but ideally you want to keep the females around so that they are able to reproduce more.
Not even 10 minutes later, Joe and I are coming up on a logging slash…when we see this black ball in the corner of our eyes in the ditch below us. In my head i’m thinking “was that a….” and Joe says “Kristen, theres your bear!”. Im in such disbelief that I had to ask him if he was serious, because we are always playing practical jokes like that when were hunting especially if we haven’t seen any sign or animals for a while. It just keeps you on your toes and gets the heart rate going a bit ;)
We watched it walk up onto the road in front of us, it had not winded us at this point so it was causally making its way up. This also allowed us to see if it had any cubs (which it didn’t). As it was walking across the road, it looks straight at us and quickly scurried into the tree line above. We slowly creep up around the corner, knowing that it had spotted us so we didn’t have much time left.
There he was at the edge of the tree line, standing on his hind legs and his front paws leaning up against the tree exposing his private parts (that’s how I knew it was a “he”). I was in such awe, being so close and him just staring at us ready to climb at any moment. I shoulder the gun, put the crosshairs on him, took a deep breath in /out and pulled the trigger.
He immediately shot up the tree in the blink of an eye, and just as I was second guessing my shot and loaded another bullet I could tell with each step he took up the tree he got weaker, and weaker and finally fell to the ground. He was gone in less than 10 seconds with a perfect double lung that severed the aortic artery, leaving me with a perfectly intact heart for dinner.
It’s funny when I write out the story and my emotions during those moments I’m able to connect so much more to the animal. When you’re in the moment, you forget to take a step back sometimes and really soak it in. You’re just running on adrenalin, and once you shoot the animal the real work begins.
When it all comes together in the end there are no other words to describe it but pure gratitude, gratefulness and honour. We always thank the animal, with our words and our actions in using as much of it as possible. That, we take most pride in.