Blindsided Bear

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bear hunter and fisherman
Fishermen, with bear hunter nestled comfortably in his wheelchair, enjoying some great fishing.

David excitedly whispered that there had been two bears. The larger of the two had taken a swing at the smaller one and they had disappeared into the heavy cover, headed north. They scanned the dense bush as the blood drummed through their ears to the beat of our speeding hearts.

After ten minutes, their systems began to slow only to be ignited once again by the arrival of another bear. It came down the trail that they had used when they had arrived at the bait. Without hesitation, the animal moved to the larder and began to dine on the treasures that it found around the barrel. It was completely “blind-sided” by our unique shelter, which sat a mere twelve yards away.

The camera rolled as he closely examined the bear with the help of the zoom lens. It was a handsome creature with a thick and luxurious coat. The cameraman looked over at David and was rewarded by the sight of one very excited bear hunter. He watched the animal in total awe as he nervously held his crossbow at the ready.


bear hunter eating a shore lunch
Shore lunch, which includes huge mounds of fried potatoes, is the best part of fishing the great northland.

The cameraman went back to the lens and continued to record the activities of the dining bruin. This was a smaller bear than the one that he had seen earlier. While they waited for the larger one to come in and claim his rightful place of dominance, he would document the antics of our present guest.

When the animal had finished consuming the grease and bag, it moved to the bait barrel and began to withdraw the deposits, which had been left there by their hunting guides. As the bear chomped away at the groceries, the cameraman could not help but notice what an excellent angle for a shot it was presenting the hunter. As it moved its right leg forward exposing its boiler room, he thought to myself, “Perfect!”

The loud eruption of David’s crossbow being fired within the confines of their ground blind caused the cameraman to spastically jerk his head away from the viewfinder of the camera. Not before, however, he saw the arrow, followed by the vivid orange flare of he vanes, bury itself deeply into the chest of the unsuspecting black bear. With florescent feathers protruding from its flank, the bruin turned, snapping its jaws at the unseen enemy that had stung its side.


Myrtle Warbler
The Myrtle Warbler is a common site among the regular visitors to the blind in Northern Manitoba.

It quickly tuned and charged away, astounding them with its tremendous speed and power. Within seconds, they heard the animal began to emit its death moans. Judging by the loudness of its final uttering, they knew that it had not gone far. The author tuned to the wide-eyed David as he asked him, “Was that a good shot?”

He burst into laughter at the man’s disheveled expression and uncertainy and then confirmed his victory as he said, “You got your bear, David!”

He excitedly explained that he realized when the bear came into the bait, it was not the larger of the two. It had presented him with a perfect shot, however, so he decided to take it. The animal, he went on, was a nice sized bear and he was completely satisfied with his trophy. To David, the bottom line was that he had harvested his first black bear with a bow and he had made a perfect shot in doing so.



Gray Jay and Camp Robber
The Gray Jay or Camp Robber as locals call it is a gentle bird that makes regular trips to the bait barrel.

Once their emotions had settled a bit, the author left the ground blind to make sure that the bear was down. It had gone only 25 yards before falling in its final struggle with death. They radioed the lodge and immediately the hunting guides were on their way to remove Dave’s trophy and hunting team from the bush.

They filled in the remaining time until the arrival of the hunting guides by shooting video cutaways and exposing a roll of still photographs. Once the guides arrived, more photos were taken of the bear hunter, his trophy and the proud staff. It was a gala celebration as we reveled in the accomplishment of a very unique and intensely satisfied bowhunter.

The bear was hauled out of the timber by the hunting guides and moved back to the lodge where it was field dressed and hung to cool in the brisk, night air. The next day, the animal was skinned and deboned by the skilled staff. David supervised the entire operation, not wanting to miss a single phase of the process.




Canadian bear hunt
What would a Canadian bear hunt in Northern Manitoba be without the star character, the Black Bear.

For the next five days, the successful bear hunter had nothing to do but fish and spend countless hours watching the video of his first bear harvest. It was an unforgettable adventure for David and just as memorable for the hunting outfitter, his staff and, of course, for the cameraman and author.

It also was a text book lesson about life. If people truly desire to accomplish something worthwhile, regardless of how serious their personal limitations are, they can achieve their dreams. It is just a matter of making the right circumstances and the right people come together at exactly the right time. David did precisely that and in doing so, he touched the lives of us all.



Garden Prairie, IL
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