Smarter than the average bear
Bear-less, I might add. That's the way it goes.
But I learned plenty about bear hunting. Baiting them. Some of their habits. (Will add photos once I have time to have the film developed.)
Highlight of the trip was following behind the bear guide on my new quad (no, I didn't kill myself being a newbie driver and all) to some of his other bait sites.
At the one secluded bait along a river swamp, guide Phil of Sherman's Resort in Curtis, Mich., showed me where a boar marked his territory by scratching a cedar tree 7-feet high. Very exciting to see that since the area at my stand was fairly untouched for two days. Phil told me the bait where he put me had been hit every day prior to my arrival, and was "my best stand."
The weather had became unseasonably hot for being mid-September in the U.P. Temperatures were in the 80s. Told the heat really puts the slowdown on their movement and feeding habits.
Plus, the heat made it impossible to keep my scent in check despite wearing a Scent-Lok suit. I was sweating my gonads off. Wasn't aware of how powerful a bear's nose is. "Moreso than a deer's," Phil said. With that combination, we figured that's what kept them off my bait.
At least none of the baits had been hit at the other stands. So I was somewhat comforted. Phil also said he heard of no bear being taken anywhere around town.
Ended up being moved by how disappointed Phil and his helper John were that I didn't get a bear. Hard for me to be discouraged when confronted with that kind of dedication.
Just comes down to this: If Yogi doesn't come out, I can't shoot him.
During my 32 hours on the stand over a 5-day period, I often imagined him sitting propped up by a large rock along a ridge on the other side of the swamp saying, "Hey, hey, Boo-Boo, it's much too hot to go down to Mr. Hunter's feed today."
"Yogi, it's powerful hot, I'm with you," Boo-Boo would say back.
So I sat. Taking a power nap here and there. Watching the two families of coons fight it out around the large logs covering the bait in the pit the first night. Then on the second, only three coons appeared with a skunk to prance around like stooges in being stymied at getting a good hunk of "apple sauce."
Then the third day brought a couple of purring grouse beneath the stand. I cursed myself later for not getting a picture. And for not being able to hop down and chase them with my springer and Browning. Soon enough, small game opened today actually.
The last night there, only the reliable Peppie Le Pew, paid my area a visit.
But there's still hope. The boys at Sherman's are bringing me back if I can swing it, which it looks like I can Sept. 24-25. So don't count me out just yet.