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I enjoy doing fun things outdoors. Family adventures, hunting, fishing, hiking, photography, 4 wheeling, etc. Get out there and enjoy ... NOTE: PLEASE CLICK ON MY PHOTOS IN THE BLOG POST SO THEY WILL BECOME LARGER.

Friday, November 18, 2022

Hunting Adventures - 2022 - Black Bear

For the opening weekend of rifle season, we were deer hunting in Enfield at Mike's house.   For the second weekend, we headed to Moultonborough.  Mike arrived Thursday afternoon so he could take an evening stand.  I drove to Moultonborough Thursday night as I took Friday off.  I was about 10 minutes from David’s house when I realized I forgot my hunting boots. NUTS.  Rick was coming up Friday morning, so he grabbed them as he headed north. 
I missed the Friday morning stand with no boots.  Since I was up early, I took a couple sunrise pictures from David’s house.  One is from the bedroom window and the other is on the deck.  I took a couple drone pictures a few weeks earlier. 

Rick showed up late morning, so we ate lunch and headed out.  We decided to hunt Red Hill (aka the Sahara).  I was dropped off a half mile from Mike and started into the woods.  There was snow on the ground, and it was crunchy.  I walked a bit and found a good spot and a rock to sit on.  I was in the hardwoods and kicked out the leaves and snow so I could take a few steps without making any noise.  The sun felt good as it was cold with some wind.  I was sitting on a hill so to my left was uphill and to my right was downhill.  I felt I had several good shooting lanes.
Behind me, the terrain dropped down to a ravine with a stream and then up a large hill.  I sat facing southwest and would occasionally stand and turn around to face the ravine and hill northeast.  There were shooting lanes looking across to the hill if I saw or heard a deer.  I circled the rock I was sitting on from where I shot the bear.

At one point I stood, turned around, looking at that hill to the north when I saw what looked like a bear.  I raised my rifle so I could look through the scope.  It was a bear.  I put my scope on 9 power and looked again. The bear was looking right at me but was not moving.  Now, bears have an excellent sense of smell and excellent hearing.  Their eyesight is not so good.  As I faced the bear the wind was blowing at around 10 o’clock so it could not directly smell me.
The bear was 100 yards out.  I had a 4-inch diameter tree next to the rock so I slowly moved so I could lean up against the tree for support. 

I had a bear tag, so I aimed for the center chest, and bang … the bear went down.  It got up and started walking slowly downhill and bang … another hit.  Come to find out the bear had a den at that spot.  The first shot was 10 feet higher up and away from the den.  The bear turned and started walking parallel to the stream away from the den.  It let out 3 death moans and stopped behind a tree.  I watched for a few minutes with the only movement being the bear's head occasionally moving from one side of the tree to the other.
I didn’t want it to suffer so I walked down toward the ravine maybe 40 yards closer.  I used the crotch of a tree to line up another shot and bang … the bear was put down.  I circled the bear behind the tree.

I sent Mike and Rick a text.  Mike was hunting a half mile away, so I waited for him to arrive before approaching the bear.  Mike took the following short videos of the event.  Rick was a couple miles away and dropped down the get his truck and head over.

Now, field-dressing a bear is the same as a deer.  FYI … I have timed Mike field-dressing a deer in 5 minutes.  His back was sore, so he said I was on my own.  He said, “Don’t make me take off my jacket Bri!” 
I filled out my tag, attached it, and started to field dress the bear.  Mike poked fun at me when the only knife I had was my ESEE 6.  Yes, it has a 6-inch blade.  Very sharp but BIG.  Mike did help a bit by holding the leg of the bear but he kept saying “Don’t you cut me … Don’t you cut me with that thing!”  Hmm … Maybe I should have given him a little nick to keep him quiet!  HeHe.  Rick arrived and had a smaller buck knife I used to finish the job.
We used a rope and a thick branch for the drag out of the woods.  We were ¾ mile from Rick’s truck. Once we went down the ravine and up the other side it was mainly downhill.  The snow on the ground made the drag a bit easier to maneuver around the blow-downs, etc. It was 17 degrees Friday night so thankfully that kept the bear cold so the meat wouldn't go bad.

FYI … In NH you don’t go to a check station with a bear as you do with a deer.  There is a number to call on the Fish & Game website and a digital form to fill out for a bear.  A conservation officer called me and we planned a time and place to meet.
Saturday morning, the Conservation Officer that showed up is one that I have seen on Northwoods Law - NH.  We chatted and filled out the paperwork.  I was all set once he checked and tagged the bear.  He said it looked to be 130 pounds and said it was a nice average bear.  It would have been a bit heavier if there was more food in the woods. (No acorns or nuts in the woods this year)
I hunted for a few hours after the bear was checked then headed out of the woods to go to the butcher that afternoon.  On my way out, Sevey arrived and was heading into the woods.  As we talked we saw 2 bald eagles fly over us.  They were flying together a couple hundred feet up and going pretty fast.  I wished I had my camera.  

I called the butcher before I arrived.  He said he would skin the bear when I showed up so I could take the bear hyde to a taxidermist.  The Butcher told me the net weight for bear meat is around 30% of the total once field dressed, skinned, and with the fat all trimmed off.  You don’t eat bear fat and there's a lot of it!

More deer hunting Sunday morning then headed home in the afternoon.
Monday night I brought the bear hyde to the taxidermist to have a head and shoulder mount made.  I also got a text from the butcher saying the meat was ready. 
Tuesday night I headed for the butcher.  I had ordered Bear Tenderloin, sausage, and backstrap. 
Thursday was Thanksgiving.  Pam cooked up the turkey with all the fixings.  We had bear sausage and 
kielbasa in the crock pot.  I took care of the bear tenderloin on the grill.

We had Pam, Courtney, Anthony, Sophie, Megan, Matt, Jack, Kevin, Sabrina, and me for dinner.  Kate, Alex, Evie, and Ethan were in Tennessee.  We had a great family time.  I had the bear tenderloin and sausage.  
Even my 10-month-old granddaughter had bear.  I went back for seconds to find it was all gone.
We all have so much to be thankful for …
Now, my hunting buddies say as we all get older, the memories will start to fade, embellishment will start, and the story will change.
Hmm … Lets see …

- No … No!  Fish & Game did not say it was 130lbs … they said it was 310lbs!
- The bear was not 100 yards away … it was 1000 yards away!
- Because of my keen eyesight, I did not need a rifle scope. I was using iron sights.  
- Doug was on one of his crazy speed hikes up a mountain when he noticed this bear stalking him.  He panicked as the bear closed in on him.  I ran down the bear, made a Dick Butkus-like tackle, and took the bear out.
- The bear was coming at me … We pounced at the same time.  I used 3 or 4 MMA moves causing the bear to tap out.  Unfortunately, the skirmish tore up my hunting jacket thereby exposing my washboard-like stomach and my barrel-like chest.
- This bear was ready to attack a group of girl scouts on a nature hike in the mountains when I jumped in and saved the day.
- I was up in a tree with my ESEE6 knife.  As this bear came by, I dropped from the tree like JOHN RAMBO ... and had bear tenderloin for dinner.
- I was hunting with Max Michel and Jerry Miculek. (They called us the Three Amigos)  We saw the bear at the same time.  I was able to draw my pistol (Ruger Redhawk) and shoot the bear before their pistols cleared their holsters.
- I spotted the bear and slowly moved toward it.  Once close enough, I yelled, “GO AHEAD … MAKE MY DAY!”  The startled bear turned to look at me and bang.  I came up with that phrase years ago ... I think it was even used in a movie!! 

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