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Author Topic: The Bear and the Bouncing Bow - by Charie Lamb  (Read 457 times)

Offline Terry_Green

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The Bear and the Bouncing Bow - by Charie Lamb
« on: April 04, 2003, 01:27:00 PM »
The Bear and the Bouncing Bow - by Charie Lamb


Every once and a while things work perfectly in bowhunting, but often they don't. It's that best laid plans thing you know. There was an incident with a black bear a few years ago that makes my point.

I was at home entertaining guests when Russ showed up at my front door. He'd just come from his bear bait, up on Scab Creek, which is situated in the mountains south of our western Wyoming homes.

As was his habit Russ got into his story slowly. His words were well chosen and calm. But his face was flushed and a twinkle in his pale blue eyes told of his excitement.

It seems that a good sized black bear had approached his bait in the waning light of evening. Russ calmly told of the moments before the shot and how the arrow seemed to fly in slow motion to a place behind the bear's shoulder that was a bit higher than planned. He told of how the Howard Hill broadhead had melted through the animal and disappeared down the mountain side.

He was sure the bear had taken a good hit and would be easily recovered. He wanted my assistance in the morning. The carcass and hide would have to come out in pieces and an extra pack would make the job easier. Of course there was the matter of having someone to share the moment with too. Darkness had forced him to back off on the blood trail. But it would be easy. I was beginning to have an uneasy feeling about the whole thing.

I don't like single blade heads for bear. A narrow two blade I like even less! I had some real misgivings about the situation. Usually, a well shot bear goes almost nowhere. A poorly hit bear can travel forever. I wasn't worried about being attacked. That wasn't likely. I was concerned that we wouldn't find the bear. At this point I suspected that was very likely.

The next morning we assaulted the mountain before first light. It was only a mile or so from the truck, but the first quarter mile was a switch back grind that climbed for two thousand feet before leveling off in dark pine timber. We were soaking wet with sweat and breathing hard as we came into the meadow below the bait sight. At the far end of the meadow and up on a small ridge among the lodge poles was the bait sight. It was a well thought out spot. The evening thermals washed the scent of the bait down through a jumble of down timber and rock. The bears always came from there and this one had run right back into it.

Quietly we talked about the scene. Where the bear was standing when shot and where he went after the shot. We looked for the arrow but it was gone. there was absolutely no sigh to be found save the scuff marks where the bruin took off.
We quickly moved to the spot where Russ had last seen the bear and found only a small speck of blood on top of a granite boulder. My uneasy feeling was growing.

With bow in hand I took up the search. Russ laid his bow and pack next to the bait pile and followed. At least he was confident.
It was agonizingly slow work. I'd find a speck of blood and Russ would move up and mark the spot while I searched ahead for the next sign. It went on like that for close to three hours. Here a hair on the side of a tree and there a drop of blood. Sometimes it would be twenty or thirty yards between sign. The trail had covered three or four hundred yards of some of the nastiest, straight up and down, blow down hell you could imagine.

I was totally stumped. This bear was obviously not hurt seriously. I was frustrated and a little angry. It's not supposed to go like that. I was working on the words I would use to tell Russ it was a bad deal, when suddenly everything changed.
I had stepped out onto a flat topped boulder to survey the steep slope below when I got a whiff of the pungent scent of bear. He had to be close! My sense of smell isn't that good. He had to be REAL close!

Suddenly a stick cracked below me. The wounded bruin had been hiding below the very boulder I was standing on. Russ was yelling to shoot him and the bear was packing the mail out of there. Recovering from my shock I shifted my bow from the string down position I had been carrying it in to a string up ready position. Somewhere in the middle of this deft move I fumbled the bow. It fell from my grasp, hit the boulder on it's lower tip and sproinged off down the mountain slope. I immediately hurled myself after it. Somehow I landed next to it, both of us sliding through the pine duff. As I got it back in hand I brought my feet under me and skidded to a stop upright.

The next few seconds were a dream sequence. The bear, seemingly unhurt, was a black blur at forty yards. A broadhead arrow had found it's place on my bow. My fingers found their position on the bowstring. In a heart beat the bow was bent, my bow arm tracking the path of the fleeing bear and then the release. The arrow found the bear at a little over forty yards. It found him and passed through him quartering. The black animal whirled and started to climb a nearby pine. A second arrow passed through his neck. He slid back off the tree, tumbled a few yards down the mountain and lay still.

Suddenly Russ was there, pounding me on the back and pumping my hand hard. I was speechless, numb, and grinning from ear to ear.

When we finally opened the bear and inspected it's wounds we found that Russ' arrow had done only superficial damage. The initial wound was sealed and no longer bleeding. It was my first arrow, cutting through liver and lungs that did it in. My arrows were retrieved from the hillside later. They were within inches of each other.
And the bow? It came through the action with only a minor scratch on the riser, a small ding compared to what would happen to it on my next bear hunting trip. But that's another story.

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