INFO: Trad Archery for Bowhunters

Author Topic: Intangibles - by Micky E. Lotz  (Read 517 times)

Offline Terry_Green

  • Administrator
  • Trad Bowhunter
  • ****
  • Posts: 249
Intangibles - by Micky E. Lotz
« on: May 18, 2003, 06:27:00 AM »

by Mickey E. Lotz


It was 2 am and unseasonably cold as we pulled up to the dark tent camp after the long 22 hour drive. We located and fired up the generator which powered the little 100 watt bulb that hung in the corner for light and got busy building a fire in the small wood stove which would be our source of heat for the next 7 days. After selecting bunks and carrying in our duffles, we unrolled the sleeping bags, stoked the fire and collapsed for some much needed sleep. Morning came much too early and the fire was down to just coals, once again causing us to shiver as we climbed out of our bags and pulled on our clothes. The temperature was about 22 degrees. According to the radio it was -4 (Celsius), leave it to the Canadians to make it sound even colder than it was. While getting gas in the nearby town of Kapuskasing, a gentleman told me it was the coldest may they've had since 1939!

Our hunting party included Rick Geddes, Rod Garringer, John Jordan and his son Jeff, Chuck Evans, Bruce Burgess and myself. All members of our hunting party shot traditional equipment except Rod. He was our token compound shooter and received a lot of good natured ribbing about it. "maybe next trip" he would say.

It was sometime around noon when our outfitter, Owen, came into camp. He informed us an unusual cold front had slowed activity at the baits and that he set the baits for a south wind, not the north wind we were experiencing. Although the abnormal weather had slowed bear activity he was optimistic things would improve and that we would see some bears. Owen got busy filling out the forms for our fishing and hunting licenses before taking us out to check the baits. We also drew numbers for the baits we'd be hunting. Visual inspection showed that most had been hit. We rebaited and piled logs over the bait to keep the little critters out and hung our treestands. From this point on it would be our responsibility to keep up the baits with meat scraps Owen left for us, and "special attractants" we had all brought with us in hopes of luring the bears to our bait stations. Tomorrow we would hunt.

Sunday dawned clear and cold. It was my birthday and Owen showed up at camp mid morning with a delicious birthday cake baked by his wife. It was a very thoughtful gesture. As I blew out the little bear candles I wished for a bear for each member of the group. About 3:30 pm we all headed to our stands. I had no activity at my bait other than being amused by the antics of a piney squirrel trying to get some honey off his fur, and watching the ravens freak when coming in to steal a scrap and suddenly spotting me in my evergreen perch. Ravens are as sharp eyed as crows and have an unbelievably entertaining vocabulary. By 10:15 it was dark so I climbed down, walked out to the road, and waited to be picked up.  It was a pattern that would repeat itself like in the movie "groundhog day" for the next five days. Back at camp I learned John Jordan had scored on his first bear. A Magnus tipped cedar out of John's custom recurve put the bruin down in 30 yards.

Sometime during the night a storm front moved in bringing with it cold rain, high winds, sleet & hail. This would continue off and on for the next three days. High temperatures were in the mid 30's to low 40's, and the once dusty logging road that led to our baits turned muddy, rutted and slippery. John's 4x4 truck got stuck one evening and we learned by radio that they would be late picking up Bruce, so I volunteered to go get him. Bruce had to wait nearly an hour in the pitch black darkness waiting to be picked up. Normally this would not have been a problem, but after seeing bears and wolves in the area he said every noise in the darkness became a man-eater. Needless to say he was thrilled to see my headlights.

Apparently the bears disliked the weather as much as we did and were conspicuously absent. On Thursday the sun came out for a couple of hours and Rick and Chuck were able to harvest their first bears. Rick's blackie had a beautiful white “V” on it's chest and was put down with a Magnus tipped cedar arrow out of his Morrison custom recurve. Chuck's bear, a record book candidate in the 250 lb. Class, was taken with a Zwickey tipped cedar out of a sky trophy longbow. Bruce also had a bear encounter when he approached his bait only to find a hungry bruin already busy filling his stomach. Standing less than 20 yards apart, Bruce was unable to get a shot with his custom Jordan longbow due to the thick brush. Thursday night the rain, wind and cold moved back in.

As Friday was the last day of our hunt, rod, Jeff, Bruce and I decided to give it our best efforts. Ignoring the nasty weather we bundled up and headed to our stands before 10 am. It would mean a 12-hour stint on stand. The first 11 hours and 20 minutes I once again guarded an inactive bait barrel. About 40 minutes before dark, a slight movement caught my attention. Focusing on a spot in the bush I soon made out the muzzle of a bear. I had spent over 41 hours on stand waiting for this moment. I slowly stood and took my Morrison custom longbow "sweet thing" from it's evergreen hanger my bow hand found the comfortable and familiar grip on the handle, and the Damascus glove on my string hand gently surrounded the mercury nock of my cedar arrow. As the bear nervously approached the bait I took a deep breath and slowly exhaled to calm my nerves. Soon I felt my bow arm coming back until my middle finger reached the corner of my mouth. A wickedly sharp Zwickey black diamond Eskimo 2 bladed broadhead was poised to do its intended job. The nylon thread of my string tracker was wound snuggly into the ½ inch wide band of self adhesive Velcro wrapped around the shaft directly behind the broadhead, ready to prove the value of the system by leading me straight to the fallen bear in the impenetrable northern Ontario bush. It would also put the capper on an article I was doing on "string trackers for longbows" for Rik Hinton of Instinctive Archer magazine. At just over 10 steps I seemed to be right on top of the bear. All I had to do was release the tension in my string fingers and the bruin would be mine. But, this was not a bear I had traveled 1100 miles to shoot. An adolescent bear, weighing perhaps 100 pounds, he was barely as big as the small trash barrel that contained the bait. I took a bear twice his size on a hunt in Saskatchewan 5 years earlier and could see no value in taking this ones life. Next year, or the year after, he would be a worthy trophy. I slowly let the bowstring down, hung up my bow and sat down.

As the last few minutes of my hunt came to an end and darkness enveloped me, I watched the small bear, and reflected on the last 7 days. Like a lot of my hunts the success of this one would not be measured by game taken, but rather by something more intangible. Measured by friendships made, camp fires shared and hunting stories told. Measured by the awesome beauty of the land and the different animals observed, such as moose wolves, eagles, lynx, pine martins, porcupines, beavers, ravens and cross fox. Measured by afternoons spent on a beautiful lake with ultra light fishing gear catching big northern pike which were later cleaned, batter dipped, fried and combined with fresh bear loin and fried potatoes to easily become the best meal of the trip.

Sometimes you can't measure the success of a hunt by looking at the game pole. Sometimes you just have to appreciate the intangibles.

Users currently browsing this topic:

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Contact Us | Trad © | User Agreement

Copyright 2003 thru 2020 ~ Trad ©