Finally! A bear!

I’m getting comfortable in my own stand. I don’t like it much but I’m adjusting. Today was a big improvement. I didn’t check the bait barrel yesterday. Ava had three harsh seizures and it took her a while to come out of it. I went up this afternoon.

I watch the road closely for scat in the road and tracks in the mud. A flash of shiny black fur caught my eye as a smallish bear ran out of the woods, down the steep bank and crossed the road in front of me. It disappeared into the woods on its way to the bog. YES! If nothing else, I’d seen, actually laid eyes on, a bear during baiting season. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were pics on the game camera.

And there are! He…she…it…visited the barrel at 1:29 this morning and stayed for a total of three seconds. Three. He walked up to the barrel, sniffed and left. Thanks coming! C’mon back now, ya hear?

I dumped more doughnuts into the barrel and headed home to look at the pictures on the laptop. Shooter? Not? hmmm…I need to see it in person. It’s probably too small. I changed into hunting clothes, got the gawd awful smelling jar of skunk essence and my rifle, and went back to the stand.

I wondered if I was parking too close to the barrel. I could see the Jeep from the stand last time I was there. I parked a half mile away this time and walked in, skunk essence in an unopened jar inside a Ziploc bag, held as far away as possible. I opened the jar just long enough to put “a Lima bean sized” amount of essence on one of the logs sticking out of the barrel. I left it on the ground at the barrel. It smells so awful I couldn’t keep it in my pocket.

Today was different in my stand, and not just because of my improved attitude after seeing the bear and finding pictures on the camera. The chickadees mobbed me. They landed in the branches all around me and above my head. Once satisfied with their inspection of me, they went away. Red squirrels chattered nearby and far into the woods. One of them came up the tree my stand is secured to. He stopped when he got to my boots. I heard what I think was a fox bark.

A crack in the woods ahead of me and slightly to my left got my attention. More cracking as it moved. Through the trees I saw movement – long deer legs. A moment later a very big doe’s body appeared followed by her fawn. I saw them four more times as they circled around me. Who could blame them for not coming in? Skunk essence is horrid stuff. This was a first for me. I don’t often sit in a tree stand during deer season. I get cold so fast (normal body temp for me is 98*) that I sit in an enclosed stand when there’s one open. The deer I saw today are the first I’ve seen while sitting in a tree stand. I’m happy that I was able to move quietly and slowly enough that they didn’t know I was there. They were beautiful. I heard more cracks but didn’t see whatever it is that was walking.

It was a good day.

Robin Follette

About Robin Follette

Maine Press Association award winner, 2013. Robin's Outdoors, Bangor Daily News, third place in Sports blogs. I grew up with a fishing pole in my hand and have always loved the outdoors. From gardening to hunting and fishing, kayaking, camping, hiking and foraging, most of my time is spent outdoors. I teach outdoor skills as a volunteer instructor for Hooked On Fishing - Not On Drugs and Becoming an Outdoors-Woman. Pro-staff at The Limb Grip. My personal blog is here. I'm currently working on my first book, a collection of short stories based on my outdoors experiences.