In the sweltering heat both men knew that they might be in for a long, uncomfortable sit. Both resigned to the fact that being scent locked and camouflaged entailed long sleeves, pants and boot that would be working double time!
Luke settled in confident that at some point during his stay, he would be bringing home what he had come all this way for.
As the mid day and early evening came on, Terry (the guide) had come in from a long day on the baits. It seemed much longer than usual and I asked him how it went.
“Well, we have a bear down.” Right away, the smile was over me, a ‘bear down’ is an outcome we as outfitters strive for and work painstakingly at before the hunter even arrives. Terry too was pleased.
“I was just on my way back up from the northern end baits when I saw a white truck in my rearview. I recognized it and pulled on over. Lucas was all in a mess, hot and concerned because he knew he had a bear down and he had no idea where it was.” Apparently in this 90 degree plus heat, Luke had taken his bear early (11 am) and had spent the last two hours tracking to no avail.
“Just by luck, I happened to be coming back just as he was coming to get me. He needed that bear tracked and that’s what we did. We went back to where the shot was landed and to where she bedded down for a few moments.” Luke was so happy that he had made contact and saw her ‘down’ that he let out a shout of excitement and that “YES!!!” quickly turned into a NO! as that girl got up with all of her might and ran.
“We found the trail and it tapered off as we went on. We cleared the direct line and went back to the bait to regroup. I decided to check the small ravine to the right and Luke, the upper ridgeline to the left. It didnt take long before I zoned in on one very small drop of blood.” Terry’s eyes narrowed as he relived the moment.
“I was able to flag Luke over and we were hot on the trail!”
Hot was right! Tracking in the mid day sun at 90+ degree temperatures was painstaking and uncomfortable.
“We were both amazed that there was so little blood. He swore he heard a distinctive death moan and a final grunt….he KNEW she was down. We walked for about ten minutes and FINALLY!!! there she was, completely laid out under a small covering of brush.”
He smiled and you could see he was content that not only she was found but they could both get out of that blistering hot sun…..after she was field dressed. Luke took no time in getting to work and analyzing his shot and finalizing the autopsy and arrow path. He had deduced that he had run high but had hit both lungs. A good, clean shot that had dropped her quickly. Both men had a good laugh when they noted she had only gotten about 65 yards from the bait but was cunning in her route to be elusive.
“He did a good job. He was an efficient hunter and he reaped his reward. He stayed behind to wait for Quinn to come off of his stand. They should be in soon.” And with that, Terry was off preparing for tommorrows bait run.
I watched the road anxiously for some time, measuring tape and camera ready for whatever was to come……The clock seemed to drag as I waited. 20 minutes turned into 2 hours and I was slightly concerned. That sow needed to be processed asap, where were they?
Within minutes the white truck ambled up the road. As they slowed I greeted Luke with all the congratulations. He sprung from the truck and pointed…..”We brought you two for the price of one!!”
They SURE did!! Quinn had downed a massive boar! The truck bed was hanging lower with all the excess weight.
“RIGHT ON!” I couldn’t hold back my excitement for the two of them.
Now came the real work! Pictures, measurements and processing! Quinn had shared that the hunt was relatively quick and uneventful.
“There was a snap of a twig and here he came. You know he owned this house. I barely let him reach the bait and I drew back and…….that was it! 20 yards and he was down.” He made a point of looking to Lucas with a devious grin.
“I have to say, I was a bit worried. I shot a bear before and he made the distinctive moan but we tracked and tracked and never found it, I was worried that this may be a repeat but there he was, down and done!”
It was a great night of stories including Shawn’s face to face encounter with his boar (that will be a story best saved for later), laughs and WORK! As it was the very first time any of them caped a bear, all hands were on deck and they were all quick studies as I laid out the technique. We made short time of Luke’s 225lb sow and Quinn and the rest of the crew were able to tidy up his 410lb boomer and hit the hay by 4 am.
Stay tuned for the next chapter of the Westpfahl’s Canadian wilderness adventure…….be assured there WILL be one!!