It often amazes me what people do in their stands while in wait. Some nap, some eat, some even make shadow puppets….not Jamie, nope not Jamie.
Jamie’s hunt began just like everyone elses, with optimism and excitement. He knew what he was waiting for and he was prepared for what to do when it got there…..boy did it take its time!!
As he sat scanning the forest around him for any sign of movement, he spotted something from the corner of his eye. I little red squirrel was climbing down the tree that was just six inches from his left. Slowly this little red fellow crept while keeping a watchful eye on Jamie. He made his way slowly onto the branch directly by his face and looked him in the eye. Jamie gave little notice at first until he realized that this critter wasn’t leaving…he was perfectly happy to size up this human that was hanging around one of ‘his’ trees!
There they both sat in silence for a minute or two looking eye to eye, sizing each other up. Finally Squeekules retreated and carried on down his tree to visit the forest floor. He scurried around the moss and even over to the bait to check out its bounty. Jamie watched as the little red fellow ran from one log to another and halfway up one tree and down to the next. It amazed him that his new buddy was always in view. It was really nice to have a distraction while waiting for his prey.
As the day came to a close and not a bear had been spotted, Jamie retreated down his tree to the sound of Squeekules chattering him a good bye.
The next day started much the same with that slow climb and area inspection. It didn’t take long for his little buddy to return and fill him in on the mornings events. There the unlikely pair sat, looking at the bait and scanning the horizon. The clouds started to close over and the winds picked up. As the cold rain began to fall, with one last look, Squeekules climbed his tree to find some dry cover. Jamie wasn’t so lucky. There he sat in the rain as the temperatures dropped faster and faster. It was cold and dark but he sat vigilant. By the end of the day, he was cold, wet and it had appeared that the bear had won again. He climbed down his stand and made his way out thinking about the time that he had spent up in that tree and his optimism was beginning to wane. Would it be just as cold tomorrow?
As the sun rose the third morning of the hunt, the temperature was still crisp and those mid forty chills were setting in. As he dressed for his hopefully short day in the stand, Jamie decided that he would change his weapon of choice. Retired was his bow and up next was his muzzle loader. He wanted to ensure that he would have a longer range if so much as one black ear made an appearance.
He made his way to his familiar perch and was happy to see that little Squeekules had already arrived. There they both sat for a couple of minutes scanning the horizon for any sign of interruption. The bait had not been hit and the area seemed quiet to any noise other than the rattle of the leaves. Squeekules gave one last look before heading out for his morning routines. Jamie sat in wait, the day stretching on. He could see the little critter bouncing from one tree to the next and back again. He seemed to be circling the bait and climbing the trees only to come back down again. As Jamie stood to stretch his legs, here came Squeek, right up his tree and right beside him. He seemed to just be checking in and making sure Jamie wasnt leaving his post and as Jamie sat again, that little squirrel jumped right onto his leg and ran down back to the bark of the tree! Boy this little buddy was getting bold.
The day was dragging on and his friend had decided to take up space all over Jamie’s tree. He would leave to take care of his tasks and return to keep Jamie company, at times right behind his head and even right behind his back and against the tree. The company was welcomed and the stand was becoming more bearable.
As his attention began to wane from his bait, Jamie began to search for his camera. He desperately was hoping to catch a picture of his new friend. As he shuffled through his bag, Squeek had began to make his way back to his tree and climbed up halfway up only to be interrupted. Something was there….it was close and the squirrel knew it. As Jamie’s attention was focused on that camera, Squeekules had run to the east side of the bait. He made his way halfway up the tree and sat firm on a branch watching the trail. Suddenly his tail stood firm and Squeek gripped his tree as he let out a loud chattering war cry. Jamie looked to his direction and there it was….
That bear ambled in slowly but determined directly below Squeek. That squirrel stayed braced to the branch and looked to Jamie for acknowledgement. The two friends knew that the time had come. The bruin was within range of the bait and began to deviate directly toward Jamie’s tree! With a knowing look to the branches, Jamie’s eyes met those of this boar, its massive head making those beady eyes look even more pointed. His hands held steady on his gun as the bear slowly turned and began back to the bait. He had decided that Jamie was not a threat and his need for a snack was much more pressing.
A shot rang out and Squeek made a hasty retreat as that bear took its final breath. That was it, the hunt was over and Jamie was proud of his 450lb harvest. As Jamie brought his bear back and spoke of the hunt, it seemed that the hunt itself was a minor detail in the story of his unlikely friendship with a little red warrior that spent his days keeping him company and making that wait BEARable!