Welcome to TheOhioOutdoors
Wanting to join the rest of our members? Login or sign up today!
Login / Join

1995 Pa. Bear Hunt,,, A Trip Down Memory Lane...

Fletch

Active Member
Supporting Member
2,109
1,486
57
#1
Since Ric mentioned how mounts bring back memories, I figured I'd take you guy's back 29 years ago and go down memory lane on the hunt that produced my first Pa. Black Bear... So pour yourself a cup of coffee and let's see how good my memory is...

Oct. and Nov. 1995 found me chasing my dream: to harvest a Pa. Black Bear... First thing on the agenda was to find a fairly remote area of state land that had a big swamp (bear's love thick nasty swamp's).. Second thing would be to find a food source (acorns, beech nuts etc) no baiting allowed in Pa. After pouring over topo maps I found my state owned land which contained a large swamp... So one day I laced up my boot's and planned a day of scouting this area out... As I walked a ridge that ran next to this swamp I was greeted by acorn's raining out of the tree's, they covered the ground. It didn't take long to find some fresh piles of bear shit... No need to go farther, so I picked out three stand sites (myself and my two brothers) approx. 300-400 yds apart staggered up and down the ridge... My stand would be the farthest out the ridge, this way in the pre-dawn darkness on opening morning I could drop them off...

Sun night prior to opening morning found us spending the evening in a cabin we had rented for 3 day's... As I laid in bed trying to sleep, I was like a kid before Christmas wondering what Santa would bring us the next morning... Thinking back to my scouting trip, needless to say my ecpectations were high... We awoke in the morning greeted by several inches of fresh snow... After parking my brothers Bronco we began our long walk in (why do I always gotta walk far in). After dropping my brothers off I reached my spot and began the wait for daylight and the sound of that first shot in the distance... I noticed the snow was a little crusty on top, so anything walking would be heard before seen... Shortly after 7AM I heard what sounded like a herd of deer coming towards me near the bottom of the ridge, as the sound got closer my brain registered "BEAR"... So I grabbed my 35 Whelen and picked an opening where I thought the bear would pass through... Shouldered, safety off, and steadied against the tree I waited for black to appear in the scope.. I shoot with both eyes open, so I knew just when he'd be entering the scope... Just when his shoulder entered the scope I touched the trigger and the 35 Whelen barked sending a 200 grain bullet on its way... The bear immediately made a hard right into the swamp... Then all went quiet... I thought: that's odd as I heard him coming from several hundred yards yet when he went into the thick nasty stuff it gets stone quiet??? Maybe 20 minutes later I see my brother headed my way to investigate the shot... So I replayed the action for him and we felt I gave the bear enough time, lets walk down and see if I hit him... So walking down I stepped off a little over 100 steps till we found his track's and the snow painted red... So I'm figuring roughly 100 yds... We found him maybe 20-30 yds inside the swamp... Bullet hit just behind the shoulder and exited other side resulting in a double lung hit... Now the work was about to begin... I knew he was getting mounted and I'm not dragging him to ruin fur... So we got sturdy dead sapling and tied his legs together and slipped the sapling in between legs to carry him... Soon as we would pick him up and try to get him up on our shoulders his legs would slide together and make it impossible to carry as he would sway back and forth like a big bowl of jello… So we took off our belts (luckily we all have over a 40 inch waist) to go around bear and pole to steady it... Problem solved... However now our pants were falling down... So carry our guns,coats etc 40 yd's or so, put them down pull up pants, then go get bear and carry bear past guns etc. pull up pants and keep repeating till we got back out to vehicle... Took us around 6 hours to get bear out... When hunting bears always go prepared with straps etc cause you might be in for one heck of a job getting one out... After checking in bear we went back to the cabin ate and loaded up on aspirin for the tired aching muscles and went to bed... Next morning we slept in and we all agreed "never again"... Yeh ok... Next year opening morning found us in same spot... Shortly after 8 I hear my brother shoot... Here we go again... This time we came prepared with straps etc... LOL.

So as you can see: Even 29 years later I remember it like it happened yesterday... Oh... Remember I was waiting to hear the first shot on opening morning?? Well mine was first...
 

Fletch

Active Member
Supporting Member
2,109
1,486
57
#5
Great recap of one episode of your hunting history. Curious which county you took him in. Back in the mid 70's when I deer hunted in PA seems most guys bear hunted up around Potter County.
Dick, I shot him in Pike County.. When I started deer hunting in Illinois around 2003 it ended my bear hunting in Pa cause Im still out in Illinois. Pa might be having an early bear season for inlines in Oct. So I may go hunt the same spot I shot this bear prior to heading out to Illinois..