Got home last night. No bears were harmed. Had a blast. Learned a lot as well. Got close on a couple occasions. I will do a full write up tomorrow and share a bunch of pics.
We hunted in Superior National Forest about 12 miles east of Echo lake. Superior National Forest is 750 sq miles. Somewhere around 450,000 acres. Our track to check baits was about 30 miles round trip.
Hit the road Friday Sept 3rd at about 7pm. A buddy of mine that I shoot 3d with decided to tag a long. He wasn’t drawn this year but wanted to go so if he is drawn next year he would have his bearings. Drive was about 14 hours up to Buyck, MN.
We arrived about 8:30am at the cabin. We had 6 guys total in camp. 3 of us had tags. In camp was Me, my buddy Marcus, my wife’s BIL Joe, his dad Mike, my nephew Michael, and a buddy of Joe’s Brian. The cabin we were staying in is Joe’s family cabin. They have had it for about 65 years.
We got our stuff unloaded and went to check baits. It is about a 20 mile drive into the Superior National Forest to get to where we would park. The drive was mostly on dirt Forest service roads. The last 1/2 mile was basically an ATV trail. Barely wide enough for the truck. At the parking spot was where all the ATVs were staged as well as bait supplies.
We ran all baits and checked cameras. All but one bait was hit and cameras showed good activity right before dark. I set my stand at one of the baits.
No sleep and the long drive was paying its toll so Marcus and I decided it would be better to get a nap instead of hunting that evening. We headed back to the cabin and took a couple hour nap while the others went to the stands. Nothing was seen that night. Each evening after supper we spent a couple hours playing cards and enjoying some cold beverages then hit the rack.
Sunday the plan was to leave the cabin about 10am and go check baits and make a decision where we would hunt. We packed some sandwiches so we wouldn’t need to come back to the cabin until after the hunt. It took about 3 1/2 hours to run all 8 baits. We estimated that it was about 25-30 miles round trip to run all baits. The trails were pretty rugged with several beaver dams and marsh areas we had to cross.
After running baits I decided to go to the stand I had hung the night before. Grabbed the recurve and headed in. It was a good decision. At 5:30 I had the first bear come in towards the bait. He was a smaller bear about 100-150 lbs. He never came all the way into the bait but did hang around for about half an hour. He would circle around then lay down for a few minutes and then circle again. He eventually wandered off. About 15 minutes later a bigger bear maybe 250 lb came out of the swamp area and headed my way. Once again he never committed to the bait and stayed about 40yds away. He stayed in the area casually feeding on browse and laying around for almost an hour. He jumped up and spooked off all of the sudden. I had no clue what spooked him until about 5 minutes later a big bear appeared about 80 yards away. He was probably over 300 lb. he never came any closer than 60 yards and was still in the area when dark came. I snuck down and eased my way back to the 4-wheeler hoping I didn’t blow him out.
Monday started about the same. We woke up ate breakfast and then packed some sandwiches and headed to check baits. It was on and off raining all day. Made for a very wet day. After running baits and grabbing a sandwich headed back to the same stand with my recurve. At about 6:15 I spotted a bear heading my way. He circled the bait staying in the thick brush. I would lose sight of him for a while then he would reappear. At one point a raven got pissed and went after him. He climbed a tree about 20ft up and hung out for a few minutes. The tree was only about 40 yards from the stand so I had a pretty good show. He climbed back down after a while and stayed in the brush. About 7:30 I lost sight of him and never saw him again. Another close call but nothing else came in.