Sunday dawned as another beautiful day in Ontario. It was cool, with a hint of fall in the air. Louie noted that the earliest hunters were seeing bears was about 4:00, so there wasn't any real hurry to get out.
While we were waiting and "chewin the fat", two bears came in from Louie's out camps. That made the camp success rate so far, 11 bear for 13 hunters. We are hoping to add to that score soon.
We had some trailer and quad trouble, so we didn't get out as early as we wanted to. But by 3:30 we were all in our stands. Bob's bait had been hit by bears after we had left on Saturday, as had David's and Jim's.
There was a brisk breeze blowing from the southwest, making it hard to hear anything. At about 5:30 the breeze dropped off to nothing, and the forest was still, but for the occasional loon call, or jay squawking.
All was quite until about 6:45, when the wind started to rise a bit and turned around so that it was out of the northwest. It wasn't long before we could hear the sound of thunder. All of us expected to get wet, the thunder was getting awfully close. Jim, whose stand was the farthest north of any of us, did eventually even get a few drops of rain.
But things began to pick up for Bob and the worry of rain was quickly stripped away.
"It was the jays that alerted me first. This was my second day, and already I had spent 10 hours in a tree stand, and I was wondering where all the bears were. The jays started going nuts, down in the creek bottom and on the ridge across the creek . I thought I heard a twig snap. Over the next half hour or so, I would hear soft noises in the creek bottom that alerted me that we probably had a bear coming in. I heard what sounded like the grunting of a pig, a sound often heard around bears. I was sure I was about to see my first bear."
"I was sitting, and had just taken a swig of water, and when I looked up I could see the snout of a bear, coming in from the creek. I was considering standing to give myself a better shot, when I noticed the cubs. At first I determined that they were twins, and they came right into the bait barrel and started to feed. Mom on the other hand stayed in the high weeds and was clearly concerned. She kept her nose in the wind, closely checking all the scents in the air. My stand was perfectly positioned for the wind. My scent was blowing away from her and the bait. But she wasn't taking any chances. The cubs were unconcerned, and since Mom didn't say no, they came right into the bait barrel. They looked to me like they were this years cubs, but Louie upon seeing our tape was sure they were last years cubs, so these were about a year and a half old. According to Louie, 'If she had only one cub, it would be nearly her size by now, but with three mouths to feed, they all grow a little slower.' I could have watched those cubs for hours."
"When glancing back at the sow, I could see one more cub at her feet. That's three! And sure enough, the third cub joined his siblings at the bait barrel."
"After five minutes the sow was satisfied enough about the safety of the area, to come in to the bait. But even then she circled the area, testing the wind a every step. When she was satisfied, she stood up and grabbed the meat sack, and she was off to the races, with the cubs at her heals. She was a real nice bear. Probably as big as the bear David had seen the night before."
"Shooting was never an option. Taking this bear would have caused the death of all four. So, I sat there relaxed and taking pictures of these four bear. I marveled at how cautious the sow was and how content those cubs where to let her be the look-out. "
"The were probably at the bait for a total of five to seven minutes, before she grabbed the bait and was gone.
Jim, once again didn't see anything but a couple of pine martins chasing each other around. David did see a bear, but that is a whole different story.