After Dad and I got back from hunting black bears in Alberta, my Mom shocked me at a comment she made. As Dad and I were telling her about hims hunt and harvesting 2 giant black bear (being his first and second bear of his hunting career), Mom looked straight faced at the both of us and said I’m next, I want to harvest my first one. Dad and I both stood looking at her with what I would only describe as a deer in the headlights look. Did we really hear her just say she wanted to hunt, and hunt bears? Yes she did. Both of us were excited and for me, it was time to plan a trip where Mom had the chance to match a bear of Dad 7 foot caliber.
I got a hold of Brad and said Mom wants to shoot a bear and I want to bring her up to Saskatchewan for her first attempt at bear hunting. Brad said bring her along and we will see what we can do. Knowing the size of bears Brad had, I knew it wasn’t a long shot at finding a 7 foot giant, but it would take some time and a patient hand. The day came and we were off on a 1000 mile road trip to get up to Amyot Lake Outfitters and Mom’s quest for a giant bear. Mom had never bear hunted and to put her in a blind, ground level was going to give her a first hand look at baiting bears.
Day one of the hunt was an exciting one. Knowing Mom was in the blind with me and lots of curious bears around made me a little nervous. The blind we were in kept getting knock down every night by a sow with 2 cubs. So knowing this, I was on my toes. As we get situated, I looked behind us and all I can see is a black dot in the timber line. Bear coming our direction and by the looks of it, coming right at us. Sure enough the bear was on us in seconds. As I leaned to show Mom the bear, I realized the bear was only 2 feet from blind. Next thing I know the bear sticks his head in the blind to look at us. I have my pepper spray ready and this bear literally sniffs my finger as it is trying to detect us. Good thing we sprayed down with our Scentblocker spray. The bear decides to leave the blind and go to the bait. Mom’s eyes are the size of oranges and I knew she was hooked on bear hunting. Rest of the day was pretty uneventful with a couple more bears coming to the bait. Nothing big enough for Mom to shoot so we leave the blind for the night.
Day two was the same as the first with a couple smaller bears coming in. Mom was getting more and more comfortable being able to control her nerves and understanding what a shooter bear was going to look like. Just as we were going to leave the blind for the night, I spotted something coming toward us in the timber. Was this going to be the big 7 footer we were looking for. As my Zeiss binos were focusing on the bear, I realize quickly this was him. This bear was an easy 7 foot bear. In the blink of an eye, he was in the open and both Mom and I were motionless. He came in and sniffed around and was gone. No shot at all, and we were both just saddened. Nice thing we knew he was in the area and the chances of him coming back in was good.
Day three and both of us were ready to hit the blind. I showed the guys the bear and we all knew this was the monster we were after. Mom and I hit the blind and were ready to see him. We sat all day with only 1 bear coming to the bait. Anthony as we called him kept coming in and out of the bait all day. Mom was in awe of him and she kept talking about how cool this little bear was. Just before all hope was lost that the big guy wouldn’t show up, I saw something in the timber. Is this the giant bear we had seen the night before. As I told Mom I see a bear, her eyes locked on him as well. The giant bear come out of the timber and indeed it was him. Mom began to ready herself in hopes he would give her the shot. Mom had her Carbon Express Crossbow ready, and now it was a waiting game. As seconds turned into minutes, both of us were on on toes wondering if he would give her the perfect shot. The monster black bear fed around the bait for close to 20 minutes and finally turned broadside for the shot. 16 yards from the largest black bear my Mom had ever seen. With a quick shot placement lesson, it was time to make the all important shot. I don’t know who was more nervous, Mom having to make the shot, or me wanting the shot to be perfect for her. I zoomed in on the bear and said “Take him Mom, Smoke him”. Without hesitation Mom squeezed the trigger and it was done. Perfect shot and the bear was gone. Tears were falling and a lot of trying to compose ourselves. Mom did it, she smoked one of the largest bears I have ever seen. Great ending to a Mother and son experience and one I will never forget!!