Caslin’s Quest: The tail of her first bear

My first experience with Bear hunting took place 5 years earlier when my mom drew a Bear tag and hunted with dogs. I remember it being fun and exciting, but most of all I remember petting all the dogs after they got mom her bear. Now 5 years later mom drew another Bear tag and donated it to me because Wisconsin just past the 10 year old mentors hunting program. I was all ready to use my Crossbow, I have a heart condition that makes it so that I cannot take any recoil because a gun that kicks hard could hurt me real bad or worse. I had been practicing with my Crossbow since I got it for Christmas.

I thought this is going to be so much fun and so exciting and it was but WOW it was a lot of work too. First my mom, dad exchange sister from Germany Luisa and I went to pick up Bear Bait. The guy that was selling it was very nice and gave me a bunch of free bait too!! I picked out Granola, strawberry, toppings, Sugar cones, Chocolate Frosting and Gummy Bears. The Granola and ice cream cones were in real, real big boxes and we had to dig the cones and granola out to put into drums so that it would not spoil. Well Dad and Luisa did because I had a cast on my hand and a broken finger. Our Friend Roger then said that we could put Baits out on his land. So we got some hollow logs and went to look around. We started out with 3 Baits. One got hit right away. We started driving there almost every day to bait. It was almost an hour long drive and it was a lot of work. Dad would carry the bait in and I would tip the log back up, put the bait in it and spray the scent while dad checked the game camera. Then dad would pick up the big rock and put it back on the bait. We had a lot of fun looking at the pictures on the computer from the game cameras. We then set up a 2 person ladder stand about 15 yards from the bait. The bears and there were a lot of them kept right on coming in. The all of a sudden they stopped coming in.

Roger started talking to his friends and found more places for us to try. We started 3 more baits. WOW and I thought it was a lot of work before now we had 6 baits that we visited almost every day. Roger went to them on the days that we couldn’t. There were a lot of days that none of the baits were getting hit. But we kept going and I kept spraying the scent. Dad also started looking for a gun for me just in case we had to hunt over a bait that did not have a stand real close to it. Our friend Tom Gilbert from Gilberts Gun exchange in Elk Mound had an idea to build me a gun that would not Kick but could still take a bear. He built me an AR-15 in 7.62×39 that had a JP Enterprises Recoil Eliminator on it. I love my new gun and it does not kick at all. I started practicing with it and even practicing turning the safety off quietly.

Then dad hurt his shoulder. So he could not pick up the big rocks anymore. Roger said not to worry that he would check all the baits every day. We would go with once or twice a week because dad had therapy and I had school when Roger was usually checking the baits. But he called everyday to let us know what was happening. He said one Bait that we called the Long Walk bait was getting hit almost every day, but only by one Bear. When we started looking at the pictures of the bear we noticed that he had a bunch of Scars on his right shoulder. It looked like he got into a fight or something. So I named him Scar. Once the hunting Season opened we sat over Scars Bait. I had to use my gun there because there was not stand and we were in a Ground blind to far from the Bait for my Crossbow. We sat every day we could, but no Scar. He always seemed to come in after we left, but one day he came in while we were leaving and he woofed at us. That was real freaky!! Then he stopped coming in for a while. Roger got another 2 person ladder stand and set it over Scars bait while Scar was gone. A friend called and said we could sit over his bait, because he shot a bear a couple of days ago but still had some coming in. We drove almost 2 hours to get there and dad forgot to bring the Bug thing. OH MY GOSH the mosquitoes were bad real, real, real bad. We sat there all day and still nothing. Back to Scar. While sitting in the new stand Scar came in. Dad handed me my gun and I started aiming. I turned the safety off and was ready to pull the trigger. But I could not feel it because of my glove. Dad pulled my glove off and I started aiming at Scar again. Then all of a sudden he ran back into the brush. We could still hear him walking around us. I put the safety back on and said to dad “Why are you shaking so bad?” Dad laughed and said he got nervous. Then I looked to the side and seen another Bear. This was a real big one and it had a big white V on its chest. But it walked into the corn field. Then just as it started getting darker we heard it coming into the bait. It came right under our tree, but by then it was too dark to see him. Dad called Roger and told him to bring the 4wheeler all the way into the bait because we had 2 bears here and could not see either of them. When we got back to the truck I called mom because I was so excited to have seen the bears.

The next day we sat in another stand because a bear there had come in during day light a few times. Once there we seen some deer. We watched them for a while and then dad said Caslin look. There was a bear coming into the bait. I picked up the gun and started getting ready. The Bear sat down and started scratching I told dad that the red dot was blinking at me. Then he laid down then sat up and started scratching again. This went on forever and he just wouldn’t turn broad side. Finely after 3 minutes he stared walking to the bait. But then he sat down behind a bush and started scratching again. The Red dot was still blinking. Another 2 minutes and he was up and walking to the bait. I aimed at him and when he stopped I pulled the trigger. Bang He turned and ran into the corn. I told dad I was shaking. Both our ears were ringing. We kept listening for the death moan but didn’t hear it. Dad called Roger and I called mom. Roger was there so fast!!! We went and looked for blood and hair where I shot. But did not see anything so we went up to the corn field, Dad told me I had to wait by the 4wheeler because Bears can be dangerous in corn fields. I waited and waited then I heard them coming back. Dad said I have good news and bad news. He said the bad news is you missed. The good news is you missed clean and did not hit the bear at all. I was so upset because I never missed when practicing. Dad explained that everyone misses and that I held the gun up for a long time plus with the red dot blinking at me that made things even harder. I still felt bad. When I got home the next day dad said we had to go to the range to practice. When we got there he pulled out my gun and there was a new scope on it!! No more red dot or batteries. I nick named that Bear Kitty Cat because he still had 8 lives left. We got a lot more pictures of him at the bait, but it was a few days before he came back.

We hunted for Scar the next two days. On the second day we seen a bear coming in. It was not Scar, but I didn’t care I was going to try to take him. I got the Gun up and waited from him to come out of the brush. But he was real spooky and kept leaving and coming back. The one time he left he ran back and we did not know why. That was until we seen Scar coming in. Scar went right to where that Bear was. I thought he was going to leave but then he came back into the bait. I got ready and waited for him to stop, as soon as he did I pulled the trigger and Bang he went running. We heard him running through the woods and then into the corn. We listened and heard something but it sounded more like a Woof then a death moan. After about 10 minutes dad went to look for Blood. He looked and looked then came back and said “Hotshot we have Blood!” I was so excited!!! He helped me out of the stand and Roger came flying in on the 4wheeler. Dad said because Scar went into the Corn field I had to stay with the 4wheeler again. I waited and waited and waited then I heard the corn crashing as something was coming towards me real fast. My heart started pounding and I though Scar was going to come running out. Then I heard dad say where are you Hotshot? I said did you find him? He came out of the corn and said come one we have to go look over here. We started walking. I was in front. Then dad yelled for Roger. Roger said this way. I started walking fast and faster trying to get to Rogers voice. All of a sudden I stepped into an opening and there was a big black bear laying there and Roger had his hand out saying “Good Job!! You got your Bear!!” I was just like WOW I got him I got Scar. I called mom and told her. She screamed Ya so loud it hurt my ear. Dad and Roger showed me that I hit him right where I was supposed to. Right in the front shoulder.

Now the work started again. We did not want to wreck more of the Farmers Corn so Roger went and got a pole and Dad and Roger tied Scar to the pole and carried him out to the 4wheeler. They had to take a lot of breaks even though it was only 30 yards to get out of the corn. Once we got him out and loaded up I started calling everyone and telling them. Then the pictures started and more and more people that helped us came to see Scar and I. We thanked everyone and had a lot of fun talking to them. I cannot believe how many people were involved in helping us find places to hunt, letting us use their stands, giving us more or new bait to try or just checking in with Roger to see how I was doing. They were like a big family even though I had never met many of them before.

All in all I found that Bear Hunting was a lot harder then Turkey hunting like I was use to. With all the Baiting and sitting for days and days and days, but I loved it. I got to see so many neat things and learned a lot about hunting and the woods. I know it will be a long time before I get another Bear tag, but I can’t wait. I think I will try to hunt with Dogs next time just so I get to see for myself how that works and because I love dogs. I know it will still be a lot of hard work and I still might not get a Bear, but it will still be fun and I will still make a lot of new friends.

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