2005 Maine Black Bear Hunts

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Week 1

The 2005 bear season opened with Paul Butler, Mike Hurley, Glenn Breymeir, Darren Wetzler and Eric and Kathy Greeley arriving in camp for their week of Maine bear hunting. Paul and Mike were both here for their third trip to hunt with us, and the rest of the folks were here for their first time. We began the week as we always do with a great feed of Maine lobster, target practice, and orientation. After all that pie and coffee were enjoyed as well as some sleep and bear hunting dreams for the next day.

Monday morning began with Mike, Paul and I off running baits and getting caught up on world affairs. We returned back to the lodge, loaded some bait buckets and enjoyed a great meal prepared by Nancy. This afternoon I lead Paul and Mike to their stands, then returned for Eric, Glenn and Darren. Kathy was here for some R & R while her husband Eric tried to take his 1st bear. I had great expectations for the afternoon as a front was to be moving in, with a couple days of rain to follow. I hoped to have a few tags filled on this day. It started off pretty well with Paul Butler getting me on cell phone after 5, with the news he had arrowed a bear. We spent an hour or so looking for some blood , but a heavy downpour had removed whatever blood their may have been. We then picked up Mike and learned he had seen 1 bear on his bait, but had elected to let it pass. The others all had not seen any bears on their baits.

Tuesday morning we headed to Paul's bait to try a daylight search in hopes of finding his bear. We found the arrow a short ways off, and I concluded after a couple of hours looking over the area, that his shot was a bit off, and the bear would recover. We then headed back for some lunch and to get ready to head out for another afternoon of bear hunting. On this day Mike saw 2 more bears, and everyone else saw nothing, but rain drops.

Wednesday began with rain. Eric opted to sit for the day, and made a valiant effort. The others opted to sit in the afternoon, but the heavy rain, remnants of hurricane Katrina made bear hunting tough. Mike saw 1 more bear, but everyone else drew a blank.

Thursday began with Mike, Paul and I running baits. We returned for some lunch and I left with Eric, Glenn and Darren. Mike and Paul would put themselves out, as they would be hunting a different area than the others. On this day Kathy joined us, as I had agreed to let her sit on a bear bait and hopefully see a bear. After we dropped the three hunters off, we ran a few baits, and ended a couple miles from where her husband was hunting on a different bait. I built a ground blind and we got situated for a wait in the woods. Kathy was reading a book and would look up from time to time to look at the bait. I opted to take a nap. Around 6:30 pm Kathy tapped me on the shoulder to ask if the shadow near the bait was a bear. I decided it wasn't, but out of the corner of my eye I saw a bear 20 feet away, but behind us. I motioned to Kathy who got to view her first wild bear only 20 feet away. it was a sow, and we also saw two cubs a short distance away in the woods. They were walking past us. A few moments later a large bear appeared directly in front of us. I was able to get a bit of video footage of this bear before it ran off into the woods. While this bear was in front of us a separate bear was feeding on the bait. This was a very good afternoon. Not only did Kathy get to experience sitting on a bear bait, but she got to see 5 separate bears. We then left to pick up Eric, Glenn and Darren. We learned that Eric saw 3 bears, Glenn saw a bear and Paul saw 3 bears. This day we saw a total of 12 bears.

Friday came with 17 bears having been seen, 1 bear shot at but no tags filled. On this day Eric decided to sit in the morning and come back for lunch. I dropped him off and then ran a few baits. I picked Eric up at 11 am and headed back to camp. He had seen nothing that morning. After lunch we headed back out. When I dropped Eric off it was evident by the lack of bait, that a large bear had visited mid day, while Eric was taking a break. I then put Glenn out. When I dumped the bait I caught movement and saw 2 cubs run off. I told Glenn to be aware that a couple of cubs were in the area, so be sure of your target. We then got Darren out to his bait. Darren had up to this point not seen any bears. I did my beast to encourage him, and then Kathy and I headed back in hopes of seeing a few more bears. Around 6 pm I was awoken from my nap by the sound of a single gun shot. I knew it had to be Darren from the direction of the sound, but waited for his call before we left. Twenty minutes later Kathy and I were at Darren's blind, and 10 minutes later Darren was kneeling next to his first bear. It was a beautiful 200 plus pound dry sow. His good shot placement had put it down in just over 30 yards. After we got his bear loaded in my truck, I check my cell phone and saw that Glenn had called several times. When we got to Glenn he was shaking. He had seen at least 6 bears, with 1 running past him at about 6 feet. The bear he shot was a nice dry sow. He had put it down about 15 feet from where he sat in his ground blind. After he killed his bear a sow with cubs came into the bait, and he was pretty shook up. We loaded his bear and headed out to find Eric waiting for us. He had not shot any bears, but had seen 10-11 different bears on his bait that afternoon. We later learned that Paul had seen 1 bear, and Mike saw nothing. For the week we had seen 36 different bears, counting the 5 Kathy and I had watched. We killed 2 of those bears, but everyone had a great week.

Week 2

The second week of bear camp arrived on Sunday with Ray Mills, Charles Samples, Tom Harris, Chris and Craig Conrad as well as Frank and Betty Dicesare joining us for the week. Ray and Charles were here for their 3rd and 2nd trips respectively, with the others here for their first times. We again had a great lobster feed, target practice and orientation. Followed by pie and coffee.

Monday morning arrived with me running a few baits and hurrying back to camp for lunch. After lunch I left with Frank, Tom and Chris. After getting them in their stands, I met Charles and took Ray and Craig with me after showing Charles where his bait was. I then got Ray and Craig situated and left to run a couple of baits. This day had no bear activity. We returned to camp. Ate a great meal, laughed at some of Ray's stories and got some sleep for the next day.

Tuesday started much the same as Monday, with me running a few baits and returning for lunch. On this day the only bear seen was by Tom. Tom has hunted bears in Canada and Alaska. He has seen large bears. He said this was a LARGE bear. Tom had started the week as a traditional archer. He had hopes of taking a bear with traditional archery equipment. This bear provided no shot opportunity for an archer. No one else had seen a bear. A couple of the new first time hunters began to wonder what they may need to do to improve their chances of seeing a bear. I addressed smoking and sitting still with some emphasis.

Wednesday found me running baits again. When I got back for lunch I hurried and ate, so we could get going. I learned that my traditional archer, Tom, had traded in his archery equipment for something more suited to the task of killing a large bear. A brand new Encore muzzleloader. I got a chuckle out of that. I got the hunters placed and left to run a few baits. This afternoon had a great deal of activity. When I picked up the guys I learned that Chris had shot a bear with his bow, Tom had shot the smaller of 2 bears he had seen, and Frank had seen a bear on his bait. Craig had watched a large bear as well, but it offered no shot for an archer. That evening we were unable to find either of the bears shot. We returned home for some food, and fitful sleep.

Thursday arrived to find Chris, Tom and I at Tom's bait trying to find his bear. It took some doing, but after an hour or so we had recovered his large sow. We took Tom's bear to get it tagged and get it in the cooler at home. Craig joined Chris and I as we went to look for Chris's bear. After some time we found a pretty good blood trail, but after an hour or more of hard tracking we went back to the lodge for some food, and to get the other hunters. After I got the others out to their stands. Chris and continued to track his bear. For the next 4 hours we tracked, until the trail disappeared. We then drove slowly to wait for Frank. As I approached we suddenly heard the report of Frank's rifle. He had shot at a large bear. We found a few small spots of blood, but we were unable to find his bear that evening. We returned to camp where I learned Ray had shot a bear. He and I headed off to get it. Once we had it on the truck, the rain began.

Friday morning, after the sun was up a bit we headed to Frank's bait site. We were not in the woods 5 minutes when Ray spotted the bear lying just off the trail we had been standing on not 12 hours earlier. We got the bear taken care of, and loaded it on the truck. We then headed to get it tagged and hurried to get it in the cooler next to Tom and Ray's at the lodge. This afternoon only Chris and Craig were still hunting. On this afternoon Craig shot his first bear. Frank joined me while I was going to check on the guys. We found Craig's bear, and got it loaded. We waited for Chris, who did not see anything this evening. So the week ended with 5 out of 5 hunters shooting bears, and 4 out of 5 hunters tagging a bear. A total of 9 bears were seen this week.

Saturday found us enjoying a great brunch, then getting Craig's bear taken care of for the ride back to Kentucky. The season was a short one for us. An apparent result of the bear referendum was a reduction by 50% in the number of bookings. So we only hunted 2 weeks. It was a very successful season, with over 50 bears seen by 10 hunters in two weeks. Also the large bear seen by Tom is still out there.

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