2007 Maine Black Bear Hunts

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Week 1

The first week of the 2007 bear season found us meeting eight new bear hunters and guests. Bill and Gary Casper, a father and son from Pennsylvania and New York, came to hunt bear over bait in Maine. Another father and sons group made up of Randy Sr., Randy Jr., and Brian Dawson from, Virginia, and New Jersey came for their annual family trip to try their hand at hunting bears. A husband and wife that Nancy met in the Detroit area last February at a Safari Club International banquet, Ray and Kim McVeigh, arrived for their first archery bear hunt. Last but not least Oscar Basso from New York, came here after nearly a year of anticipation to hunt black bear for the first time. This group of newcomers arrived on Sunday to a Maine lobster dinner, orientation and finally weapon proficiency. Then they had to wait until Monday to actually get a chance to hunt.

Monday found everyone anxious to hunt. After a great lunch served up by Nancy, I took the first of the hunters out to their stands. I then returned to get the rest of the hunters and get them in place at all of the bait sites. Around 4:30 my cell phone rang and Brian Dawson informed me he had shot a bear. I headed out to his stand and in short order found his bear, not 25 yards from the bait. A well placed shot had quickly put the bear down. We dressed off the bear, loaded it on the truck and went to the tagging station. Once the bear was tagged and in the walk in cooler, we waited until approximately 6 pm, when Brian and I went for a short drive to check on two hunters without cell phones. As I passed by Gary's site, I saw him walking up the road. He had just shot a bear. After carefully examining the area, it was determined that nerves had gotten the better of Gary, and his shot barely grazed the bear. He got in the truck and we headed to the lodge to drop him off and pick up the rest of the hunters. Once everyone was gathered up and back at the lodge we learned that Oscar had seen a bear in the brush that would not step into the open, Randy Sr. had seen 3 different bears and everyone else's afternoon had been fairly quiet, except for Ray, who had the opportunity to film a fisher on his site.

Tuesday found us gathered around the dining room table eating a hearty lunch in preparation for day two of the hunt. We got everyone out to the stands and I headed back to camp to wait for the phone to ring. Around 4 pm, Randy Sr. called to say he had shot a bear. His son, Brian wanted to ride with me as we looked for his dad's bear. Once again, however, nerves had won out, and Sr.'s shot was a bit off, and the bear ran off into the dense swamp, with a minor wound. While Brian and I were heading out to look for Sr.'s bear, Randy Jr. had called to say he had shot a monster. I told him we would be there ASAP. Sr., Brian and I arrived at Randy Jr.'s stand, where he told us what had happened. I went to the bait site, and just behind the bait, laid a bear of about 350 lbs. A very nice way for a first time bear hunter to start out. We dressed off the bear, and as a group effort carried it out to the truck. It was now time to gather up the remaining hunters, and head back to camp. Once home I learned that Ray had seen and filmed a bear, his wife Kim had watched a sow and cub on her site and Gary could hear a bear popping its jaws at him on his site.

Wednesday found us gathered around the dining room table once again in preparation for a long afternoons bear hunt. Today Kim watched a bear from her stand, and Gary's bear he had shot at on Monday returned to antagonize him for the afternoon, as it was very alert, and he could not get a shot. Everyone else's afternoon was quiet.

Thursday found us eating a great noon meal in preparation for the hunt. Today we were going to move to some different stands to see how a change of scenery might help. Today Bill got to see his first bears on bait as a sow and two cubs were there when he got to the bait site. Gary's bear came back again as well, and again did not allow him to get a shot. Ray watched a sow and cub on his stand, but Oscar and Kim did not see anything.

Friday found a change in the weather. It had rained, looked like it had stopped raining, but caught the hunters who did not bring raingear to the stands with them. Two hunters had to call the it a day early, as the cold rain had soaked them through. Right at dark, Bill saw a bear on his site, but without enough light to make a good shot, he passed on taking a questionable shot. We all headed back to the lodge to have a great steak dinner to finish out the week. We killed two bears for the week. We saw at least 20 bears out of the 8 hunters, and 100% of the hunters had at least seen a bear on their bait. We began the week with eight first time bear hunters, after many hours in stand, they are all experienced and ready for many more bear hunting experiences.

Week 2

The second week of bear season arrived with the arrival of some old friends and new friends. Steve Craig from Arizona, came back this season bringing two of his sons, Chris and Zach as well as a long time friend of his from Indiana, Larry Hall. Todd Mathews from Texarkana, TX came back to try to arrow a bear once again, as did Mike Hurley formerly of Pennsylvania, and now a Maine resident. Rounding out the group were Tom and Julie Nagy of Ohio were here for Tom's first bear hunt. After enjoying a lobster and chicken dinner we had orientation and weapon proficiency and then finally a slice of Nancy's pie rounded out the day.
Monday arrived and as I always do I headed out to run some bear baits, and returned in time to join the guys for lunch. I then headed out to get all seven of the guys out to their stands for their first afternoon of the bear hunt. Around 5:30 p.m. my cell phone rang and I headed out to meet Steve who had shot a bear with a cross bow. We picked up the trail of the bear, and even with years of bear tracking under my belt as well as years of guiding experience in the west that Steve possessed, the bear eluded us and escaped. Steve and I picked up the rest of the guys and headed back to the lodge. We learned that he was not the only one to see bears at his site that day. Larry had watched 2 bears, Zach had seen 3 bears, Chris had seen 2 bears and Todd had watched 4 different bears that afternoon.

Tuesday we headed out after lunch for another great afternoon of bear hunting. After getting the guys out to the stands, Steve and I headed back to where he had shot his bear to spend more time trying to sort out the bears trail. Around 4 p.m. my cell phone rang and Steve's son Zach indicated he had shot a bear. Upon arriving at the scene, I quickly located the arrow and determined that the shot did not hurt the bear and Zach should get back in his stand and finish out the afternoon in case another bear came along. Right at dark Todd called to say he had shot a bear, and watched it slowly walk off into the woods. When Steve and I got there Todd informed us that he had heard the bear's death moan about 60 yards away. We immediately picked up the blood trail, only to loose it in about 12 feet, as the bear completely stopped bleeding. The arrow shaft indicated the bear was hit through the lungs, and the death moan said it was down, but with darkness approaching, and no blood to go on, I opted to return in the morning to find this bear. When we got in the truck to go pick up the rest of the guys we learned from Todd that he had seen a total of 5 bears that afternoon.

We arrived at Chris's stand and I headed in with him to see if I could find a blood trail at his bait, as he had shot at a bear right at the end of shooting time. There was no blood immediately visible, so again I opted to return in the morning. Chris had seen 5 bears at his site as well on this day. Mike saw 3 bears, and Larry saw 4. Tom still was waiting to see his first bear, as he again had no visitors at his bait. We headed back to the lodge with Chris and Todd in for a long night of restless sleep.

On Wednesday morning Chris, Todd and I headed out to look for bears. We first topped at Chris's stand and spend 2 hours there, searching and searching. We found no indication that he had hit a bear, and I believe he completely missed the bear with his .45 caliber muzzle loader. We then headed to odd's stand. After circling and circling with no one cutting a blood trail, I started a grid search pattern with the guys to cover every square inch of ground. After about an hour of this, Todd walked up on a nice large boar bear he had shot the night before. We dressed off the bear and headed out to get it tagged, and get back for lunch.

After lunch I headed out with the guys to get them out to their stands. Everyone was excited as we had a nice bear in the cooler and over the first two days of hunting a total of 30 bears had been seen by the 7 hunters in camp. Everyone settled into their stands and waited anxiously. My phone did not ring on this day, so I picked up the guys and learned that Mike had seen 1 bear that he passed on, and Larry had seen 1 bear as well. Everyone else had uneventful afternoons. We headed back to the lodge for some food, fellowship and sleep.

Thursday arrived with me getting up to run some baits in the morning. After lunch we headed out to the stands. Several of the guys were moving to different stands, but Larry was going to hunt his stand, as he had confidence in it. After getting everyone out to their stands, I met Todd on the road,, as he had hopes of getting some bear video. He and I headed in to a ground blind, and he watched the bait, and apparently I slept. Around 6 p.m. my cell phone vibrated waking me up. Todd and I then headed out to meet Tom, who had shot a bear. When we got there, it did not take long to find the bear, that had only run 20 yards or so, before dropping. We dressed it off and loaded it in the truck. As shooting time ended, we picked up the rest of the guys and learned that Chris had seen a bear, Mike saw 4 bears and had an up close kind of experience, that I'll let him tell you about, if you get the chance to meet him, and once again Larry saw 3 bears. We tagged Tom's bear, and headed home for more food, stories and sleep.

Friday arrived and it was going to be a hot day. After running some baits in the morning I met the guys for lunch, and we headed out for the final afternoon of bear hunting. Once again Todd met me to try a get some bear footage, but we never got the chance to go into a stand, as Chris called to say he had killed a nice boar. Todd and I headed out to help him with it, but Chris already had the bear out to the road when we arrived. I dressed it off and loaded it in the truck. We headed out to tag it and get it in the cooler as it was very hot. We then drove back out and road around waiting for the phone to ring. I picked up Mike who had seen the same 4 bears, and Zach who had again not seen any bears. As we were heading home we finally connected with Steve who had hunted a different area near Larry, and we learned Larry had filled his tag. We met at Larry's stand and headed in through some thick brush to retrieve his nice mature bear. We then headed off to the tagging station once again, and finally home for some steak, fellowship and pie.

The second week of bear season ended with us skinning bears on Saturday morning prior to everyone heading home. We ended the week with 4 dead bears and over 47 bears sited by the 7 guys in camp. That is a lot of bears. Prior to leaving, Tom and Julie booked a hunt for the following fall, and one of their sons will be joining them on that trip. The Craig brothers stopped at a local archery shop and purchased new Bowtec bows, as they liked Todd and Mike's Bowtecs. They are planning on using those Bowtecs on bears in Maine in 2008. Later that afternoon, Mike and I headed out to try a hunt. I watched and videoed 4 bears, and Mike saw 7 bears at his site. If you add those bears to the numbers seen during the second week of 2007, that is over 58 bear sightings.

Week 3

When week three of the 2007 bear season arrived, Matt Miller and his fiancé Erica Stitt returned for their second trip to Maine. Joining them at the lodge were Charlie Bailey and Harvey and Kim Leatherwood from Texas. From Georgia two friends Mickey Hammett and Walter Vaughan were here for their first bear hunt. Also here was a fellow from Florida, Dick Miller. Also Mike Hurley stuck around for a few days helping me out and hunting himself, as he had some extra time off from work. We enjoyed a nice lobster dinner, followed by orientation and weapons proficiency. Everyone was excited about hunting bears on Monday, none more so than Matt Miller who had hunted in 2006 and although he spent many hours in the tree stand, had not seen any bears that season.
Monday arrived and after getting everyone out into their tree stands or blinds, I ran a few baits then settled in to wait for something to happen. No one shot any bear this day, but Matt heard a bear popping it s jaws, Mickey saw a very large bear that shook him up pretty good, Dick saw his first bear ever, and Mike saw 4 bears at his site. We returned to the lodge for some food, stories and rest for Tuesday.

Tuesday arrived filled with anticipation. We ate lunch and headed out to hunt once again. Today passed fairly quiet with the only bear being seen today was by Harvey, right at dark. Matt Miller who spent the entire 2006 season without seeing a bear still maintained his optimism about seeing a bear, after his second day in 2007 passing without a sighting. We headed back out of the woods to the lodge for more of Nancy's good food, some stories, and once again a bit of rest for Wednesday's adventures.

We gathered around the lunch table on Wednesday eating a hearty lunch, hopeful that we would need that energy to drag some bears out of the woods. We headed back out to try our luck once again in Maine's bear woods. Right around 7 o'clock, Mickey called to tell me he had shot at a very large bear. After describing the event, I was certain he had missed the bear clean. I checked the area around the bait site very carefully, and found where the bullet had impacted a tree, from the angle of the shot it was apparent that Mickey had undershot his target, and it ran off unscathed. Harvey had also shot a bear this evening, I went in to the site and found his arrow, with no blood on it, I was certain he had gotten a bit excited and overshot his bear. I elected to return the next day and look a little closer to be certain. His friend Charlie also saw a bear this evening and watched it, choosing to observe the animal, rather than shoot it. No one else saw any bears on this afternoons hunt. We headed back to the lodge for some good food, good stories and much needed sleep.

Thursday came with us once again enjoying a nice meal prepared by Nancy and the whole group heading out to the woods once again. I got everyone out to their sites and then Harvey, Charlie and I looked for the bear Harvey had shot on Wednesday. We spent more than an hour making certain that the bear was not hurt. After that time and following what little sign there was, I was certain his arrow had just passed through the bear very high, missing all the vitals. I then put Charlie in his stand, and Harvey in a new location. I received no calls from anyone, but once everyone was back at the lodge I learned that after 9 days in stand over two seasons, Matt had finally seen a bear, in fact he saw 2 this afternoon, and although he drew his bow 3 times on one of the bears, he was unable to get the shot he needed and the bear ran off unscathed. Charlie had also seen a bear, a VERY LARGE bear, on his site. He too was unable to get the shot he needed with his bow. Walter saw 3 bears on his site, and although we had not killed any bears thus far this week, everyone had seen a bear or bears on their sites. We headed back to the lodge with high hopes for an exciting finish on Friday.

We gathered around the lunch table with anticipation of a big finish today. After lunch we headed out to the woods for the final afternoon of bear hunting for week three of the 2007 season. I got everyone into their stands, and headed out to wait for someone to call. Right around 6 p.m. my cell phone rang, and Matt indicated he had shot his first bear in Maine. He had seen 7 bears that afternoon, and when I arrived we followed the string left by the String Tracker right to his perfectly shot Maine black bear. We dressed the bear, took a few photos, and loaded it on the truck. After shooting hours passed, I picked up the rest of the hunters. Charlie had also shot at the large bear he had seen the night before. However his arrow was off and hit the ground, below the bear, completely missing it. Walter had also seen 3 bears that afternoon, but no shooters. We headed back to the lodge for a steak dinner, and some good byes, Charlie, Harvey and Kim had an early flight and decided to drive to Bangor to be closer to the airport.

Saturday morning found us taking more photos of Matt's bear. We then skun and quartered the bear, packing the meat in a cooler for the journey back to Pennsylvania. Over the week the hunters had seen 27 bears. We only tagged one. Matt Miller who spent the 2006 season bearless, saw 9 of those bears himself. Hunting bears over bait, is not a cake walk, as these hunters had learned. It is however a great way to spend some time in Maine's beautiful woodlands waiting patiently for an opportunity to possibly take the "black ghost" of Maine's woods.

Week 4

The final week of the 2006 season came with 1 veteran hunter returning with two cousins of his. Steve Willey, Jon Harris, and Bill Baldwin had driven here from Michigan. They were joined in camp by Gary Cole, Ronnie Davis, Bernie Rhea, and Randy Burkhalter from Ohio. Of these hunters only Steve had any fall bear hunting experience. We ate, had orientation, and some target practice where it was determined one potential archer needed to spend more time with a bow before I would let him hunt bear with archery equipment.

Monday found me running just a few baits as this was the last week, and it was time to start closing up bait sites. After lunch we headed out for an afternoon of bait hunting. This day found Jon hearing a bear pop its jaws, and Bernie taking a nice dry sow with a muzzleloader. No other bears were seen.

Tuesday we hunted and again Jon heard popping jaws and Bill did as well, but the bears were alerted to the presence of these hunters, and would not come in. We headed back to the lodge and ate some good food, swapped a few stories, laughed at Bill and got some sleep.

On Wednesday the wind blew and it was a tough day to hunt bears and no one saw any. By the appearance of some of the baits I was getting the feeling that something happening on the stands was spooking these bears. We headed back to camp, for more food, story telling and a few laughs.

Thursday afternoon found me placing the guys on new bait sites with hopes a change of scenery and fresh bears would help these guys out. I went out and retrieved a few tree stands while I waited for the guys. When I picked them up I learned that Steve had seen 3 bears, and both Ronnie and Randy had seen a bear. As bears can do, they appear when you are not ready, and then while you try to judge them in low light, they disappear. We headed back to camp without any bears, but higher spirits as the sighting of game tends to raise hunters spirits.

Friday found us heading out with high hopes of taking a bear or two. I again pulled a few tree stands while I waited for the guys, and then I sat on a bait site to see what may come in. After about a 90 minute wait, a nice bear came into the bait site. I watched this bear for at least 25 minutes, when a second bear came from behind me, suddenly both bears bolted and then it was time for me to go pick the guys up. Once again Steve had seen a bear, but the bear knew he was there and would not come into the bait. Gary saw his first bear of the week as well. Well the 4th week ended with 1 bear killed, and 13 bears seen or heard by the hunters counting the two I had seen. We went back to the lodge and ate more food, told a few more stories and prepared for everyone's departure the next day. The 2006 bear season was over.

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