2008 Maine Black Bear Hunts

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Week 1

The first week of the 2008 bear season arrived with two friends from Michigan, Ray & Kim McVeigh returning for their second annual Maine bear hunt. They were joined in camp with two friends from Indiana, Jon Deputy and Treg Koch who were here for their first bear hunt. Two folks from New Jersey, Brant and Vanessa Hall, also made the drive here. An experienced bear hunter from Michigan, Jeff Hansche, came to hunt Maine bears for the first time. Finally a young fellow from Pennsylvania, Jon Greathouse, made the trip to try and get a Maine bear as well. Since we had two Jon's in attendance the guide decided to keep it simple by referring to Jon Deputy as "Indiana Jon", and he will be forever known by that name. The group of hunters had a great lobster feed, followed by orientation, and some range time to be sure everyone's firearm was properly sighted in. We then returned home for some pie and rest in preparation for a lively week of bear hunting.

Monday looked to be a decent day to hunt bears. The guide returned from a morning of baiting to enjoy lunch with the hunters prior to getting them out to their stands. The afternoon looked to be a bit more windy than I had hoped for but it still looked to be a decent day for bear hunting. The folks were not in their stands too long when my cell phone rang with the first bear of the season being taken by Brant Hall. Brant's bait is set 1 mile back from any traffic, and he shot a nice mature boar bear. Brant quickly informed me that the bear was down right at the bait. By the time I had Brant's bear loaded in my truck, it was time to start picking up the other hunters. While Brant and I waited for the end of shooting hours, Treg called to say he had shot a bear. I told him to go back to camp with Nancy and once I returned we would go recover his bear.

When we picked up Indiana Jon, he had quite an eventful afternoon. He had high hopes of getting some good footage. When I had placed him in his blind I had gone down to freshen up his bait. The barrel needed to be adjusted, when I reached down and grabbed the barrel to move it, I was looking at the business end of a skunk. I quickly darted away, and cautiously tilted the barrel so the skunk could scamper off. Jon missed this action as he wasn't quite set up when it all took place. He was visited that afternoon by a cow and calf moose, that got very close to his blind, and provided some great video footage. He did see a nice bear, but it saw his camera and spooked before he could decide whether he wanted to shoot it or not. No one else had seen any bears.

Once we returned to camp, I gathered up Treg and took Indiana Jon a with us to get some footage of Treg's bear. It took a little time to find the bear, as they do not leave much sign, but it only was about 25 yards from the bait. It was a nice mature bear that Treg had made a good shot with his rifle. We then headed to the tagging station with the bears and returned home with 2 bears for the guys on the first night of the season.

Tuesday arrived much the same as Monday. We had another great lunch, and then headed out to the woods to hunt bears. Jon Greathouse, "Pennsylvania Jon", wasn't in his stand too long when he observed a bear feeding at the bait. I headed up with Treg to look for the bear, as it was only 3 o'clock or so. It took some time to find the bear, as it ran 75 yards or so, before expiring. We gathered him up and headed to the tagging station, and back to camp to get it in the cooler. When shooting hours had expired I headed out to gather up the remaining hunters. I then learned that Ray & Kim had each seen a bear. Jeff had observed a medium sized bear acting nervously at the bait, and right at dark had shot a nice large boar. Indiana Jon had a quiet afternoon at his stand. So Tuesday put two more bears in the cooler, and now we had three hunters remaining to fill their tags.

On Wednesday we left a little later as we only had three people still hunting. A logging operation unexpectedly commenced in the area we had been hunting, so I had to move everyone to new sites. We didn't see any bears on this day at all. We returned to the lodge for some food and story telling and looked forward to Thursday.

After lunch on Thursday Ray, Kim and Indiana Jon joined me for the ride out to their stands. Ray got out first, and we saw a bear run off as we headed into the bait site. I left him at "Sniper Rock" for the afternoon and got the others out as well. I had intended to watch a bait with my video camera, and had just gotten settled in when Ray called to tell me he had shot a bear. I gathered up my gear and headed back to locate his bear. It took a little time to find it, even with a perfect double lung shot, but Ray had taken a nice bear with a very large white blaze on its chest. That was to be the only bear seen by the hunters on this day. We headed back with a stop at the tagging station.

Friday found me with two hunters remaining. After lunch we headed to two new sites. I had high hopes that at least one of the hunters would fill their tag on this afternoon. It was a perfect afternoon to hunt bears, but as hunting bears goes, Indiana Jon did not see anything, and Kim saw only a sow with two cubs. We returned to the lodge for a great steak dinner and some story telling. The first week of the season had the group of seven hunters see 10 bears and take 5 bears.

Week 2

The second week of bear season found Tom & Julie Nagy returning for their second trip and bringing their son Eric along for his first Maine bear hunt. Meeting them in camp were a group of hunters from Virginia, Mike Healy, Bill Arnold, and two brothers Matt and Craig Bourne. The group from Virginia were in Maine hunting bear for the first time. After the traditional Maine lobster feed we had orientation followed by some range time. We then returned back to the lodge for some desert.
Monday found me returning to the lodge to meet the guys for lunch before we headed out to the hunting area for an afternoon of bear hunting. I got all the fellows into their stands then settled in to wait for the cell phone to ring. The afternoon passed with no cell phone calls. Once shooting hours had expired I picked up the guys and learned that Eric Nagy had watched a sow with 2-3 cubs on his bait right towards dark. Bill Arnold also had seen a couple of bears, with a large bear coming in around 5 pm and a smaller bear around 7 pm. Unfortunately neither bear had presented a good broad side shot for Bill. We returned to the lodge for some food, stories and rest.

Tuesday began much the same as Monday, and we returned to the same stands. The day passed just as Monday had with no phone calls. After shooting hours I gathered up the guys and learned the Tom Nagy had seen 2-3 different bears with a large one presenting a nice broadside shot, but Tom elected to pass hoping for a larger bear. Eric Nagy had also seen 2 more bears at his site and passed on each of those. None of the other hunters saw any bears, so we returned for more of Nancy's great cooking and hunting stories.

Wednesday began much the same as the first two days, the only difference being what we had for lunch. The guys settled into their stands for the afternoon, and I waited. Once again no one called. I gathered up the guys and learned that Matt had seen a bear that did not present a good shot, and his brother Craig had spooked a bear off the bait as he prepared to leave after shooting hours. He had diligently watched the bait for 3 days, and the bear was there right at dark. We returned to the lodge for more great food, stories and some rest.

On Thursday we all had a great lunch and then headed to a different area to try and see if a new stand might lead to a change in the luck. I got everyone settled in, and began my long wait. Once again no one had called before shooting hours expired. I gathered up the guys and learned that Bill had seen 3 different bears at his stand, each not presenting a shot, Tom Nagy briefly saw a bear at his new site as did his son Eric. Mike Healy awoke from an afternoon nap to be startled by a bear approaching the bait and sort of got excited. None of the bears seen were taken. So far this week we had seen 17 bears, and had killed none. Well we drove back to the lodge for more great food and hopes that a night of rest would be needed as we prepared for Friday's hunt.

Well we had a good lunch and gathered up our gear and headed off to hunt on Friday afternoon. I got everyone tucked in to their site and settled in to wait for the phone to ring. The afternoon passed and I headed off to gather everyone up. I learned that Bill had seen another bear and Eric had been visited by a truly large bear right at dark, and he did not have a good shot. Eric was thrilled to have seen such a large bear, and I was happy he had seen it as well. We drove back to the lodge for a great steak dinner. The week ended with 6 hunters seeing 19 bears. No bears were taken, but we all enjoyed a week of great bear hunting.

Week 3

The third week of the 2008 bear season found me greeting all returning hunters. I had Mike Hurley, Steve & Pam Spence of Ohio, Matt & Erica Miller of Pennsylvania, and Mickey Hammett from Georgia. We gathered around the table on Sunday for a great lobster feed, followed by orientation and some range time. This week I had 3 archers and one rifle hunter.

Monday found us gathering for lunch and heading out to hunt. Once again the day passed without my phone ringing, and once again some of the guys had seen bears. Mike had seen two bears, and Steve had seen one, but neither had a shot. We headed back to the lodge for some chow, and rest.

Tuesday found us eating a great lunch once again and heading out to the woods to try once again to take a bear, Once again the bears seemed to have the upper hand. Today Mike saw another bear, and no one else saw anything. It was beginning to look like it was going to be a long week.

We met around the table on Wednesday for a fabulous lunch, and left with high hopes of filling some bear tags. We hunted the whole afternoon, and the whole gang saw no bears. We headed back for some chow, stories and rest.

Thursday we were going to try out some new stands so after a great lunch we headed out to give another area a try. After I got all the guys tucked into their blinds, Mike and I went to his site where we were going to try and call a bear with a predator call. Mike climbed into his tree stand and I sat in a chair back towards the rode where I controlled my electronic call. Midway through my calling sequence a strange vibration alerted me that someone was calling. I quietly exited the area, walked to my truck and drove off. The caller was Mickey who had just shot his first bear. I met Mickey at his stand and we walked right to the bear, which had run only a few steps. We loaded the bear into my truck. It wasn't too long and my phone rang again. This time it was Steve Spence who had just harvested his second bear in as many trips to Mountain View Drifter Lodge & Outfitters. Steve was archery hunting, so I had him use a string tracking device. This made trailing the bear very easy as we just followed the string to the bear. Once we got the bear loaded into the truck I headed out to pick up the rest of the guys. Then I learned that Mike had seen a bear on the stand we were using the predator call just prior to me leaving the area. The bear was actually on the bait when I stood to leave. Well today we took 2 nice bears back to the lodge with us.

Friday Matt, Mike and I hunted some new stands. We hunted all afternoon, and we did not see any bears. So in a week of hunting 4 hunters had seen 7 bears and taken two of those. We enjoyed a great steak dinner that evening and some hearty laughs around the dining room table.

Week 4

Well the fourth week of bear season was a bit different for me. I had not booked any hunters for this week, so I had elected to install my new Bergey Excel wind turbine at my home that week. Pieter Huebner from Norman, Oklahoma had flown out to assist me in stacking my tower and erecting the turbine without the use of a crane. For those of you unfamiliar with my background I was schooled as an electrical engineer prior to beginning my guiding career. I have recently started a new business,
Maine Guide Wind Power LLC which sells, installs and maintains residential wind turbines. In researching the various turbine manufacturers I was drawn towards the Bergey Windpower Company turbine due to their excellent reputation. In May when I attended dealer training in Oklahoma I had met Pieter and learned he was an avid hunter. When I contacted him to get on his calendar I had suggested the fourth week of bear season to him to have some fun on a bear hunt while helping me to erect my turbine.
Pieter flew into Bangor, ME on Monday. After a meal at Captain Nick's restaurant, we headed to a couple of stores to pick up a few loose ends to aid in the erecting of my 120 foot tall tower and the 10kw Excel turbine. We headed to Millinocket, and I gave Pieter a tour of my tower site. We had some dinner and settled in to rest as we had some work ahead of us.

Tuesday found us gathered at the work site and meeting a friend of mine Bob Lacombe who had agreed to lend a hand in the process. Over the course of the day we got most of the tower erected. We ended the day with a good meal hoping that the next day would be as smooth.

Wednesday found us at the job site stacking the remaining tower sections, and then lifting the turbine to the top of the tower in two separate lifts. The first lift hoisted the tail section up, and the second hoisted the alternator and blades up, which was then bolted to the tail section. Once those sections were in place the tower wiring was hoisted up and attached to the turbine. When the sun set on this day the turbine was nearly completed.

Thursday Pieter and I finished the turbine wiring, and miscellaneous clean up around the site. We then had time to gather our hunting gear and head out to hunt bears that afternoon. I put Pieter out at a really active site and I selected a different one to hunt. I did not see anything, Pieter heard a bear circle him, but was unable to see it. We headed back for some great food and story telling. We had about half a day of cleanup left on the tower to finish on Friday, so some rest was definitely in order as well.

Friday found us hanging at the top of the tower, working our way down torquing each and every fastener on the tower. Once we had that accomplished we ate some lunch and gathered our gear to go bear hunting. My first stop was the stand I had hunted the day before. We quickly checked it, and determined that no bear had visited since I was there. I then headed to the stand that I had thought about putting Pieter. This was the stand that Eric Nagy had seen a real large bear during the second week. Pieter and I headed into the site. I was in the lead. I have seen bears on the bait several times over the years, and had a feeling. As I rounded the corner in the trail I saw a LARGE bear on the bait. I dropped down out of site and motioned to Pieter to get down as well, and whispered "load your gun". I instructed Pieter to move slowly forward so he could see a bit , and look for cubs to be sure it was a male shooter bear. I watched from the side lines as he raised the rifle and looked through the scope. In what seemed an eternity he settled the rifle and squeezed the trigger, the 400 pound bear dropped in seconds after the shot. We made sure the bear was dead then admired it and took some photos at the location. We then had to get this large bear out of the woods. I opted to go get a sled at the lodge, and gather another person for some help if we could find someone. Luckily Bob Lacombe was at home and agreed to lend a hand retrieving this great bear.

Pieter is having a life sized mount of this great battle scarred bruin made to grace his lake house back in Oklahoma. He has already had the skull cleaned and scored and if memory serves me correctly it scored 19 1/2", which is very good for a Maine bear. What a way to end the 2008 season with a truly magnificent bear.

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