2009 Maine Black Bear Hunts

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Week 1

The first week of the 2009 bear season arrived with two friends from Michigan, Ray & Kim McVeigh returning for their third annual Maine bear hunt. They were joined in camp with Randy Jr., Brian and Randy Dawson Sr., a father and two son's that had hunted with us in 2007. Mike Healy who was with us in 2008 also returned with two clients Doug and Chris who were hunting bear for their first times. We had a great weather forecast for the week, and had a great lobster feed on the deck followed with orientation and target practice. Everyone was excited about the week ahead.
Monday was to be a great 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. Once I had all of the hunters into their respective sites, it wasn't too long before my cell phone rang, with the news that Mike Healy had watched a bear for awhile before taking it with a well placed shot. I hurried to his stand and a short tracking job found us looking over a nice boar bear. Before we had time to get his bear out of the woods, another call came in from Chris as he had killed his first bear. We arrived at Chris's stand and quickly recovered his bear. Shortly before the end of shooting time my phone rang again to let me know that Randy Dawson Jr., had also taken a bear that afternoon. He was shooing a .300 Win Mag and his well placed shot had put his bear down on the bait, so we got there and retrieved his bear in record time. We then rounded up the rest of the hunters with help from Nancy, and learned that Brian had seen 3 bears on his first day on stand, one of which was a real monster, but he had held his shot since in 2007 he had shot a bear in something like 2 minutes give or take 30 seconds on stand. Kim watched a sow and 3 cubs on her bait and the last three hunters had seen nothing. Day one ended with three hunters tagged out and 11 bears seen.

On Tuesday afternoon after a great lunch provided by Nancy we headed into the woods with the remaining 5 hunters. I waited in anticipation of another good afternoon of bear hunting. My phone did not ring on this day, as no one shot any bears. What we learned around the dinner table later that evening was Randy Sr. had watched two small bears, Brian had seen 4 bears on his bait, but not the monster of the day before, Kim had seen nothing and Ray had watched a sow and 3 cubs. So 11 more bears were seen on the baits and we had 3 more days of good hunting for the week.

Wednesday found the guide out baiting in the morning and returning to eat lunch with the hunters. We then headed out to the stands to hunt bears once again. On this afternoon shortly before the end of shooting hours, my phone rang and Doug said he had shot at a bear. I headed to his site and had him fill in the details, then I set about looking for the bear. There was no blood or other sign so I decided to return the following morning to look with better light. We gathered up the rest of the hunters and learned that Ray had a close encounter with a sow and cub on the trail as he was leaving the woods, Kim had passed up on a bear, Randy had seen 2 small bears once again and Brian had seen a sow and 2 cubs as well as a yearling bear. He had also wet his pants when one of the cubs changed form a cute and cuddly teddy, into a blood thirsty monster right before his eyes. You'll have to talk to Brian to get the rest of the story. Ten more bears seen for the week and two days left to go.

Thursday morning found Doug and I looking for a bear. After finding what looked like a bullet striking the earth below where the bear would have been standing, and total lack of any hair, or other sign anywhere within 100 yards of the bait it was decided the excitement of seeing the bear had caused him to miss when he fired. We returned to camp without a bear, but we were going to a new bait that afternoon. After lunch we headed for the new bait sites. Later that afternoon Doug called and said he had killed a nice bear. The Virginia boys had gone 3 for 3 on this hunt. We got Doug's bear out of the woods, and learned that Kim had seen another sow with 3 cubs, Brian had seen a sow with 2 cubs And Randy Sr. had seen 2 bears and missed a monster with his muzzleloader. We spent a good deal of time looking around his bait, but once again the adrenaline that accompanies bear sightings had caused a good rifleman to miss his mark. A total of 10 more bears was seen on this day.

Friday found only three hunters wanting to return to the woods. Randy Sr. decided he had had his opportunity and hours spent in a tree stand hunting bears do take a toll on your posterior. Ray, Kim and Brian did not see a thing on this afternoon. For the week we had seen 42 bears and killed 4.

Week 2

The second week of the 2009 bear season arrived with friends from Arizona Steve and Cathy Craig flying into Manchester, NH and driving up to Millinocket with Zach and Chris Craig their two sons and a few friends. With them was Zach's girlfriend Sara, and a good friend of Chris's Nate and Nate's dad, Dave. The whole Craig clan as well as Nate and Dave were using archery equipment on there bear hunts. Joining them in camp was Jon Greathouse from Pennsylvania. All of the hunters in camp except Dave and Nate were here for at least their second time, with Steve here for his third trip.

The second week looked to be another great week weather wise for hunting bear. Having had an exceptionally rainy summer it was nice to have been blessed with drier conditions to hunt bears. Following Mondays lunch we headed for some of the bait sites in the Medway area. After getting everyone situated in their stands, I found a place to wait for the end of shooting time to arrive or a cell phone call from a fortunate hunter. Well the phone did not ring on this afternoon, but upon gathering up the hunters I learned that Jon and Chris had each seen bears on their baits and Zach had heard a bear run off as he climbed out of his stand. Jon had seen 4 bears, and Chris had seen 2 bears. No other hunter had seen or heard anything. We headed back to the lodge for some of Nancy's great cooking and some rest so we could do it all over again the next day.

Following lunch on Tuesday we headed out to the bait sites once again. On this day once again there were no calls, but after getting everyone gathered up after dark I learned that Chris had seen 4 bears, and Nate saw 1 small bear briefly on his bait. No other bears were seen on this afternoon, so we headed back for more food, stories and some laughs prior to getting some sleep in preparation for Wednesday.

Wednesday is typically a pretty productive day of the baits for some reason. So I had high hopes of some action as we headed to the woods. After I got the guys in their stands, I decided to wait for the end of shooting time in a tree stand myself. Shortly before dark I noticed a tree swaying back and forth behind my bait. There was no breeze, so I thought a bear is coming. A few minutes later I could see the bear coming through the tall grass around the bait. I watched the bear for 10-15 minutes before it slipped silently back into the trees. Shortly after that I heard a distant rifle shot and figure Jon had seen a bear as he was the only firearm hunter I had that week. Jon did take a bear, 1 of the 4 he had seen on his bait. Zach had a shooter on his bait, but did not have enough light to make a good shot, and Chris had seen 2 more bears on this afternoons sit. Nate and Dave passed the afternoon without event, but Steve had a bit of action at his site. On Steve's bait he had a couple of cubs come in and feed and then head off towards their unseen mother and shortly after that a yearling bear came to the bait and decided to head off in the direction of the cubs. When he found the cubs he also found mom, and Steve said the screams from that yearling getting thumped by mom were quite exciting. Well once again Wednesday proved to be an active day with 10 bears seen on the baits.

Thursday after lunch we were to head out once again in pursuit of bears. We went to some fresh baits on a different network of roads. So far everyone but Dave had at least seen a bear on bait, so I was hoping to at least get Dave in front of a bear today. Well the phone did not ring on this day, but Dave did see a bear. A BIG bear. Zach saw a sow and 2 cubs, but no else saw anything. Steve had hunted from dawn till dark. That is tough to do, but Steve is a tough hunter. Well we headed back to the lodge with out any bears, but we had a few stories.

On Friday we were going to give it one more try. After a great lunch we headed to the woods. I put everyone out in their stands, then I took Steve to a different bait. We set up his pop up blind on the bait site that Steve's good friend Larry had taken a bear two years prior. I went and sat on the bait that Steve had hunted on Thursday. As luck would have it shortly before dark a nice bear came into my site. I had multiple opportunities to shoot this bear, but it was not a bear I wanted to shoot. Shortly after the bear had made its way into the shadows my phone alerted me to a call. Steve had released an arrow from his crossbow at a bear. Since it was nearly dark I gathered up the rest of the hunters before going to look for Steve's bear. I learned that Dave had seen his second bear, but as he attempted to draw on it, it spooked and slipped away. I was hoping for a quick recovery of Steve's bear as the Craig's were set to leave early in the morning. Well there was no blood trail, and we could not locate the bolt. I decided to return in the morning and look again after the sun came up. Steve changed his flight arrangements after we arrived at the lodge and we enjoyed a great steak dinner and had hopes of finding the bear in the morning.

Saturday morning arrived and Steve's family headed to New Hampshire to catch their plane to Arizona, and Steve and I prepared to go scour over the bait site to try and locate the bear he had shot at. We spent the morning looking and relooking over the area. We broke the area up into a grid and poured over every square foot of ground, and found no sign the bear was hit. Steve and I headed back to the lodge for some food and then went to a different group of baits to sit for that afternoon. We did not see any bears on this day, so the week ended with 1 dead bear, and 27 bears seen on bait.

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