“I need a copy of your driver’s license and a check…” This was what I heard from the other end of the line when my Great Uncle Dave called me about going bear hunting.
That was the moment I knew that there was no backing out. I was heading to Canada on my first ever bear hunt.
Bear hunting time!
Six months later, the pickup was packed up, as my two uncles and myself set off on our 1,200-mile trip to our hunting destination: La Ronge, Saskatchewan.
Little did I know how much this hunt would mean to my Great Uncle Dave and me until we sat down in camp talking about old hunting stories.
Rewind to 2003… I was just 13 years old when I drew my first big game tag in Colorado. It was a Pronghorn tag in the unit of our family ranch.
My hunting guide that time was my Great Uncle Dave. We drove all over that that day and, to make a long story short, I harvested my first big game animal with my great uncle by my side.
Another unforgettable outdoor moment
Fast forward now 15 years to June 16, 2018. My uncle and I are at bear camp. The two of us went to different stands on this day.
Our outfitter was joking around and told Uncle Dave he would be done by 6 o’clock with a bear. He gave me a fist bump and said, “Tonight is your night.”
Well our outfitter was right. Uncle Dave was done hunting at 5:45 pm and I harvested my first bear at 6:30 pm.
This was certainly one unforgettable trip and story for me. Fifteen years ago my Great Uncle Dave took me on my first big game hunt and then we both filled our bear tags on the same night just 45 minutes apart.
Thanksgiving morning of 2016 will be one I will always remember. I sat quietly in my climber that morning overlooking the creek bottom that runs through the property. The sun came up and the thick fog that engulfed the hardwoods slowly lifted. It was a quiet and beautiful morning, and I felt blessed to be in the woods as the sun started hitting the forest floor. I had a case knife in my pocket… but more on that later.
There is not, and never has been for me, something as serene as sitting N1 of God’s carefully prepared landscapes, watching the sun rise and fall over you as the world awakens or quietly falls asleep. It is those times that I am reminded that no matter what is going on in the hustle and bustle that seems wrong, the sun is still going to come up, and the oaks will still drop their acorns the next day. In other words, nature doesn’t know of the hardships or blessings you may be experiencing. It just is, and it just does, exactly as it was told to do by God. That has always been reason enough for me to escape to the woods.
But, this morning in particular would prove to be one of even greater blessing. I was in the woods, with a Case knife in my pocket. So, here is where the story gets good…
When the fog lifts and the breakfast hits
At roughly 7:30 that morning the fog had finally lifted enough to have decent visibility. The animals around me had started their daily routines. I decided that I would rattle a couple minutes, in about 20-second intervals. For whatever reason, I like to grunt once or twice in between the rattle sequences. So that’s what I did, I rattled about 20 seconds and then waited about 20 seconds and then rattled again, so on and so forth. I did that for two minutes while hitting my grunt four or five times.
When I was satisfied that I had the attention of any buck around me, I quit and waited about 2 minutes and then I hit my doe bleat. In my head, that is when things get serious. If I was a buck I would be thinking, not only are two unknown bucks sparring on my property, they have a doe ready and willing with them. That’s my train of thought anyway. So, I put my calls down and waited.
That’s when it hit me. The sausage biscuit I had eaten an hour earlier had to have a final resting place… and it needed to get there in a hurry. I climbed down the tree and walked off about 20 yards and did the deed. I quickly realized that if I didn’t have a napkin in my pocket, then I was going to be leaving with one wool sock less than what I had arrived with! On a 37-degree morning, with wet boots, that didn’t seem like a good idea!
Well, what’s a guy to do in such a predicament? I did the only thing I could think of… I pulled out my trusty Case knife and cut a square out of the front left leg of my flannel boxer shorts and my problem was solved. Always carry a case pocket knife N1 of your pockets when you go to the woods; you never know how useful it can be!
Big buck moment
I made my way up the tree and sat there thinking I had ruined my hunt. I thought about getting down but I thought to myself, nah, I’m here now, I may as well keep hunting. My Dad always said, “you can’t kill’em at home.” Well, It hadn’t been 10 minutes since I climbed back up the tree and 15 minutes since I quit my now certified “outdoors with Hunter Bennett proven rattling sequence” (for $29.95 retail price I will email you a demonstration video) that a doe came prancing into my area. She walked right beside the shallow leaf grave of the sausage biscuit, and she was very curious, looking around as if searching for the deer that were fighting and that lonesome and willing doe she had heard bleat a few minutes prior.
As I watched her I heard another deer coming in the same way as her, but this one was different. He was being very cautious! I could hardly hear him and would just catch glimpse of movement every so often.
I was still unsure of exactly what I had killed. In my mind, I knew it was a big buck, I just wasn’t sure how big. I waited about 10 minutes. Without so much as a kick out of him, I decided it was safe to go check him out.
The rest is history. A fine morning to be N1 of my deer stands!