A boy and his bear


Well-known member
Feb 23, 2018
After harvesting his first deer my son asked to come back the next morning to check the gut pile. I had harvested a small yearling buck and a man and his 2 sons had harvested another doe in the same canyon. We were aware of 3 gut piles and it would be well worth an extra day to see what we would turn up.

As we pulled up to the familiar barbed wire fence I spotted 2 coyotes. We scrambled to get the 243 out of the truck and off of the road to legally be able to shoot but somehow the coyotes had disappeared.

The night prior we found bear tracks and fresh scat and we knew they were in the area. The freshest sign was to the East of all of our gut piles and the wind was drifting east all evening. I asked my son what pile he wanted to check first and he sent us towards the bucks pile. As we approached it a coyote sprinted off. We tried to connect with the coyote but barely shot over it as it jetted across the sage brush. As we inspected the location the gut pile was completely gone and only a chewed up rib cage and a hide remained.

Next we headed to his deer. Coyote tracks went right up to the boned out carcass but stopped right at the location where I had to relieve myself and urinated near the carcass. In the dust You could visually see where the tracks would approach and then recede over and over again as if there were an invisible barrier that they were unwilling to cross. The tracks then jetted off towards the last and final gut pile. The man and his 2 sons had harvested a doe the night prior. They gutted the doe and packed her out on a meat pole. We located the site of kill but only found a skirmish of a myriad of tracks.

Discouraged that we missed the party on the last and final pile we decided to head back to the truck. Not 10 yards from the site of kill we were passing under a pine tree when all hell broke loose. Suddenly we were eye to eye with a cinnamon colored cub at 7 yards. Another bear was flanking us to the right and trying to get a better look. Standing a few yards from my 10 yr old son I tossed him the magazine to his 243 and pointed at the bear staring 7 yards away.

My son has never shot a rifle offhand as he is only 10 and he is an extremely small boy for his age. He chambered a round and fired at the bear at 7 yards. It scrambled up the tree and then began to lose its grip. It then fell to the base of the tree. It was then that we looked up the tree to discover a large black sow peering down at us. She began climbing higher in the tree and suddenly a black cub came in from the surrounding brush like a lineman trying to sack a quarterback and scaled the tree. With a sow and her black cub in the tree we cautiously retrieved my sons first ever bear.

I asked him how he felt about harvesting a cub and he wanted any bear. We discussed the dynamics and he was aware that the sow with Cubs was protected. While he wanted a big bear, he acknowledged that the sow was not legal to harvest. He really wanted a bear. He was stoked with the cub! We got him checked in at a Fish and Game check point and he couldn’t believe that the bear was all his. The bear was loaded with fat and we look forward to slow cooking it. His classmates might not understand but he sure is happy about it. He worked hard for it and he spent a lot of time learning rules and regulations. It’s not about the bragging rights, it’s about harvesting the animals and the amazing experience.


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