After last Thursday’s hike and seeing all the elk down in the flat in those meadows below the mountain. I did some map looking and figured out a way to get up in there and wanted to hike in on the right side of those Meadows and hike through the timber today to get in there.
My general avenue of approach I choose
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I Get to my park point , gear up feeling good , weather is going to be great , I’m excited for the day and what discoveries I might have, and all the thoughts that you normally have before a nice hike in the country.
I Look at my ONX pick a travel route and off I go and make for what appears to be an old road on my satellite map.
I find it and it’s not much more than a trail now it’s so old. I start to descend slightly in elevation. The forest is somewhat open , it’s just beautiful. I stop as off to my left I hear a noise not loud but gentle brush/tree noise. It sounds high up like a squirrel or a bird in a tree messing around , back in Oregon it was common for squirrels to be up in pine trees and they break off pinecones out of the branches and then drop them to the ground and you’d hear them hitting the trees and that was the only thing I could associate it with in my memory of forest noises.
I continue to slightly walk downhill and the trail kind of goes in a horseshoe to the left as I come out into the open sunlight and a tiny small meadow, less than 100 yards long 40 to 50 yards wide give or take, with a small 12-14 inch wide little stream running the edge to my right. I stop and just look across the meadow for a deer or animals or anything just it’s beautiful take a moment and then continue on the trail step across the stream and slightly go uphill over a little knob and then directly to my left I hear some scratching and clawing sound my head pops left and I see a small animal going up the tree directly on the other side of the meadow from me less than 50 yards maybe 40 not sure.
It was moving somewhat quickly I thought os that a porcupine or possibly a raccoon ?? at first the tree branches were shading it a little bit it wasn’t that big and as I quickly reach for my binoculars to try to figure out what the animal is animal , it stops and the second it stoped moving , in an instant I realized it’s a bear cub !!!!! An instant adrenaline rush hit me , along with fear and are you freaking kidding me in disbelief is shooting through me , I was halfway to opening my Bino case and the second I realized it was a bear cub , my right hand dropped and I had my pistol out , my head on a swivel turning from side to side knowing that I was in real jeopardy having that bear cub just within 40 yards of me and I cannot see the mother and I don’t know how far away she is or in what direction.
Then I see her standing up on 2 feet in the shadows of the tree looking at me within feet of the tree the cub just went up and as she comes into clear focus, we look each other in the eyes she spun and dropped on all fours and disappeared straight away from me.
I instantly break hard right going diagonal and uphill into the timber the opposite way , the timber instantly is pretty open and I can see for about 100 yards in every direction, i’m constantly looking and listening I don’t see and hear anything but I’m steady moving away knowing that I need to get up Hill and then I have to hook right to get to my truck which was behind the Bears original position.
I’m on contour with my truck now and Im within 50 yards give or take of the tailgate and the last part of the woods right before my truck is a little Brushy and then all of a sudden I hear brush crashing off to my right and I’m like crap that freaking Bear never stopped and she was coming right towards my truck and I bumped her again I just kept going and looking back with my pistol pointed towards the noise but I’m thinking that she hooked and went back downhill there was some guys who are breaking down their camp just 70-80 yards down the road and I yelled to them grizzly with a cub somewhere behind your camp I just spooked her and they instantly started blowing an air horn . Got to my truck through the pack in my day of hiking in that area was over.
I chatted with the guys who were breaking down their camp and then drove out of there to find a place to park to collect my thoughts and catch my breath, And wouldn’t you know it where I parked a week ago last Thursday there was two whitetails practically standing in my park point.
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The deer were 66 yds from me , I turned off my truck and watched them walk down the road and into the brush. So I drove up around him and got on the other road system and decided it’s still early in the day and I wanna to least get some exercise in and so I parked. And that’s when I realized that I had a decent side ache on my right side just above the belt and slow my ribs that was sore and I had a lot of phlegm and mucus in my throat and if I took a deep breath I would cough , and I realize that I got out of those woods a whole lot faster than I realized and I drank a bottle of water and just rested for a while until then the pain went away then I ended up going for a small hike across the meadow in that creek bottom where the whitetails went
The meadow and creek bottom I played around in View attachment 225407 View attachment 225408 View attachment 225409
On the way home I called Hunttalk member JCS and told him about my bear encounter, to which he replied, sounds like an exciting hike you probably need a beer ! And I did.
So I stopped at the quick store in town and as I was purchasing my beer I turned around and there on the counter they had coasters for sale , one just happen to be a grizzly so, I couldn’t resist purchasing it as a Souvenir of my 1st Montana GRIZZ encounter.
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On a sidenote to the story on my way out I encountered some local ranchers who live in the area and I had told them what had happened and he goes was the cub about yeah big and I said yeah it was that big and he goes yeah she’s a younger juvenile Bear that’s lived in the area going on two years, Apparently they’d seen her earlier this year not that long ago I just saw her a whole lot closer than I ever wanted to. The whole thing happened in an instant even though it felt a lot longer . from the moment I saw the animal going up the tree, realized it was a bear cub pulled out my pistol found the mother and when she dropped and turned was a matter of seconds and the whole thing was over and we were going different directions, But also knowing that in that instant before I seen her she could’ve just straight charged me and would’ve almost been on me before I even knew she was there and it could have went down a whole lot different, But I’m still going back next Thursday and try that hike again .
Hanging in the garage and enjoying a beer with MONTANA MOUNTAIN MAN and Hunttalk member JCS , talking bears and other outdoor experiences, I can laugh about it now .
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Pics of the bears or it didn't happen, video is even better.
Had my first Moose Drool the day I saw my first griz, June 2003 in Yellowstone. It's good beer.