Bear Hunting Story

Bear season is fast approaching and I can hardly muster the strength to calm my nerves. Envisioning the blood curdling scream of a stuck bear, crashing through the forest fiercely searching for the cause of his new found piercing pain in his chest; smelling the air for the slightest clue of the direction the danger has come to find it and deliver repercussion, only to perish upon realization of the hunter beside him, basking in the heat of the massive predator’s last breath as he struggles in vain for that precious life giving oxygen that has been so abruptly denied.

Last season as I trapped the last mountain of the area on the last week of the season, a bear mistakenly revealed himself to me. He was a massive cinnamon colored, black bear. And as I walked through the line, checking for any sign of trouble or fight at every mound and every bare spot, looking for the slightest footprint or scrape; seeking the best place to drop a trap; I noticed yellow jackets swarming around me. “It’s a little cold for these to be out”, I thought to myself as I continued on the trail.

It was a cold February morning, on the highest peak on the highest mountain in these areas; is where I had continued my trapping line. My cold lifeless traps lay in ambush, the springs anxiously waiting as a bobcat poised for attack muscles tense and trembling with anticipation for a hapless query to curiously venture close enough to investigate the pungent smells cautiously laid out before them to court, hopefully, to its swift demise. On this day I was running a little later than my usual time of before dawn. It was mid morning today, and a few steps later as I closely watched the ground clutter for any sign of animal, I noticed an interesting scrape here and another there, something strange for these parts. I knew bear and I knew their habits, but they weren’t akin to frequenting here.

So I paid no thought until I reached the area of the most commotion. Scattered out over a few square yards were the dug up remains of a yellow jacket nest. Thrown aloft in little regard to order were the combs and the larva, the disillusioned and no doubt confused wasps buzzed about as though they had been drugged and beaten to a dismay; the liking a school of fish may have if the sweet lake they were so perfectly adorned had been drained of all precious water within minutes as they fluttered about gasping for water; their eyes bulging and mouths gasping in sure panic for the relief they would never again receive.

Right away I knew, a bear had been here and he hadn’t been gone long. Immediately I scanned the area for the monstrous beast for I knew he had to be close. The cold, wet air bit my neck, as I stood frozen against the background of fauna and brush which was my disguise. I smelled the air for his pungent aroma, which, I assumed, should permeate the cold air. The wind was blowing hard that day and the sounds of the forest were disguised by the busy wind. I could smell him, the unmistakable and loud smell of animal and beast, almost like to the smell of a large dog having been un-bathed for life and sleeping in bull manure. The strong odor of unadulterated animal lurked in the air. Out of my right eye I caught a motion, smooth and quick and quiet. A large cinnamon bear groped silently through the forest above me, his speed and agility were awe inspiring as he ran full speed away and up the hill into the horizon; as if he were only a ghost gliding on the tips of the chilled, crisp air; not making a sound or moving so much as a twig in his surprisingly speedy and graceful flight.

I smiled in delight, for I knew he would be here next year and I would be ready for bow season. I knew I would soon be able to feel his hot breath on my chest as he lay dying, assuming his massive, pure, and dominant spirit as it left his chilling body and the power of it feeding mine as I will draw his last breath into mine. The unmistakable feeling of success and pure intimacy with this animal, one with nature and one with this beast; to hold his heart while it beats its last desperate beat, to feel the lingering thump… thump…… thump……. of his weakening heart in my palm; the overwhelming and intoxicating power of being the dominant predator. As when a lion relishes in the taste of his prey’s blood as it jolts into his mouth via the throbbing of his prey’s heart. The invigoration of a prey’s life force pouring out into the bowels of his predator, feeding and recycling itself into a more sovereign being, to one day become that new being and to relish in the peace of it, the life cycle of the wild; to be a part of it; knowing that most men will never be sensitive enough to feel the plight of a stricken animal relinquishing its soul to its predator.

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