The other two continued down the road a bit. After daylight began to filter through, I saw the typical Allegheny mountain terrain I was used to. Thick mountain laurels with rocks and small trails dispersed between. I snuck a little through the laurel and immediately saw a fresh bear poop! OK, now we are talking! If one comes out here it will likely be inside of 15 yards. I was feeling glad I had the bow, and I slowly still hunted. It was breezy and peaceful, great still hunting weather. There was a lot of deer and buck sign also. I was in the zone…. Then, BANG!! Mike crackled over the radio “BEAR DOWN, BEAR DOWN, BEAR DOWN”.
The large sow came up across the steep ridge and passed right between where Mike and Brent were. It was about 50 yards from Mike and he didn’t hesitate. He hauled up his new Tikka 30.06 and shot it through the shoulder. It dropped on the spot and flopped. The bear had a metal ear tag #1075 and it was a nice sized bear!
After lunch, I gave Mike my truck keys and he drove back to Frederick to find a taxidermist to skin the bear and deal with its really nice thick hide. We were in a hurry so the hair did not slip. Brent and I would hunt deer in the evening and keep camp until he returned Wednesday morning. Unknown to us, Mike had a hard time finding a taxi to deal with it, so he ended up skinning it himself with some phone advice from a guy.
After a bit, I find the arrow laying on the leaves pointed back toward me. Blood, but only on one side of the white shaft. Some white hairs on the BH and the top of the fletch and nock area covered in blood and fat. Crap…not looking good. Started trailing dark red muscle blood. Steady drips but nothing crazy except where it stood still occasionally. Trailed it for about 200 yards…it doubles back twice…crosses the ridge once and blood shuts down as it crosses back a second time. It is getting dark and I know the story. Deer never bed. When I saw the arrow go sideways it wasn’t a crappy release as I first thought, it was me hitting low on the brisket. Glancing hit. Deer will be fine.
Not having much experience with bear meat, we were happily surprised. She had almost no odor. Deer smell much worse while butchering. The meat and fat is real squishy. The burger was like twice ground mush coming out of the grinder. The heart tasted better than deer. The smoked ribs were real tasty and the fat tastes good unlike that chalky bitter deer fat. The tenderloin I cooked was super! Way better tasting meat than deer. It is up there with elk, and a lot more tender then any undulate I have had. A sweet mild flavor. I have been told the bear's diet plays a major role i the quality of the meat.