Today’s blog post comes from Jim Kinsey, Executive Producer of Skull Bound TV. You can tune in for hunts with Jana and Jim on Wednesdays at 8:30 PM ET and 11:30PM ET and Thursdays at 12:30 PM ET. Follow Jana on Twitter or Facebook.
Saskatchewan’s Inland delta is one of the most diverse ecosystems on earth. With Jana’s success on day two of the hunt it was my turn to swap roles. Jana would become my camera gal and I the hunter. Nothing gets my heart a racing like big bears and the Inland Delta is known to hold some true monsters. With 5 days left on the hunt I was anxious to get into the bush and feel the same rush Jana felt the night before. I took one bear out of a tree stand last year while hunting elk out of a self-climber. That bear was a “happen-chance-bruin” and was completely unplanned. He walked by me on opening day high a top Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front. I let an arrow fly as he walked by the base of my tree at a mere 18 yards. That was my first bear out of a tree and hooked me for life.
Several days in the stand yielded Jana filming one bear on the other side of the river, a pine martin a ton of bird life. As our last day approached I hoped we’d just see a bear near our bait. It’s times like this I wish people knew just how hard outfitters work to put baits in to the areas we were hunting and how thick the Inland Delta’s bush really was. Some people frown on baiting but in this part of the world there is no other way to control the bear population.
The final night of our hunt was upon us as we readied our gear for the fifteen-mile ride on our Polaris into the bush. Our new stand showed signs of being hit. We checked the trail cam and the pictures revealed a short squatty bear whose belly touched the ground. We quickly named this bear “Sumo” for obvious reasons. Jana and I were excited about our chances on the new stand. Quietly she slid the camera into place, locked it down and listened intently for the old, jet black bear to show up.
The sounds of the spring quickly drowned out the 4 wheelers driving off in the distance. Another client had set this stand the week before trying to connect on the same bear without success although he did have 4 wolves run by on one of the nights he sat out. I was ready for the “Sumo” bear to step into the ring and ease the pain I was feeling many hunters know as the “low of the hunt”.
We hadn’t been there an hour when Jana whispered to me “there’s a big bear coming”. Looking beyond the bait I strained my eyes to see the bear she was looking at. It didn’t take long for my eyes to realize it was the bear we named “Sumo” and he was coming in to investigate the bait. Jana kept her calm, hit the record button and continued to follow the bear with the camera. The bear sniffed the bait cautiously, walked by the barrel and headed to the base of our tree. By now I had gone from sitting to standing. Like clockwork I readied my Mathews Creed for the inevitable. My heart rate soared as old bear lifted his head and our eyes met. I realized he was more interested in the “Hardcore Acorn” spray Jana had been spraying in the air every half hour on the hour then the bait in the barrel. The stare down went on for a good minute before the bear suddenly turned and bolted down the trail directly away from us. I looked at Jana and she just shook her head. I realized I totally messed up that opportunity and now the big bear was gone.
Five minutes had passed and then the bear did the unthinkable. ” I see him here he comes again” Jana said as she positioned the camera for the next encounter. The bear did an about face and slowly walked back in sniffing the air. Taking no chances I slowly drew my bow and waited for the bear to turn broadside. I remember picking a spot on the bear’s thick shiny hide and releasing my arrow. The shuttle-t ripped through the bear smacking the dirt on the far side. “I can’t believe you got him! He was about to get outta dodge!” Jana exclaimed still rolling footage directly to my right. We both replayed the series of events that had brought us to this moment in time. With darkness fast approaching we vacated the area to look for the bear the following morning.
The longest night is often the one when you replay the shot, hunt and everything that happened on over and over in your mind. That night was one for the books. The following morning we headed back to the stand and got on the trail of the old bruin. Within minutes we spotted the all to familiar shiny black coat hidden in the swampy undergrowth. Jana and I had just experienced the best of the best Saskatchewan’s Inland Delta had to offer and bagged two beautiful swamp monsters that will not only provide us with lasting memories but meat for our freezer to boot.