By Keegan Rohlfsen
It was a gift from my father for my Seventeenth Birthday, a dream hunt of mine and I was beyond Xcited.
My father first told me of our trip to Bearadise Outfitters right after I got my new Xpedition Xplorer SS. Since that day, I had practiced shooting my new bow almost every day. It’s a shorter ATA bow than my other Xpedition, but this bow was Xtremely fast and quiet, I was on edge with anticipation to use this at Bear Camp.
Our first night we arrived a little too late to hunt. So we unpacked and did some practice shooting and also got some in some fishing. We caught a great deal of fish that evening it was non-stop action. The fish seemed to be on a feeding frenzy and we were only hoping the bear would be too.
The first day it rained. It rained quite a bit and it was cold. We began to question our sanity sometimes but we kept pushing through. We didn’t see much of anything on day one and we returned to bear camp empty handed.
The next morning Dad and I decided to separate and sit in different stands. I was a little worried because I wasn’t sure I would be able to judge the size of the bear all that well. Regardless, I was in the stand for nearly 15 minutes and the first black bear came out. I began to shake. I was told to judge the bear by the barrel and if he was bigger than the barrel he was a shooter. This bear’s whole body fit in the feeder so I passed, but even in passing, I thought the bear could hear my heart beating.
Shortly after that a cinnamon bear had made it’s way in and scared away the bear that was feeding. The feeling in my chest was unreal and only a few minutes later an even bigger black bear made it’s way in. This bear walked 10 yards from the bottom of my stand and walked to the feeder but never gave me an ethical shot opportunity. This bear was so big. He not only covered the barrel, his shoulders were touching the feeder, I knew he was a big one.
A few moments after eating, the bear walked right to my stand and put his paw on my ladder. He raised his nose in the air as if he was scent checking, then ran off. I thought that was it. I felt that I may not ever get another shot opportunity at a bear of that size, but I just didn’t feel comfortable with the shot that was presented.
After he left, two smaller bears returned and fed for about an hour. Out of no where, they ran off. This time, I grabbed the Xplorer SS and got ready.
The big bear came out right in front of me, made a few small loops and then began eating. With my bow in my hand, I reached down and turned on the Tactacam.
I was shaking like the temperature had dropped nearly 40 degrees, but I wasn’t cold. I had 100% confidence when I was drawing my bow back. I hit the trigger on my release and placed a perfect heart shot on the bear.