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Cinnamon Bear

After 8 years of putting in, Dallas drew his limited entry Utah black bear permit. Since he drew a summer permit, baiting for bear would be permitted so the first task at hand was to acquire bait. After several failed attempts, we finally found an establishment willing to part with day old pastries and donuts for a reasonable price so we started stock piling.

black bear hunting carrying in bait  black bear hunting baiting site

                     Carrying in bait to first site                                        Done baiting second site, heading out

Finally the first day of the season was upon us, which also happened to be the first day we were allowed to bait, so we loaded up our gear and headed to the foothills above home. Since we had a couple of bait sites to set, we figured a couple of hundred pounds of donuts would be a good starting point. With our frame packs crammed full of donuts, we trekked out across the mountains smelling like a mobile donut shop. After the all day event we had placed our trail cameras, had set a couple of tree stands and had our bait in place. Now all we needed to do was to wait for the bears to show up.

black bear hunting hanging treestand  black bear hunting visitor was an elk

      Getting treestand hung was a challenge                          One of our first visitors wasn't a bear at all

Apparently the aromatic smell from our mobile donut shop did the trick because when we checked our cameras on day 3, they both showed that bears had shown up on the first day during the early evening of our setting the bait sites!

black bear hunting site baited with donuts  black bear hunting bait devoured by bears

                  A nice pile of delicious donuts                                  Didn't take long, donuts devoured within a day

The second baiting go-round was a bit easier since we didn’t have any treestands to pack in, but we were still a bit tuckered out by the time we had finished. Over the next couple of days, Dallas made up his mind to forgo sitting in a treestand and instead setup where several of us could accompany him on his hunt. So on Wednesday the decision was made to go check out the one bait station where such a setup was possible and take in more bait just in case the site had been hit again. And hit it had been! Here the shot opportunity would be no closer than 100 yards, so Dallas would opt to use the 7mm rifle instead of his bow.

black bear hunting bear at bait site  black bear hunting bear at bait site

            While some bears came in at night                                  A good number came in during the day

black bear hunting bear at bait site  black bear hunting bear at bait site

            Nice cinnamon color phased black bear                               Maybe caught this bear yawning?

To say that we were overly anxious to get out and sit over a bait site was an understatement. So on Thursday just after noon we headed for the mountains. We arrived at our bait site at 2:30 p.m., probably a couple of hours earlier than necessary, but we had nothing better to do than hunt. The day was warm, but the wind was somewhat unpredictable since a small storm was blowing in and bringing with it a slight cold front. The area we were hunting was thick with under growth, but we had previously trimmed the area in order to provide a narrow shooting lane toward the bait site. The valley we were hunting was mostly covered with oak, maple and quaking aspen, with a few big pine trees located down in the bottoms. We setup around the 100 yard mark and waited. Due to the thick cover, we were mostly focused on a very specific spot directly in front of us but would occasionally glance at the thick hillside 400 yards away hoping to catch a glimpse of an animal slipping through the almost nonexistent break in the cover.

A short indistinguishable whisper from Dallas snapped me to attention, even though I thought I was already alert. There at the bait site I could see a cinnamon colored blotch through the brush. I switched on the video camera and watched, mesmerized, as a bear slowly came into view and filled the view finder on my video camera. The bear instantly turned toward us and had its nose up, testing the air. At that moment I noticed the swirling wind, that we had encountered all afternoon, was now blowing across the back of my neck towards the bear. Then in a flash the bear was gone. I had recorded a total of 21 seconds worth of video, but that was enough to get our blood pumping and our pulses racing! I looked at my phone, 4:50 p.m.

black bear hunting shooting lane  black bear hunting bear at bait site

  Shooting lane, bear would show up here soon                             Zoomed in down shooting lane

As evening approached, the wind started to stabilize a bit which I hoped would work in our favor. And with new shadows constantly being cast across our donut pile, I once again put the binoculars to my face. But this time I could faintly see the fur of a bear on the periphery of our site. Seconds later the bear moseyed into view. At that point the adrenaline rush hit! Clearly the lack of experience judging bears combined with a high level of excitement caused the bear to look a lot bigger to Carson and me than it did to Dallas. In fact, Carson later recalled that he thought the bear looked like a big old grizzly bear. And I too thought the bear was bigger than it actually was. I definitely pushed Dallas over the edge and caused him to ultimately take the shot even though he had a goal to look over at least a handful of bears before deciding to shoot. With the wind now in our favor, we watched the bear for a good 4 minutes before Dallas clicked off the safety. At the crack from the 7mm Remington Magnum, the ball of fur whirled in a blur and was gone, 7:40 p.m. 

black bear hunting i went hunting bear
                                                 The boys with an awesome cinnamon color phased bear


Excitedly we recounted the entire event as we tried to calm ourselves down until we could wait no longer; we went after the bear. There at 10 yards from the bait site the boar had piled up, Dallas had his first bear!