Bear hunting is an interesting hunt. Any many parts of North America people love to hunt them, and in some areas, the only real way to be successful is by baiting them.
In heavy black bear country this method is pretty near unfathomable. But, in areas with lower bear populations and no true open grass land the opportunity to shoot one not over a bait pile is nearly impossible without a whole lot of luck.
The thing with baiting bears is they become extremely comfortable at these sites if they are regulars. The won’t really care about human presence because there’s a constant food source. Nothing gets between a bear and their next meal.
This makes bear hunting easy in some people’s mind. In others it presents a great opportunity to grow patience as a hunter. To pass up on multiple bear waiting for the big boi to show itself. It also presents the opportunity to hone in bow hunting skills with the close encounters it can provide.
This hunter, Clay Newcomb, had one crazy experience while out for a bear hunt. Using a traditional bow, a much harder method that is what we all think of when thinking of a bow and arrow. A bare bones set-up that takes lots of practice to have the confidence to shoot an animal.
The hunter takes his shot and misses a dandy bear about 15-yards away. The hunter is down on his luck and half mad at himself. That didn’t last long though.
A blonde sow comes out, a variation of a black bear that as irregular colors. A massive boar follows and is trying to court her around the bait pile.
That alone is a wild encounter.
But, the hunter waits for an opportunity to take out the big boy. He is hesitant given he missed just earlier in the day. As he passes up on a shot the bear wonders over towards him.
It looks right in his ground blind and actually bumps into the hunter’s arrow.
The hunter then pulls back and drops the stud of a bear.
That’s a heart pounding hunt if I’ve ever seen it.
And here’s the thing… people got mad about it.
Clay joined Steve Rinella’s MeatEater podcast to talk more in-depth about the crazy encounter.
“Up until he touched the end of my arrow, I thought I was in the driver’s seat… when my arrow touched his nose, that’s when I said ‘Oh crap.’ It was scary.”
Clay made a good clean shot, followed up with another, and filled up his freezer, but after folks saw the video, they had some complaints.
Clay revealed that he took a ton of heat, even from fellow bowhunters, about the kill. Many people felt like the bear spared Clay’s life and that Clay took his… not to mention, they claimed that he put a bad first shot on him.
But at the end of the day, Steve Rinella explained it like this:
“You’re hunting. The objective is to get a bear. You got a bear. Does it remove the objective if the bear touches your arrow?”
Pretty sound logic.
I’ve never hunted bear, but as long as it’s a legal, ethical kill, a well-placed and efficient shot, and it’s a mature, old bear… what difference does it make if the bear is close to you?
Especially, when using a traditional bow…. the closer the better, for both you and the bear… right?
You’re mad because the shot was “easy”? The bear “spared” him? Give me a break…