Bearly Kept My Buck

A local hunter shares the details of a close encounter with a momma bear and her cub.

Momma Bear looking for HER deer

Deer season is scheduled to close next weekend and I was running out of time to fill my California deer tag, though I did get a small buck on the trip to Oregon. I have seen very few bucks since the opening of the gun season, and I was happy to spot a deer down the hill where I live. It was a really nice 3-point buck. He had a big body, which is what I wanted to fill the freezer with meat for the coming months.

I got my bow and I went down the hill and got a nice broadside shot, the hit was perfect and took out the heart, the buck went just a few yards. I dressed it out and managed to wrestle it up the hill and got it finally onto the back patio. By now it was dark and getting late, it was cold so I decided the hide could stay out overnight and I would get it to the butcher at lunch when I got out of the office.

When I got up in the morning, I went outside for my usual routine of putting out birdseed for the wild birds, a walk to the road for my newspaper, etc. I immediately noticed that the deer had been moved, about 5 feet from where I had left it the night before. I was bewildered and wondered what the heck was big enough around here to move the carcass that far.

It could not have been a raccoon, fox, skunk, or even a dog for that matter; it was just too big and heavy. I went into the kitchen to pour a cup of coffee, and as I took the first sip, I looked out the window to see a fat, roly-poly bear cub waddling to the pond and got a drink of water. My jaw dropped…

What are you looking at?

I put down my mug and ran for my camera, having never seen a bear here before. As I came out I saw a HUGE mama bear come up the hill, onto the patio and head over to the deer. I stepped out of the house to get some pictures of which didn’t turn out well, but managed to get a couple shots of her standing upright looking in the picture window into the living room! She was downwind, and she collected her cub and walked down the hill and out of sight. Wow, bears in my yard…

Of course, I had to get to work, and before I left I looked for the bears, but they were gone. I would get the deer to the butcher at lunch. Had a busy morning, and as it happened, at about 10:30 a.m. my friend Joe that took me out for my trophy 330-pound bear last season, stopped by to tell me he had dropped off a promised cord of wood for me, and also to congratulate me on my nice deer that he was surprised to see. Of course I had to tell him about the bears in my yard that morning… he was shocked and amazed.

So, I get home for lunch at about 1 p.m., and my deer is GONE! I walked down the hill, and about twice as far down as the buck originally was, I found the deer, intact, but had a HUGE mama bear sitting over it preparing for lunch! She had also moved the gut pile down to her private little dining area and it was lying next to the buck. I had to shoo the bear down the hill and she was reluctant to go. I enlisted the help of my girlfriend to help me get the deer back up the hill and loaded it into the back of the truck; we were off to the butcher, safe and sound.

So, how was YOUR day?

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