I asked Kenny Prather to share a story here, and boy, does he ever have a story to share! Read and enjoy!
We were still putting away Christmas decorations when an outfit out of Tulsa, Neal and Brownlee, called and invited me on a black bear hunt in Saskatchewan. Because I’d never packed for a hunt that required an airline ticket, I started immediately and kept packing right up till the day we departed. When that day finally came, I missed my flight. I’d been so busy with the details of passports and customs that I’d read my ticket wrong. Thank goodness the booking agent was able to get me on a later flight. I made it to Saskatoon as the clock struck midnight. Not the comfortable 8:30 PM I was hoping for, but after a hot shower and a soft bed, I was ready for the four hour truck ride north to our base camp. We met our guides, Wheat King Adventures, at the last fuel stop in and followed them over bumpy roads to the center of 900 square miles of wilderness where a collection of wall tents set on wooden decks awaited us.
The sun wakes up early and goes to bed late in that part of the world, and we didn’t climb out of our stands until 10:30 PM. After a long day of hunting, the nearly two hour ATV ride back to camp, a quick bite of supper and a shared story around the campfire, we didn’t have any trouble sleeping. Breakfast was served at 9:00 AM, and we were off to do it all over again.
Because I’d never hunted bears before, I had no idea how to judge trophy quality. my guides offered tips and suggestions about what to look for, but those things don’t truly make sense until you see them fleshed out in front of you. So for the first three days I took a pictures of bears. Lots of bears. I saw four or five a day and even got a close up when a teenaged bear climbed up my tree. I was seeing bears, but I was ready for a different view so after a couple of days I moved to another location.
When my guide and I pulled up at the new location, something looked out of place. The site’s bait barrel was missing. It’d been casually ripped off the trunk or a tree and was lying some fifty yards away. We reattached it and were adjusting the tree stand for safety’s sake when I noticed that the treebark was stripped and wrapped in old barbed wire. I asked my guide if the bait barrel we’d just recovered had ever been tied to the tree that I’d be sitting in for the next eight hours. He nodded once and mumbled that it’d been moved just last week. Needless to say, I’d be on high alert for this hunt.
The new stand proved to be a hot spot of bear activity. The only problem was that they came in at daylight which broke at about 4:00 AM. I was late to the party. So when my guide stopped in to check on me midafternoon the following day and asked if I wanted to move stands, I showed him a picture I’d taken of a bear and asked if he thought the old boar might be big enough to shoot. I was assured he’d square over six feet. I instructed my guide to bring me a fresh charger for my phone, fresh water, whatever was for dinner, my sleeping bag and my .270 rifle when he came at 10:30 PM and watched as confusion spread across his face. I let him know that I’d be sitting the stand all night. When he expressed his concern and asked me what in the world he was supposed to tell his boss, I let him know that I’d paid good money for this hunt and that I was going to kill a good bear. He’d no sooner left when bears begin to trickle in. A color phase sow wearing a cinnamon coat wandered in with two boars in tow. One of them started up my ladder, but after catching an eyeful of my 1100 lumen flashlight, he decided against it and left.
Daylight came early the next morning and brought with it the big bear. The hunt was drawing short so I wouldn’t be taking any chances on filling my tag. I wasn’t going to waste any time. My crosshairs found his shoulder. My finger squeezed the trigger. My ears were filled with the bear’s death squall. Not a sound I care to ever hear again. I climbed out of the stand and snapped a quick picture, then climbed back into the stand since there was another bear watching me take that selfie. I radioed my guide to let him know that I had a bear on the ground and leaned back to soak it all in. I’d spent 24 hours in a stand. I was sore. I was hungry. I was tired. But I got my bear.
Do you have a story to share? Type up the details of your hunt, and shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Include a picture or two. I’ll make sure all your i’s are dotted and your t’s are crossed and publish on this website the story of your hunt for all the world to see. All I ask is that you then share a link to your story with your family and friends and maybe interact with those who might have questions or comments. Because stories are meant to be shared. And hunts are meant to be celebrated.