A few months ago my wife fielded a call from a young lady from Michigan who inquired about hunting bear with Mountain View Drifter Lodge & Outfitters. She asked a lot of questions, most of which my wife who works closely with me could answer. She also wanted a call back from me for guide specific questions. We had a very pleasant conversation where I talked about the hunt we provide and asked her a few questions as well. She indicated she and her hunting partner both were interested in hunting black bear with archery equipment. I described the stands I use, typical shot distance and spoke a bit about black bears. Alissa decided to book her hunt with us for the first week of the 2015 bear season.
Alissa and her friend drove through the night from Michigan and arrived in Millinocket, ME around 11 a.m. on Sunday. After they and our other guests settled in for the week we served a meal of Maine lobster. After lunch we went over bear behavior, shot placement, and everything a new bear hunter needs to know to possibly have a chance of filling their bear tag. Next we moved onto proficiency with their hunting weapon. Alissa was able to group her arrows pretty well into my 3-D target, even after riding all night from Michigan. She shot well from ground level and from the elevated stand that mimics a hunting situation.
The following day found Alissa shooting at the 3-D target prior to the hunt. It was obvious she is a very dedicated archer. After lunch everyone donned their hunting apparel and gathered their gear as we headed off to the Maine woods in search of black bear. It took a couple of hours to get everyone out to their stands, and Alissa had to endure the long bumpy road to the archery stand I had set up in a swampy area that had a lot of bear activity. We walked into the bait site and I indicated silently where her stand was located. She tied off her gear to the rope and scampered up the tree steps and secured her safety harness to the tree. I then baited the site and slipped away to allow Alissa to sit motionless for the next several hours.
On this first day of the hunt I had no calls from anyone harvesting a bear. Once all the hunters were gathered up and we were heading back to the lodge I learned that everyone had seen black bears on their bait sites, but had not shot any. In Alissa's case the bear she saw, probably saw her too. It had started to come into the bait site, then turned and headed back the way it came. That's what bears do when they determine something is not quite right in their neighborhood.
Tuesday began much the same way as Monday. Alissa shot her practice arrows. We had lunch, and we headed back to the woods in search of bear. On the way in to Alissa's stand I reiterated that you need to sit still and allow the bear to fully commit to the bait. Alissa and I headed into the bait site, she climbed into her stand, I baited the bait and slipped away. Later that afternoon I received a text message; "Bear down! Dead 15 yards from tree". Well that was good news. I responded; "who shot", since there was no name on the text. I received the following,"Me!". Well I sort of knew who shot, but I had to be certain, rather than accidently walk in on the wrong hunter. So I wrote,"name". To which I received,"Alissa". Well now I was off and running. I arrived at the site, Alissa pointed to the bear that had been perfectly shot laying dead just a few yards from her stand. She climbed down and we went to admire her trophy. After some photos Alissa assisted me in carrying the bear through the swamp to the truck. We met up with the other hunters and headed back to the lodge for some well deserved congratulations.
If you want to be successful in hunting an animal you never hunted before, a qualified guide is a good place to start. But beyond that you need to dedicate yourself to practicing with your hunting weapon. Alissa's months of practice allowed her to even after sitting motionless for several hours to draw her bow, pick her spot on the bear and release her arrow, all undetected and executed perfectly. Congratulations Alissa on your first Maine black bear!
For those of you wondering what Alissa was using for equipment, this is what she shot her bear with:
2015 BowTech Icon (compound bow) 52 lb Draw Weight 25 1/2" Draw Length Approx. 238 FPS Easton Bloodline Arrows (carbon fiber) 100 Grain G5 Montechs (fixed blade) HHA Single Pin Sight QAD Drop Away Rest
You can follow Alissa on her other hunts on Instagram. Her address is IG: archerhuntress