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Clay Hayes
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Well, I know this isn’t archery related, but I thought some of y’all would like to see anyways. On Oct. 10(deer opener) I headed north to the timber while all the other yahoos were heading south to find a mulie. I headed to a place where, last year, I’d seen a real bruiser black bear but couldn’t get a shot. He was only about 60 yards and I had my flintlock, but there was some brush in the way and I didn’t want to risk an iffy shot.

Things turned out differently this year. Just as soon as I parked the truck and headed up the creek bottom, I was seeing scat piles that were a week or more old. I headed up the ridge, slipping through waist high snowberries when I came to the base of a grand old dug fir. Just at the base, there was a semi fresh bed and scat the diameter of coke cans. I went into stealth mode, slipping and looking, stopping and looking, and just plain looking. About 20 yards ahead was another huge fir and when I slipped to within 15 yards this bruin stands up on his hind legs to get a look over the brush. Instinct took over and the second it took to cock the hammer, set the hair trigger and squeeze it off, seemed like an eternity. The 50 cal. flintlock belched fire and lead, then all was smoke – the smell of burnt powder in the air. I knew he was big when he stood up so close, but I didn’t realize how big until the smoke cleared and I walked up to see his massive form spread on the ground. I don’t know what he weighed but I’ve caught wild hogs that were pushing 250 that didn’t hold a candle to this brute. His head measures nearly 15 inches long with the hide on.

I’m grateful to finally have some meet in the freezer and to have had such an experience with such a magnificent animal. Just as with that massive herd bull from a month ago, if it had ended with only an encounter, I’d still be grateful. Now, just one more week till the cow hunt opens and hopefully a year’s worth of meet for the family will fall.