“That bear” mentioned and pictured in P2 appears here in nocturnal fashion six hours later. Trail cams have immense value in revealing the history and actions of potential game to be taken during daylight hours.
We’ve had a general overview of a couple of techniques in hunting wild game and predators in the use of TREE STANDS and GROUND BLINDS. Of course, much more could have been said regarding other details. But the point of this exercise is to help us in the decision making process of what tactics to employ in a given situation, depending on the season and the game being chased in a particular location, whether on private property or government land.
Because there are potentially many variables involved in a particular hunt for a given species — or multiple species — we might decide that freedom to use any mode of hunting is the best tactic. That is, we may spend early morning in a ground blind and later , say around 11 am, to begin quietly roaming a wooded area followed by taking a rest in sitting on a handy deadfall or boulder, hoping for a whitetail to pass by. The style of hunting that gives freedom to do what could be considered as intuitive or “inspirational”, may be referred to as:
That is doing what we might consider necessary or important at that stage of the hunt, or because being “fixed” at a particular location doesn’t seem to be working, or just because we are a certain type that must “explore” (that’s me) or have a change from routine — that’s also me! In a cooperative deer hunt on Crown Land, I’ve often been the one who does the scouting for sign and the best locations. I’ve also made many decisions for the location of bear baits — largely because I learned how in eight hunts with an outfitter. I knew what to look for as the best habitat, and those who became partners over time were largely novices to bear hunting, or bait-hunting bears.
Then, there’s the curiosity factor — what’s over the next ridge? It might be better than the present location. Early, one bitter cold November morning, I was alone in hunting whitetail in the very rugged hills of Haliburton Highlands. A fresh snow had fallen over night, and after an hour of watching a thinly wooded area below me, I had this “urge” to move down to the old woods trail that would take me up over another high ridge, and then off the trail part way down this ridge to an outcrop of ledges where I set up to watch the bush below. There was a fresh set of tracks in the snow that went down into the thick-young conifers below. I could only see about 35 – 40 yards before my vision was swallowed up by that thick bush. I sat on my back-pack/hunting seat with my .300 Win Mag across my lap loaded with 180gr Hornadys. In no more than twenty minutes I heard the tell-tail muffled sound of crunching leaves beneath the snow by something moving up the ridge in my direction. In less than a minute a very fat 9-pointer appeared quartering towards me at around 30 yards! He collapsed at the sound of the shot that took him between neck and shoulder. By day’s end he was hanging in my garage.
If I’d not been flexible and followed my “instinct”, the garage would have been empty that night! And, if I’d been stubborn in refusing to move to a different location, I’d have missed a very important experience and lesson!
Intuitive thinking: What is it? What makes some people aware that they should take such and such an action, or not take it? Or that they have insight into a matter that others seem to lack? This is not emotional reaction or plunging ahead into something fearlessly without knowledge or awareness. Neither is it the result of thorough analysis! By times too much analysis can cause paralysis! And it’s not the result of communication with the dearly departed or aliens from outer space! It’s often referred to as a “gut feeling” that can’t always be explained to somebody else!
“Intuition” – “The direct knowing or learning of something without the conscious use of reasoning; immediate apprehension or understanding” – Webster’s NEW WORLD DICTIONARY
Some people have it, others don’t, it’s as simple as that!
How it works though, I think is critical, as making important decisions often hinge on its effective use. It’s not a matter of “flipping a coin”, or a worrisome disposition. Some are inclined to see “the glass half full or half empty” – no, it’s not even that! Some might say, for instance, “I knew that wasn’t going to work out well”, after the fact! But they’ll say that about anything that doesn’t “work out well”.
Intuition is having an awareness of what’s right and best between options that may each appear to have points in their favor. You know the expression: “Something smells rotten in Denmark”? Often it’s that person who has an awareness of a potential situation that’s not exactly what it appears to be! Or, on the other hand, it might be a person who senses a favorable opportunity that others are completely missing!
A Practical Awareness: Some places with hundreds of wild game — the warmer climes of our continent for example — needs little inspiration or intuition of where to go for certain species — if they can afford it. The same for particular African species. But the awareness of where to hunt and when, or not, for certain species that are scarce in a particular area, is the result of knowing the history of an area in regard to game populations, it’s ecology and any changes in habitat. For example, the area of Crown Land that I’ve traditionally hunted for white-tailed deer has dried up, relatively speaking, over the past few seasons. There are a number of factors involved. But recently I’ve noted logging activities in that area. That’s good news! Why? Just as logging on Vancouver Island results in the attraction of moose which feed on the tops of those freshly cut trees, as well as deer, and bear are attracted to the same areas because of fresh meat! Bear hunters on Vancouver Island walk those lumber trails and without fail come across several bears before the day is done! All such hunting activities are not the result of intuition but analysis and experience.
Yet intuitive people take in details that matter! It might be expressions on faces, tones of voices, little things that others don’t notice or seem to care about. This is “tucked away” and seemingly forgotten until a certain situation arises that triggers a “sense” — a “gut feeling” of what its significance is– for good or bad, right or wrong, profitable or otherwise. Certain hunters do that! Also successful entrepreneurs. It’s based on quiet observation of seemingly small matters at the time but its significance for the long haul is immediate in a critical situation or decision making. That’s one way of how I knew the best locations for bear-bait setups on Crown or private land. And I noticed the logging operation… Sure, other savvy hunters have also done so.
My first big game experiences for deer hunting involved a young giant of a man who was in charge of a logging operation. He, with his young wife and small children, came to a church where I was pastor. Knowing I was interested in hunting he invited me to their logging camp for a meal in the north-central part of New Brunswick, about an hour’s drive plus another mile on foot over a very rough trail. He said when they take down trees with their chain saws, deer are attracted by the sound, knowing they’ll have easy access to the tender tops of the hardwood trees. He added that they see them quite close most of the time. So after a hearty lunch with them, he directed me where to go toward the northwest until I came to an old mining road, then follow it to the west and I’d soon find a deer… And he was right! But that experience taught me to find the best deer hunting where they — the deer- find easy and ready nutrients. That’s near impossible for deer in an old forest with little new growth, or none at all. That’s not an example of intuition, but it might become so when pondering where to go hunting for any browsers! It’s also both interesting and informative to note that where one form of wildlife is abundant there will also be found several species. Wildlife attracts wildlife for several reasons — take Africa as a prime example. Predators are attracted to where cattle, sheep and other fauna are abundant, as another example.
Yes, I do prefer IMPROVISATION as a favoured mode of hunting. You may hate tree stands… do you know why? On two distinct cold days, I left my tree stand from which I was watching bear baits and went to my vehicle 165 yards away for a hot drink and another sweater under my jacket. On each occasion it was about the end of September (two distinct years) and late in the day — around 6 pm — when bears begin to stir. I was aware on both accounts that the timing was very bad, but it was a choice between freezing in the stand or relief in my van! So I chose the van for additional clothing, a warm drink and a break from boredom and stiff joints!
On the first of those delinquent misbehaves, I was somewhat jolted in my halfway return to the stand by my partner headed my way from his stand in a very excited, if not downright apprehensive, mood! He was making a serious effort to not cry alarm out loud, but I could hear his “loud” whispers from forty feet away! He was attempting to describe his apprehension at “the bear” – a big one – coming in his direction in an aggressive mood, while he was still in his tree stand as soon as I had left mine in the immediate vicinity! That became “intuitive” to me.
The second time was three years later when I was alone in my stand in the same line of trees, and got cold again. I left for warmer clothes and a hot drink in the van. I also turned on the radio. My departure lasted for about 1/2 hour. I knew that there was a good bear that arrived in the bush about 30 yards from my stand around 6 pm each time I was there. A red squirrel would give him away on schedule! But he’d not present himself to the bait site against the trees 85 yards distant as long as I was in my stand.
A view of the bait barrel at 85 yards from my tree stand. The bear was always about 30 yards to my left, hidden by the thick bush. If you want a better view, right click on pic, then left click on “Open in new tab”, then L click on new tab.
Before leaving my tree stand, I’d lower my rifle to the ground on a piece of yellow nylon rope with cartridge taken from the chamber and clip with three others in it. They went into my jacket pocket. At the bottom of the ladder I’d untie the cord from the rifle, rechamber a cartridge and press the loaded clip into place prior to walking to my van. In returning after about 1/2 hour break, I’d load the rifle again in case the bear might be spotted. At the bottom of the ladder I’d remove the one from the chamber and put the clip in my pocket, tie the rifle to the rope for pulling it up after seated in place again. But, I’d usually also look over my shoulder about halfway up to see over the brush in front of the stand in case of the bear being at the bait, thinking I’d gone home! Sure enough, with the rifle on the rope at the bottom, and the clip in my jacket pocket and a single cartridge in my other hand — there was the bear on the bait, and he was obviously very hurried in his activity!
Somehow, as quietly and quickly as possible, I got seated, pulled up the rifle, loaded the one cartridge, placed the rifle on the rest, aimed and fired, all in less than 20 seconds — with the rope still tied to the rifle!
The rifle was my 9.3 x 62 Mauser, and that’s all it took!<The bear next day being skinned by my partners. The hide fetched about $350 at an auction.
The lesson learned? Bears are opportunistic — so should we be! Some have suggested to have two hunters with one leaving late in the day so a reluctant bear will think he’s now safe! But I learned that a solo hunter can do the same thing with excellent results!
The point is that we need to be creative, flexible and, at times, “think outside the box”. Don’t get stuck with one way of doing something if it’s not working !
Til the next…