(Find the link below to the KARE 11 interview with the hunter)
If you’ve ever done any hunting in bear country, you know how curious they are. We’ve all seen videos of them climbing stands and watched the various reactions hunters have had from bewilderment to panic. I filmed a bear hunt once where a two different bears started to climb the tree we were in and one I wasn’t too worried about while the other had my heart racing a bit. Here’s a link to that bear hunt.
How a person reacts depends on the bear. While it makes for great “likes” on social media to film a bear climbing your stand, I’d prefer to let that bear know that it’s not a good idea for him to get any closer-whether that’s with words, spilled water or, if it comes to it, my fist or weapon.
Of the two experiences I had, one involved a smaller bear and I was fully prepared to channel my inner Mike Tyson on him. But the second, larger creature had me shifting in my seat so I could offer him a taste of my boots. Bears are wild animals with teeth and claws sharp as daggers. Their reflexes are faster than you’d expect and their curious nature makes them dangerous as they have very little fear of humans. Fortunately, loud noises and aggressive behavior towards them usually scares them off. I’ve banged pots and pans or two chunks of firewood together to get them to move along successfully.
Recently a hunter in Trempealeau County in southwest Wisconsin was bitten in the back while bowhunting. The bear climbed his stand and started chewing on him. He’s fine, but what started out as a laughable encounter quickly turned into a dangerous one. While I wish newscasts wouldn’t make it sound like this hunter was in a “near death” experience, (because that’s how they sell clicks), the hunter said he was laughing about it as he was walking out of the woods. That being said, while bear encounters are usually non-violent and at times, an exciting interaction, any wild animal has the capability to inflict harm, particularly if it’s a sow with cubs. If that happens to me, I make sure I have easy access to a self-defense weapon because that’s when I start to get worried.
My friend Barry Prall at Trail End Outfitters frequently runs into bears while he’s baiting for his bear hunters and the young ones are generally within eyesight while he’s filling the bait barrel. Once he had to punch a bear in the face because it was trying to get the food before Barry was done dumping it in. It turns out that sometimes Barry can be more dangerous than the bears!
Glad this hunter is ok. Here’s a link to video from Kare 11: