Monday, September 14, 2015

Women's hunting camp

In the Northern Maine woods, down a long dirt road surrounded by a beaver bog and thick, dense forests there was a small cabin without electricity, a phone or any sort of cell service.  In that cabin, five outdoors women sat with their guns ready to kill Maine black bears. 


The swollen stream flowed past us at bear camp. The rain would start and stop during my time at camp and we would hold out breathe to find out if we would go out and hunt again or if we would be rained out and the bears that we came to hunt will continue to roam the woods and fields.

Five of us were at bear camp and while we lead very different lives, our love of the outdoors and desire to hunt black bear have brought us together for these few days.  Some have been bear hunting for years and for others, this is their first time.  There is something about breaking out of your comfort zone that makes for an exciting time at camp.

"I'm terrified of them," Sue says when I ask her if she has enjoyed camp even though she never saw a bear, "I came here to conquer my fear of black bears and if I haven't, I've come close."  There are about 30,000 bear in Maine and yet each year hunters usually take only 2800 bear. These animals are smart, quiet and keenly aware of their surroundings.  Each night, we would split up and go to our stands or blinds and wait for it to get dark or for a bear to come in.  I had a sitting buddy each night because we all know how I am about sitting in blinds plus I was in a new, unfamiliar location.

Sue and Tammy ended up sitting in ground blinds that were really pieces of cloth hung up on a couple of trees to block them from being in direct view of the bait.  NO way was I doing that! I had a double tree stand that I shared with Robin one night and her daughter Taylor the next.

Taylor and I before we headed into the woods. 
We didn't see a single bear while I was there.  There were signs of them coming into the area but more to rip apart logs and stumps to get at the bugs inside.  There is so much natural food that it is hard at this point in the season to get bears to come to the bait. 

During the day, we explored the area and found mushrooms.  I spotted a lobster mushroom that I was confident in what it was and the fact that it was edible.  Robin cleaned them as we sat around the table and I took pictures to learn.  Did you know that just using the back of a knife will clean the stems faster than anything I have ever tried!?


I have never been to a hunting camp before and I only had a couple of days to get in and relax.  We made incredible food (steak, Guinness Mac n Cheese,  7-layer salad, pulled-beef sandwiches...) drank wine and coffee and talked about hunting stories, our preferred guns and scopes and played a few games.  We talked, laughed and caught up on life.

It was a great break from the world but too short of a stay! Maybe next year we will head out again and be successful in our hunt for a black bear.


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