Saturday’s opening morning deer hunt was the quietest I’ve experienced in recent years. Saturday’s afternoon hunt was the shortest. Bear with me, I’ll make this quick as possible.
Saturday morning, I didn’t see a deer. I only heard two shots in the distance. Others said they didn’t hear any. Now I know hunters in Union Parish are becoming more selective, but I don’t think it was a case of letting the does, six-pointers and young eight points walk. A couple of guys who usually hunt near me weren’t even there. That should have told me something. I didn’t even see a squirrel feeding on the few kernels of corn I spread around my rice bran pile.
I did see a coyote. I let him walk, but he was bad nervous about something. He should have been. After he left my shooting lane and crossed about 200 yards though the woods to my son’s stand, he licked his last pile of rice bran. Boom! Adios, Wiley. Okay, I was wrong. I heard three shots Saturday morning.
It was obvious that Nature took off for the morning, but would probably be going strong Saturday afternoon. So after coming home for some nourishment and my youngest grandson Jack’s First Birthday Party, we loaded up and went back to the woods.
We just got settled in when the squirrels DID come out and start nibbling corn and a few pellets of Delta Magic (even though I put up a sign that said “Deer Food Only). That stuff is expensive, you know. I knew the activity started even though I was looking the other way. My oldest grandson, William. was in the other end of the 4 X 8 Tiger Bend Deer Condo and, as instructed, he tapped me on the leg when something walked out. “Two squirrels”, he whispered. Within 30 minutes, I got another tap and turned around. “Two raccoons”. Soon they were gone and we heard some activity in the woods. Deer had to be next. We both kept our eyes straight down the shooting lane.
But William did not tap me on the leg when he made his next game sighting. He quickly stood up from his camp folding chair and said not-too-quietly with numerous verbal exclamation points, “Poppa, It’s A Big Black Bear. A BIG black bear”.
Sure enough, it was. Broadside in the shooting lane about 75 yards away. About 300 pounds plus. Trying to figure out where that little boy’s voice came from. I quickly grabbed my phone and took a photo from my end of the blind and moved William to the end away from the door. I should have moved closer for the photo, but I didn’t know how long he or she would stand there. The photo didn’t turn out too good, but more on that in a few paragraphs. I finally yelled “Hey Bear” out the window and he turned and walked off.
I texted the photo to my son at his stand and it wasn’t long until he texted back that, with just under an hour of daylight, he didn’t want to shoot and be in the woods looking for a deer after dark knowing that critter was between us with his young son. I agreed. So we loaded up and came home. We know there’s no need to be scared of black bears. The same wildlife experts that assure us that cormorants don’t eat game fish have told us so. The ones that say alligators can’t climb fences. But if you haven’t come face to face with a big bear in the woods, especially with a youngster, you can’t really understand why anyone would be apprehensive at least. And Heaven help you, you can’t shoot one, unless you are Hillary Clinton. She probably could get away with it.
So our opening day deer hunts ended right before prime time. In our minds, we know what could have been, but wasn’t. Kind of like Florida’s football season. As I mentioned, my one photo didn’t turn out too good, but I have a credible young witness who has already started willingly testifying, starting with two guys from Texas at the Marion Food Mart where we stopped for a cold drink not five minutes from the deer, or is that bear, woods. He called his mom. His grandma. If he had a Facebook page, well…. And if you’ve seen him since then, he’s probably told you. I do have to chuckle knowing we made a memory that frankly, no deer ever could have. But seriously, I’d be Lyin’ if I didn’t say I’d rather see Les Miles back coaching the Tigers than have 300 pound Bears roaming round in the woods with me — and my grandkids — at dark-thirty, oh my.
So I close today with a simple message to the Bear Transplanter’s: You’ve created an unnatural nuisance, and used my hunting license and tax dollars to do it, to boot. And you didn’t ask hunters. Hungry bears now roam the piney woods of northeast Louisiana wondering where their next meal will come from when the deer feeders are empty and I think the deer population is going just about 100% nocturnal. And you’re driving some hunters out of the woods.