Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Treeing a bear

While we were up at the cabin last week, one morning some guys came to the door and asked if they could go up above the cabin because their hunting dogs had treed a bear. After we consented, they asked if we wanted to come with them to see it. I shot off the couch (Stacey was talking to them at the door), and ran upstairs to get dressed.

When we got up there (it was about 200 yards up the hill above the cabin), the bear was just laying down in the tree, not too concerned about the dogs or humans. It was a female weighing about 150 lbs. There were 12 dogs at the base of the tree just barking and going crazy. It was so cool to see. Here are a few pictures of the bear and dogs.

It really wasn't scary at all being that close to the bear, though it wouldn't be the same if there weren't 12 dogs right around me barking and really to pounce the bear.

Right now, they can't hunt bears, it's not bear hunting season yet. They just tree the bear to train the dogs. The hunters said that sometimes a bear can run for over 30 miles before it finally climbs a tree, so their dogs have to be in excellent shape to be able to run for a very long distance through the woods. They release the dogs in the morning and let the pack go and find a bear. Then they pull the dogs off and the bear runs away.

I was thinking that we would have to be 50+ feet away before the bear would come out of the tree, but we were only 10-15 feet away from it when the bear starting climbing (very quickly, I might add) out of the tree. Because I wasn't prepared, I was only able to capture this short video of it.

Download Video

We told the hunters that if they treed another bear nearby to let us know because there were more people coming up later in the week. Well, Saturday morning, they knocked on the door again and told us they had another bear. This one was a male, a little bit larger, and seemed far more aggressive than the first one. Here are some pictures of this one.

While I was taking pictures, the batteries on my camera died, so I saved whatever battery juice I had left for the bear coming down the tree (I was going to be ready this time). However, I only got 3 seconds of it before my camera died again.

Here's a decent video of the bear up in the tree:

And here's the 3-second clip of it starting to come down the tree:

Download Video

This bear was quite upset that he was up in the tree. A few times, I walked closer to the tree to get a better shot. Every time I did, the bear stood up, looked right at me, and kind of arched his back. It was quite unnerving, so I slowly walked away from the tree.

It was quite an experience to see the wild bears so closely, I just hope I never see one without a pack of hunting dogs by my side.

You can see all of the pictures from our cabin trip here.

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