Lowest Of Lows

Have you ever blown a shot so easy that trying to make sense of it is actually mind-boggling?

We've all got highs in our hunting career, and we've all got lows. And at least in my case, when things go wrong ... they really go wrong.

I'm just starting to get the 2014 Minnesota bear season rolling, but before I delve into that with updates for you, have a look at the attached video of my 2012 bear season. No one has seen this until now.

At just 11 yards ... yes, 11 yards ... I blew a shot at a Pope and Young black bear that would've weighted 400 pounds, give or take a paw.

What you don't see in this video is the bear standing against the base of my tree, peering at me from 21 feet. I measured. I wasn't shaking and felt calm ... given the situation ... but it apparently messed me up enough that when this brute finally walked back to the bait, I aimed low in the chest, just as I would were I hunting from ground level.

The worst part was that I didn't miss. I caught the near lung so low that it dripped blood, but not much. I spent 6 hours that night on my hands and knees tracking that bear through the thickest pasts of Minnesota bear country, and I went back the next day until I lost the track. And then I tracked just his paw indentions in the soft forest floor until I lost that. And then I went back every day for the next week grid combing and looking for crows circling a carcass.

I found nothing. My heart physically ached.

Look at this pic, and then have a look at the pic at the top of the page. The top is Luke's Bear, and this is of a 250-pound sow to show just how big he really is.

Then, 2 weeks later, he showed back up on the camera, bigger than he'd ever been.

He made sporadic appearances of the camera last year from time to time, but tags were filled without a sighting of him.

And now I'm back, with blood in my eye and nothing but "Luke's Bear" on my mind. Will we meet again?

Only time will tell ...