Monday, December 23, 2013

Home for Christmas

Since September 14, 2012, we have been waiting for our new arrival to take his honored place in the guest room.  Traveling from the Tetons in Wyoming to Council Bluffs, he visited us only briefly before taking off for a better climate in beautiful San Francisco.  I am sure he sat on the dock at the bay watching the ships come and go or however it goes.  In this beautiful city he experienced the enjoyment of a fine tanning before a trip back to Council Bluffs.  New clothing was what he needed now, and it was off to Montana for a quick backing job.  This took several months as the clothier was way behind on her jobs and could not be pushed.

Who is this new arrival?  It is the black bear I shot on a trip with Bob Barlow of Barlow Outfitting in the Tetons.  The beauty of this region speaks for itself, and it was recommended that the trip be made before the elk season started and after the wood cutters had been in the region.  

Staying at the Tetonia Mountain View Lodge, the scenery is spectacular as you can see the back side of the Grand Tetons outside of Jackson pointing skyward.  Hunting the area is even more beautiful as the fall colors are starting to come into their own.  The tourist season is over and the mountains are left to the quiet solitude and grandeur one would expect on a hunting trip into the wilderness.

This trip was one of the highlights of my life and I am so fortunate to have had Bob Barlow guide me to areas in the mountains where bear has been spotted.  The areas were berry patches that the big guys would go to feast to help themselves gain weight for the coming long winter that exists in the mountains.
Looking at the backside of the Grand Tetons from the Tetonia Mountain View Lodge.

On the picture below, is the location where the big boy stuck his head out from behind a bush about 75 yards down the mountain.  Bob had gone back behind me to look at another place.  What was more amazing was the cell phone service I could obtain.  Behind me into the valley below was Driggs, Idaho, and just to the southeast and over the Tetons was Jackson Hole.  This area, being a popular tourist destination, must have created the need for good phone reception.  My wife talked and I whispered into the phone.  Looking down the mountain a big black head peeked around a bush and looked up at me.  The wind was in my face. He could not wind me.  The sun was behind my back, and I stood next to a tree with a couple a limbs stretching across my front.  Seeing me would be difficult.
The bear stuck his head out from behind the big pine tree and bush on the left.

Whispering, my only words were, "I have to go," and I slowly lowered the phone into my pocket.  The bear then appeared slowly taking a couple of steps forward.  Each time he moved, his head looked away from me, and I moved the gun up.  This took several stops and starts as he would look up the mountain at me.  Bob said afterward, "He knew something was there, but just could not make it out."
After several stops and starts, the gun was laid across a branch and the shot was made successfully.

There he is.
We prepped him out, and 36 hours later he was at the taxidermist in Council Bluffs resting on a bed of salt.  Then the journeys started.  
This is a guest room and it is a queen size bed.  That will welcome some guests.

Upon checking him in with the state of Wyoming, they took a tooth and a sample of his hair.  Six months later a postcard came in the mail and the state estimated the age at 11.5 years.  This was an old bear, and now he is home.

The proud parents. 

 Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  Hank

Great book from a long time friend.  Add this to your library, I have.

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