At 18 years old, Mississippi resident Hunter Coleman was fairly nervous about his first bear bowhunt. According to The Globe and Mail, it was the thrill of the unknown that brought him to Mike Grundman, owner of Saskadrenaline Outfitters. The young hunter was an accomplished archer, but this was an experience completely foreign to him.
As was bear baiting, a legal yet controversial topic among hunters. In Saskatchewan, where Coleman was hunting, the practice was still allowed. Veteran guide Grundman supports the practice because of its safety and often lack of “unethical shots” targeting sows and cubs. However, as Coleman was soon to learn, bear baiting has its own risks.
“I had asked Mike if they climbed trees and Mike said, ‘Yeah, but it usually never happens,’” Coleman recalled. “I jokingly said, ‘Well Mike, it’s going to happen to me. I have horrible luck.’”
The incident happened last year when Saskadrenaline Outfitters released a much publicized video of a rare encounter. Coleman and Grundman had set up the barrel containing the bear bait and were waiting patiently in their blind when a small black bear wanders over to the bait. It was soon followed by a large sow who made threatening advances towards it. In the blink of an eye, the sow charges the other bear straight up the tree where Hunter and Grundman were sitting in.
“What do we do?” Hunter asked.
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“Just don’t move,” Grundman replied with a black bear literally staring over his shoulder.
While not large, the bear was still a dangerous and frightened animal.
“Even a bear that size can do a lot of damage,” said Grundman. “They can actually kill a person. I was scared out of my pants.”
There was also the precarious threat of the much larger female circling below. The hunters carried only their bows and arrows, and Coleman found the lack of a firearm worrying. They spent a little under three minutes in the tree with the black bear and eventually it climbed back down. Almost as soon as it touched the ground, the sow returned and viciously chased the younger black bear out of sight.
“I don’t think I’ll stop shaking for another week,” Grundman told the camera.
Twenty minutes later Coleman was able to harvest a huge trophy black bear. You can see the video below: