Friday marked the end of the bear hunting season in Virginia. This was my first hunting season that I focused more on killing my first bear, than chasing big whitetails. After a good buddy killed a 382 pound bear on our property last year I decided I was going to attempt that feat this year.
The bear season started last February for me. My father and I, along with help from friends, cleared two new fields on our property in Virginia. The goal was to put the only corn fields in for miles around. I spent an entire week in the spring plowing, disking, removing roots and rocks, in preparation for planting. The results were outstanding. In a matter of 4 months we turned a forested bottom land into a lush corn field. As the summer months passed on I got hundreds of trail cam pictures of numerous bear frequenting our corn fields. There was one problem, the bears ate all the corn off the fields by early September and bear season was a month away! Having changed my strategy I focused my attention on the heavy mast crop of acorns we had this year. Needless to say I spent many hours perched in the oak flats hoping for a bear to wander in. After many days in the woods I saw a great deal of deer and turkeys, but no bear. It wasn't until last week when the muzzeloading season for bear opened that I saw the bear I was after. We estimate this bear to be over 400 lbs and possibly make the B&C book. The only problem was, I was sitting on the wrong end of the corn field, and was not about to attempt the 250 yard shot. So I sat in the tree watching, realizing that my chance at a bear this season was quickly ending. I reflected on the many lessons I learned while chasing the elusive bear. For starters I will plan to hit the oak flats earlier next year, and search out ones that are hidden deep in the timber. We are also planning to get a higher percentage of the fields planted in corn this year, being as it was the first time the land had been plowed in over 100 years, we hope each year will get better and better. Another goal is to fertilize specific oak trees that I noticed had a healthy crop of acorns in an effort to make them the preferred tree of game. All in all I had fun with the challenge of bear hunting and feel completely satisfied with my efforts despite not having taken a bear. But so goes bowhunting, if it was easy I probably wouldn't be so in love with it. The one unfortunate part is that I’m left with only a week of good bowhunting before Maryland gun season opens. Stay tuned, I’ll be chasin them hard this week!