New Jersey Bear Hunt Recap

Show Notes

This week's episode of the Pennsylvania Woodsman Mitch is joined by friends and hunting partners Mark Lesher, Mike Lesher, and Jason Miller.  The four have a round table BS session revolving around their New Jersey hunting trip that took place Oct 9-14.  The area was new to everyone so we first discussed the scouting trips from late summer into fall.  The terrain and habitat type was much different than other areas the group has bear hunted in the past, so it was a unique learning experience.  From here we dove into the events of the week of hunting, totalling over 30 bear sightings, two bears and one buck killed.  A lot was learned on this trip - and we can't wait for next year!

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Show Transcript

[00:00:00] You're listening to the Pennsylvania Woodsman powered by Sportsman's Empire Podcast Network. This show is driven to provide relatable hunting and outdoor content in the Keystone State and surrounding Northeast. On this show, you'll hear an array of perspectives from biologists and industry professionals to average Joes with a lifetime of knowledge.

All centered around values aiming to be better outdoorsmen and women, both in the field as well as home and daily life. No clicks, no self interest, just the light in the pursuit of creation. And now, your host, the pride of Pennsylvania, the man who shoots straight and won't steer you wrong, Johnny Appleseed himself, Mitchell Shirk.

Thanks for tuning in to this week's episode, folks. I hope you're getting out and doing plenty of hunting. I've done a little bit of deer hunting this past week. I was able to to shoot a doe on Saturday, which felt great. It's always something about putting a good shot on a deer and it not going far.

It just makes you feel [00:01:00] confident. I did see This week I saw one buck that I think I probably would have shot. It was a pretty nice It was a seven pointer, but real big chest on it was probably a three or four year old deer Just got my blood flowing. I was thinking that if it came in I might have took a shot, but I didn't get that opportunity and Yeah, it's just There's something about late October.

Late October, to me, is always my favorite time of the year to be in the woods. And, looks like we're probably going to get some weather here coming up. It looks like it's going to be warm the end of the week, but it looks like it's going to turn and get cold again. And, regardless, I'm just looking for the right wind direction so I can hunt some of the places and some of the spots that I have stands for, that I think I have a chance of connecting on a deer, but is what it is. This week's episode is gonna be a little bit of a longer one. And I'm not gonna take too much of your time here in the beginning. I'm gonna, I'm gonna roll right into it. This week we are recapping the New Jersey bear hunt [00:02:00] that myself and family and friends did back on the show this week is Mark Lesher keep roping him into some episodes and we have his brother, Mike Lesher on with us.

And then Jason Miller from J Miller Custom Calls. He he decided he would save a little bit as a little bit of his vacation to do something other than turkey hunt this year. And I'm glad he did because it was fun hunting with these guys and we're just going to go through the whole. The whole shabam of what happened from the offseason leading up to this hunt how we scouted it, the back and forth in conversing with it between all everybody, we scouted this one spot, but sometimes it was different times.

Sometimes I was alone. Sometimes they were alone. We got to do one trip together, formulated our opinions and went in with the hunt. And it was we hunted most, most of the week when when the season opened and we'll get right into what we saw, how we adjusted how I [00:03:00] overthought so much of it, but then was able to connect.

And the spoiler alert was on Thursday, we had an incredible day with the four of us out there. Thursday was the first day of the muzzle loader. Season, so I had the bow out, and Mark had the bow out, Jason and Mike had the muzzle loaders, and it was a pretty action packed day. I killed I killed the buck, I killed the bear, and Jason killed the bear, and we saw some other game.

It was pretty incredible. And exciting. We just roll through it from the scouting to the hunting and what we're looking forward to, what we the shoulda, woulda, couldas of the trip come into question, and we talk about what we're excited for next year. So it's just an all around BS session, recapping our hunt.

We had a good time. I had a fun time recording this, so hope you guys enjoy it. Let's get right to it. Before we do shout out to sponsors Radix hunting, my my M core cell cameras have been starting to really pick up here. I'm starting to get some good scrape activity on them and I [00:04:00] really enjoy watching the videos come in just because I get to see the action pack scrape happening, where they're going from coming from, where they're going to.

I think that really helps in the videos, but the Radix cameras I've really been thrilled with. I have them on stick and pick accessories where you can mount your trail camera in just the appropriate way you would like without putting, a stick or something behind it. I used to make fun of that all the time, thinking, oh, what do you need something fancy like that for?

A stick works just fine, but I'm not gonna lie, they're pretty cool. They you can set it exactly the way you want it without a problem. It's a lot quicker and they're just pretty slick. Radix tree stands. I got a couple of those out, the hang ons. They're solid, they're quiet, and they're comfortable.

Can't say enough good things about those. Check out Radix hunting. And hey, let's get to this Jersey Recap Bear Hunt.

You guys came back from camp today. And that was Do you ever get enough bear hunting is the question? No, [00:05:00] I'm going up again next week. Oh, you're going up with the bow? Yep. Are you going? Nah, I don't think so. I have plans to go away. I'd love to, but maybe the following week I guess. We got two more weeks.

Are you going with the wife somewhere? Yeah. Oh, that's a good husband. Meanwhile meanwhile Mark over here was trying to figure out how he could get away on his anniversary. Yeah, I took a bear scout. That was good. You did, that was, it was funny because when we talked about going down the one day to scout, you said, Do you care if Shelly goes with?

I'm like, no I don't care if Shelly goes. I'm like, is she really going to want to walk through that crap? Man, she'll be fine. Oh man. Sitting around we're, I keep roping Mark Lesher back on to the podcast. Mark, I got brother Mike, and I got Jason back here, and we're recapping the Jersey Hunt. Which to me, I thought was pretty damn successful.

What do you think? I thought so, yeah. Yeah. Successful. It was unbelievable. Yeah, but you're the only one, unlucky son, that didn't see it there. The first part is I didn't do the scouting like you did either. No, but you were still part of it. Next year we'll do it. We'll do more of it. That was the thing I was, [00:06:00] I didn't tell you guys and I'll let the cat out of the bag early.

I want to show you this. So the imagery I was using for my maps, check this out. I, here, I saved a picture. I can do it quicker, but this is up to date imagery. This is where we hunted. That was taken, the picture was taken the 7th. Look at the corn. That's all the bear damage out there. Holy cow. I don't know if Mark can see that because he might need his glasses.

Mark can see that, don't he? This was, like, this was the spot right where we hunted. I was like, why didn't I find that earlier? Because that would have been handy, but there was a couple other places. Now, is that through that New Jersey thing that you sent me that link? No, this is this is Spartan Forge.

It's called Spartan Forge. To me, it's a little bit newer. I got it because it gave the oh, and actually pay the, state and stuff, Spartan Forge. When you buy a subscription, I think you get all 50 states for free, the properties. So I used it just for that. I [00:07:00] didn't realize they had this UAV imagery that was up to date.

So So, September 7th, I started going through the other night, and I was like, this would have been so much handier if I had it before we went, or realized it. Yeah, but really, would that have changed what we did? No. I thought everything was good over there. We might have stopped our scouting a little different, maybe, but...

It would have made me overthink more. Yeah. We all do that. Overthinking is not hard for me to do. And I think that was probably the biggest issue that I had, like, when we went down the first two days. I had it in my mind that I had... Two days to get it done, and I had to get it done when it didn't go the way I wanted to the first day.

I usually got discouraged, but I was glad that we walked around because it gave me perspective of the place a little bit better. But I learned a lot as far as scouting, but anyway we're flipping around this. We decided last year, because you, the three of us you went too last year, didn't you?

Yeah. We hunted different areas, but you guys went with the December hunt. Last year was the first time they opened it, and... Did you guys see any bear when you went that time? No, we didn't see any bear [00:08:00] sign. Not a track, nothing. So the area we went to, I found like the second day, really old scat. It was like barberry stuff in it.

And Josh went with, he saw a bear, just a glimpse. And that was all we saw. So then, fast forward to this year, we said we wanted to do this. I ended up making a connection with a guy, through the podcast and said, Hey, you need to check out these areas to scout. So I went, the first scouting trip that I did was the beginning of September and place number one was not too bad, but place number two was where we ended up hunting.

And I think I called you guys a few weeks later. I was like, I think I found the mother load. Oh, I think we were scouting that day. I was going to say, wasn't it when we were together? Yeah, we were scouting. He was sending videos of bears. Oh. Like maybe the spot we found isn't so good. Because we found like a pile, a couple of piles at that first spot and we thought, oh, we have a pretty good spot here and there was food there.

Yeah, but remember there was a tree [00:09:00] stand and a camera. Yeah, camera right at the same spot. Yeah, so we were like we're not going to waste time here. It was really hard deciphering that. In the beginning I learned the place we ended up hunting. I didn't realize how much hunting pressure there was or hunter sign until we started going into a couple more nooks and crannies because the first time I was like, I'm not seeing a hunter sign at this place.

We ended up finding that later. Yeah, but you got to remember though, we saw a lot of hunter sign, but not many hunters, no hunters. It seemed like those two guys had all the stands and cameras around. And they actually might have, cause we saw, I saw five guys, aren't you hunting? Two of them guys might've been the same two that you saw.

And we saw them right. Oh yeah. The muzzleloader season. Yeah, it was, that was a back and forth for me. So anyway, there was a bunch of scouting trips, but the first scouting trip that I did when I went by myself, I went to the first place, put a camera out, saw a little bit of bear sun, but when we went to this spot I didn't realize that there was corn close by and I [00:10:00] ended up seeing sign like I'd never saw before.

As far as bear, I ended up seeing a sow with two cubs and chased me out of the field. She came back when I chased her out. So that was a little bit interesting. But what got me was the trails that I was finding was just bear tracks. I didn't see deer tracks. So there was bear scat everywhere. And I want to know your guys perspective because when you went down, like right before we hunted, it looked like the sign was...

Not as prominent as the first time I went down. But I talked this spot up and then you guys came down and checked it out too. What was your opinion when you first stepped on it? First, I came down with, Shelley and I came down with you. Yeah. That was like the end of September I think, right?

We walked around and checked everything. You checked it out with me and we saw nice buck, we saw deer, right when we got there. Yeah, that's right. We saw a lot of bear sign and even Shelley said that one spot where I ended up sitting. When I took her out to that point and checked off that point, all them piles were there.

She's Is this all bear? [00:11:00] I'm like, yep. It's there must be a lot of bear around here to leave that much scatter all over the place. Did any of you guys ever see anything like that before? Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Okay. We did at our camp. Yeah. Okay. And I'm trying to think back because, when I was younger, I think back to going to bear camp.

When I was younger, there were years where we did drives and you'd have I think one year we had seven bear in a drive. Those were the years where we had food and it was bear, but I wasn't paying attention close enough to see what was specifically good that year compared to the next year. Now that I'm paying attention closer, I know it's food, but it's been like four or five years since we had food.

Yeah. Good food. Yeah. Which is right now we have good food up there too. At certain spots. I was going to say, speaking of you just came back. The four days that we were out, I bet I saw a hundred pounds of bear. It's got it all around. So there's spare around. So sticking before we go back into the hunt, when you were seeing that, was everything [00:12:00] adjacent to real thick cover or was it just anywhere?

It was actually adjacent to thick cover. Yes. But there was a lot in the cover too. When we were milling around and looking around down trails and stuff like that. So they were feeding all over the place and just in that one area. Then they moved to another area because I think there was too much pressure there.

So that We're finding a lot of more fresh stuff like in the last week a lot of the stuff We were finding was like a month old And we kept moving down further moving down for the next draft valley over the next draw over then we found a lot of fresh Stuff I was like, okay now they're here. So that's interesting because like when you think about the grand scheme of like big woods upstate.

I Always get lost in the monotony and right now what I was telling you earlier There's a lot of food, generally speaking, but I don't no one wanted to stay put and wanted to keep going. Right now, with us, it's, in our area, it's only the sprayed areas where they sprayed. Really?

That's the only spots that have it. [00:13:00] The food. Loads of food. What do they spray? They sprayed for the gypsy moths. Oh. Yeah. So those are the first spots we hit. And once we hit them, it was incredible. And it was only you could tell almost to the line where they sprayed. It was... Yeah, where all the acorns and nuts were produced.

Whites, chestnuts, oaks, red oaks. They all produced? Yep. That's interesting, too, because some of the places I went, like the one area that I scattered in September... I don't think there was I don't think there was spray in that general area. And it was only red oaks that I was finding. And I was trying to figure out, did that have anything to do with, like, how the frost hit and stuff?

That's spots too. We have spots where we looked on the map where the frost had hit it hard. There's hardly any, didn't produce anything there. Even though it was sprayed there too, even the frost. Must have did something that they didn't produce there either. And the Reds only produce every two years, something like that. Something like that, I'm not sure. Did, so like you were talking about pressure. You said you [00:14:00] guys, you saw people hunting and stuff. So you were hunting in areas with food, but did the what did you do then? If you found an area that had food, but you said the bear sign looked older?

Yeah. So you just kept pushing on? Yeah. Yeah. To the next spot that we thought down the valley over where they sprayed next or. Where there won't be so much pressure. Where we thought they might go. Where they might go to bed or lay down for, and hang in that area. Was all that just relative to, you thought it would be farther away, that people wouldn't want to go as far?

Absolutely. It's a little bit of heavy laurel too, that they don't want to go into. Yeah. Some of those places, and I'm going down a rabbit hole now, but, like, how do you find a balance in some of those places with access and then not chasing stuff the heck out of it in the first place?

Because that's a tough one. That's a chance you take. You have to do your scouting, you have to go in there, you have to set up, anytime you go in somewhere like that, even when you set up at your tree stands and stuff like that, you have a chance of chasing them out. Bear aren't really, I don't think they're going to run far.

Yeah, they'll go a little bit, but if there's enough food there to hold them, [00:15:00] there's so much cover where we were at that. We saw that with Yeah. Yeah. That's what surprised me. Look at that day. Look at that day. You were you were archery hunting over there in Jersey and you saw that bear come off the hill where those three guys talk for what, 15, 20 minutes?

They probably sat there. And as soon as they turned and walked away, he ran right over the ridge and they turned around. Oh, there goes a bear. It's yeah, it was there for, I could hear him talking, playing his day and watching his bear for 15 minutes. And if he would have just turned the other way and walked, they would have never known he was even there.

Yeah. Right on. And that happens a lot. I've heard a lot of stories like that. Anyway, we scouted and we saw the sign. In my eyes, it was the best sign I've seen. I scouted with Jason a week. I scouted with you. It was on my own. Jersey was, that swampy area spot was just unbelievable. The trails in and out of there.

The sign was, especially that week we were there, cause it rained every, I think every weekend for the last five weekends before we got there even and so we were out. It was raining like that weekend. We were there. [00:16:00] That scat was all it wasn't rained on, wasn't washed out. It was all fresh stuff.

That's why we could see it so good. And that's why it looks so good. That's why the next week when Jason and I went out and I took him to show him around, it was rained on the second time. So that's why to him it didn't look as good. So don't you agree? Yeah. But if you think about the week before when we were scouting over on the other area, like we saw 32 piles of scat and I was excited about it.

You're like, we got to find something better. I'm thinking, holy cow. But then you did. With him, with Mitch, you guys found it. And then when we went back, you kept saying, trust me. It looked better than this, but just the trails that were there. Like I was in the Poconos this weekend, and I told Mike, I walked around to one swamp, you didn't see one trail, where over at that spot, it's oh my god, just right where you parked, for crying out loud, it was, that trail coming across was heavy.

Mark, you and I went down for the archery hunt, the first two days, because the first three days, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, was archery [00:17:00] only, then Thursday, Friday, Saturday, was archery and muzzleloader, and that's when the four of us went down. You had picked a spot just over from where I had put my camera and ended up picking my tree out.

Why did you like that spot out of all the places we looked at the most? I think I even showed Jason when we went the week before and because of the ridge coming down, a nice little draw went down on the front of the ridge. It had food there to my right where the wind was always where they came in there off the fields.

To head to the big swamp. They had to go either along that front of that ridge or go up over top. So to me, there was a little valley going down through there where they could get in that valley and just follow the front of that ridge right down through. And we put the camera there and that's what they were doing.

That was a huge learning piece for me because when I walked around the whole thing, again, I'm overthinking everything. I was overwhelmed by how much bear sign I saw. So trying to pick a spot that I wanted to sit based on the right wind directions. That was a little bit tough for me after I saw all this transpire I realized the [00:18:00] way the where the food was where the bedding was and that spot you picked where they it basically was one spot that it made sense that it would pinch him down past it.

Funneled him down through. Yeah. And they were using it like crazy. And when we put the camera there and saw that, then we was like, Oh my God, this is like the spot we have to be. Exactly. And then you picked a spot that you wanted to check out. What did you like about that? First of all, we, me and him went over there scouting.

Mark said, I'm just going to sit here because he took his crossbow because he could hunt archery. Yeah, for deer hunting. And I walk up that valley, he texts me, hey, I saw three. I thought I had to be talking about deer. We just got here. Two more. I said, you're talking about deer, right? No, bear. I was like, oh my.

So then when we went, we walked all around like you guys did. What I liked about that was Mark made a good point. I think it was about Mitchell's area, how the grass was all matted. And I thought that's how it was back there where you ended up shooting your bear. Yeah, that whole meadow or whatever you want to call it.

That whole marsh was just matted down and I thought of that when Mark said it and I [00:19:00] was like, and it was funny because Mark said, oh, there's a big tree laid over with a buck rub. I was like, yeah, that's right where I was. And that's where you guys then put my camera. Because when these guys were archery hunting, I said to Mark, I haven't had a picture since what the day after I put my camera up.

They go over my camera got mauled by a bear and I was a big bear. I did see that picture. Then when I got the camera home, he was all worried cause he didn't have nothing on his camera. So yeah, then it was me too. Yeah. So the bear got it. But then when you guys put it at that other spot if you remember, it was like 12.

30, you guys put it there, and at 2. 30, I call Mark. We went in, Mitchell and I went in, and then we were scouting out that ridge, and we went up on top of that ridge, and as soon as we got up there, we were like, oh yeah, here's another pinch point, you either have to come around the front of this face, or come up over onto this main trail, and...

Out of the swamp and that's why we put the camera right there. Then you guys put my camera there. I call you two hours later. I said, where are you? Don't tell me there's a bear on that camera. I was like, there he is. We put the camera up and walked down about a hundred yards and we heard something [00:20:00] take off in the...

I don't even think we walked a hundred yards. Yeah, not even a hundred. He was just in that thick stuff right there. Something ran. Mitchell looks at me and he's yeah, it's probably a bear, I was actually, I would have guessed 200 pounder. That went on camera. It was a nice bear. Yeah, so before we get to Mark's like the opening day and what we saw the first day because that was the craziest experience I ever had between what we saw by 11 o'clock.

You went down Mike on Thursday with us and that was your first time there. So I wanted like into three days of hunting Like what did you think because we talked it up and you didn't get to form your own opinion until you were done I think the perspective of mine looking at it, it's, there was too many good spots.

You showed me too many good spots as a hunter coming in that didn't scout the area. So I was relying on you to go to spots, and I'm trying to, in my own mind, I'm trying to pick my own spot where I thought it would be a decent spot to go. So I wouldn't interfere in your spots, I felt like anywhere we went, we had a chance to shoot a bear.

It paid off, no doubt about it. There was opportunities there, I just didn't. It wasn't in the right [00:21:00] spot at the right time. You heard him though. You heard him pretty close. Yeah, one walked the dark. I would put money on it. It was a bear that walked by me in the dark. And the other thing too, you would, you had sat at a spot on Thursday.

Is it really loud? Okay, I'll turn it down a little bit. It had there was let me retrace my steps here. The you had sat at a spot Thursday morning and then Sat somewhere else there's the evening. Yeah, and then we're back that Thursday morning. Yep. Mark saw bear go across We'll get to that though.

So I want to go to opening day. So opening day mark and I drove down Monday morning and It was one truck in the parking lot when we got there I didn't think there was anyone there Monday. Monday morning there was that. I thought it was that little Nissan pickup. The guy went right in front of the camera.

Oh, yeah. Yep. There was one guy there because he walked by the camera at 5. 30 in the morning, right? But we had, we got to our trees. I hung my stand. You hung your stand. And you had seen the first bear. I think it was pretty... We were in by 6 o'clock. I was in we [00:22:00] were in by 6. You were probably in a little before me.

Probably about a half hour before shooting time we were in. Before shooting time we were in. So that guy, I knew he was somewhere close because... The week before, when we did our scouting, we had saw a ladder stand on the back. That's right. We saw a ladder stand. So we were figuring, I was figuring he was going to that ladder stand.

So when I set up, he must have been in already. I didn't know that, but he was still a hundred yards from it. Didn't matter. But then you had seen cause you're still pretty loud. No, it's okay. Okay. Is, I forget what time it was that you texted you saw the first bear. It was quick. It was quick.

I was like 7. 15. You text me at work. I was like, you're crazy. Yeah, we weren't there long. The first bear came out. It was a, I never heard it come. I was just looking down and I looked over and it was like, Oh my God, there's a bear. It's like right in front of me, there's a bear. And I could tell by the head right away, it looked like a female.

Yeah. But it was fat, really fat, short and fat. I stood up right away, got my bow, I drew, it turned, it didn't like, [00:23:00] Something, and it just turned and went along the edge and went right back into the thick stuff. So I drew back down. I thought I'm not gonna... She came out below me again. I thought I'm not gonna shoot it.

I'm gonna let it go because it's a female. And it was early. It was, it was the first day. Keep in mind, it's a backstory. You've killed a couple bear, and there were some big ones as well. The backstory is, I knew what was on camera. Yeah. How much do you think that one on camera weighs? I'm gonna say he weighs 500 pounds.

One is definitely 500, the other one is probably 400. That one is humongous. On the camera where I was sitting, there was what, five different bears for sure, that one, 150 to 200, a 400, a 500 pounder, for sure. We didn't even count the mamba cubs and all the other stuff. I was thinking, I was gonna see bear, the wind was They were calling for the wind to be one direction, and it was almost 180 degrees the other way for most of the morning.

That's what bothered me when I texted you or called you right away. He said, the wind's gonna be wrong for us now all of a sudden. I didn't like it, but, hey, what's the, what are we gonna do? We were there, we were gonna hunt, and I think I had seen, so we ended up seeing the same bear then. So I [00:24:00] would say about 7.

30, quarter of 8 o'clock, I had a sow with four cubs come down. And one of the rules with New Jersey with this new hunt is you cannot kill a bear that weighs 75 pounds live weight or 50 pounds field dressed, less than that or a sow that's accompanying bears with that. So it was one of those, is it or isn't it?

I didn't even get presented the opportunity, but they went past me. So I saw five bear there and they ended up coming past you like five, 10 minutes later. Yeah, probably within that, but maybe a little longer because just before that. That male came to me that long legged male came out, I drew on that one.

I thought I was gonna shoot that one, but then I decided I wasn't gonna, cause I didn't, I knew there was bigger ones there, and it was early yet. So I drew down, as soon as I drew down, there was a second one behind it. And that one took off with it just, that one took off and ran and fixed up, and I think it was that same, the first female that came to me, that real fat, short fat one, I think he was with her.

They were both together. So they ran into the thick stuff, the second one, the big male didn't, the [00:25:00] 150 pound male didn't know really what was going on, he was long legged, he just, I'd say it was just almost like the one you shot Jason, tall, not really heavy, but looked like a good sized male, he went into the thick stuff, and he just stood there.

Because I could see him yet. Then I heard some rustling to my left. And I looked down and then I saw the mom come in with cubs. And she came right past you too. Yeah, at one time I started videotaping and I had five different bear on my video at one time. There could be seven on there at one time, but definitely there's five on for sure.

And I was trying to Cause I saw she was a mom with cubs. I didn't know. I didn't think it was her at first when you said the mom of four cubs. I didn't think she'd be pubic to me that quick, but yeah, she was there that quick. And then you ended up, you said earlier about the small one later in the morning, like 11 o'clock in the morning, I would say 10, 30, 10, 30, 11.

We had texts and I looked over and I heard people talking, coming off the bridge behind me. The guy was in the tree stand. I could see down there. He was talking to the guy in the tree stand. And also I looked, I'm like, That looks like a bear standing between me and him. And I got my [00:26:00] binoculars, look, yep, it's a bear, just sitting there looking at the guy.

I was like, oh my god, he's just gonna sit there. Cause they were just less than a hundred yards from me and be in the thick stuff. He just sat there and stood there and sat there. I was like, what's going on, he didn't know what, he didn't want to run cause he wanted to go into the swamp. They were in between him and the swamp.

So he just waited till the guy turned and walked away. They got done talking, the guy turned and started walking away and he ran right over the ridge, right into the swamp. The guy yelled, oh there goes a bear! I was like. How many times do you think that happens when the time, Jesus. The whole time I was bear hunting, all them bear I saw that day, you could barely hear them.

Even when the cubs were running around and that, I could barely hear them because it was just that damp wetness. They just snuck right by you. And the thing too, like the woods you, where you were sitting, there was some hardwoods oaks and hickories and stuff. But there was a lot of that lowland walnut type stuff and that just doesn't produce that big heavy leaf litter Yeah, and it was really grassy where they were coming from too They came through that section from you towards me and it was big and it was high grass.

All of a sudden it just appears Yeah [00:27:00] It definitely was like that. Yeah, there was no doubt about it. It was so we had by 1130 the first day we saw again, These are, we saw the same five, but if you include that plus four, we saw nine different bear, I saw five, and you saw nine, including those five.

That was like nothing I'd ever seen before. But, I got really nervous when we were talking on the phone. It seemed like there was people over there, everything ran into the swamp, and I was afraid it was going to hold up, and the pressure was going to begin. And we, I thought the same thing, because I was like shocked that there was that many people.

And they had a dog with, the second group of three people came by, they had a dog with them. Yeah, there was three people walked by, later on, 11, whatever. So I don't know, the one guy had an orange jacket on, I don't know if they were going to check stands for, cause I thought they were maybe going to check stands for the muzzleloader season.

Yeah. Coming up. I thought, they're just in here looking at stands. Cause they walked all the way out the ridge end and went out through, and I thought, okay. And then Monday evening you stayed in the same spot because we had regrouped, I think we pulled the camera, we [00:28:00] regrouped, went back out, and I had gone around the swamp at the other end where the bear had headed in that direction for you, and I ended up seeing a sow with four cubs.

I'm assuming it was the same one. I'm assuming to, but I guess it's possible. She did go over the ridge into the swamp that direction, right? And she would have went where they came out of. There was another point of like dry land that wrapped around and they came out the inside corner of the swamp and went past me in 49 yards was the closest they got.

So again, it was a South Cubs, I didn't let it tempt me just because it was far and plus I didn't think I could shoot in it. So that was that. So day one we saw I saw nine bear in the morning, the bobcat and two doe. That's right. You did see the bobcat. I videotaped the bobcat too, right?

Yeah. So again, we had a day like never before, but I don't know why I just got really discouraged when we started seeing that pressure. And I was like, I don't know why. And I overlooked, overthought that way too much. But day two was when I was I should have probably just went into the same areas, but I went [00:29:00] to a different area, which was still good.

Where did you go the second day? So when you in that corner, you know where we made the little push to them on Friday? I was over there. So where you saw those five when we were scouting. Yeah, correct. That's where I sat Tuesday morning. Oh, over on the far side? Where we made that little spook jump?

Yeah. So I sat there. So I was there, I saw nine that day and five the day before. 14 bear in three days. 14 different bears. If I added it up correctly too, and I know some of these are the same bear, but between the three of us and all the days we hunted, including the same bear, there was 31 bear sightings.

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Close, but yeah, and that's all daylight shots. Daylight side. Not on cameras. Not the cameras. We had good ones on the camera that were. We know we're ones we've seen during the day. Look at it when, Monday, when we went back to the truck for that little, what, hour break or whatever. And we pulled the camera, I pulled the camera card and we checked the card.

It was, what, five different bear on that camera. And two of the big ones went by that night and the day before, and the funny thing for me was I'm living through this guy at work. I'm like, what's going on? What are you seeing? And he's Oh, I don't know. There's a lot of people here.

I don't know what we're going to do. And all of a sudden I'm down, I go down to Mike and I'm like, I don't know what's going on over there. It was good yesterday. And yeah, then if you think about it, the spot me and you scouted, I had a camera over there, which was about 30 miles away. Yeah. We had two cameras there and in three days [00:32:00] we had eight different bear on that camera.

So here we are making a decision. Yeah. Although out hunting , the spot where there's eight bear on camera isn't the spot we chose to go because there was a better spot. Think about that. Yeah. That's incredible. Yep. And we picked the right spot, obviously. Yeah, because we got, I got, I ended up getting discouraged Tuesday.

We got down and we scouted, which hindsight 2020, I think that was smart just because we saw a little bit more of the area a little bit better. But we went home and you already told the story. We were headed home Tuesday. I had to be home for the kids Tuesday evening for my wife. And we're on the way home, and you called, and you're like, Hey, there's a bear in front of my camera you put out two hours ago.

And that was like a kick to the nuts, is what that was. Yeah, you guys were debating to go back. I think you were actually fetching that other camera. We were. That's right. And then you were debating on going back. Because I texted him, I said, I'm still thinking Mitchell might go back, I said. Mitchell did, because it was Wednesday, I talked to you on the phone, I talked to you on the phone, I might have even talked to you, I talked to my buddy, I'm [00:33:00] like...

If you remember that talk that we had... You're like, I don't know what I'm doing. And I said, how about this? I sent you that picture with the three on it. That's right. And then you said some choice words. And you go, I was just ready to call you and tell you I wasn't going back. I couldn't handle it. I thought, All three of them bear at least a hundred probably 150 pounds or better.

Yeah, they were probably one of the ones I shot. I finally made my mind up, I'm like, look, I scouted this, I want to shoot a bear with a bow, here's my best opportunity, and I wanted to help you guys. So I'm like, why not go back? So anyway, we made the game plan and went back Thursday. I can't remember anymore.

You, Jason and I went together. We went on either end of this point. You went to where we, I went to that buck, rub that mark talked about. And then you pinned me the camera. Yeah. And I went right up to the camera and sat there. And the nice thing about that is it got light. I couldn't see the, let's call it a meadow that I wanted to hunt, but I didn't know there was that big one on my right side.

So as it got light, I was like, Oh wow, I can really [00:34:00] see nice. And then that's where I shot mine. And then, as I, after I shot mine it was funny because Mitch texted me, Hey, if you're going to shoot, give me a heads up with a text. He texted both of us and said, I think Jason's going to shoot one by 8 o'clock.

Yeah. We were pretty confident, by the camera pictures and that, what was in that area. But the funny thing is, it's I think Mitch and I talked, or maybe it was even the three of us. What we're seeing on camera doesn't mean anything. Like, how many bear did you see that didn't go on your camera?

I don't know. I ended up shooting my bear in the area where my camera was, but not where it was actually taking their pictures. You know what I mean? They all came down around that point. And then it was funny, because I shot mine, and 15 minutes later I'm on the phone with my buddy telling him, and...

I said, Oh, here comes another one. I said, I got to go. I got to call these guys. So I called it wrong. There was two when I shot. Yes. And they were both the same size. Like you could have picked either one. They were both the same size. I knew they were you know how I was. I said, if there's a hundred pounds or bigger, I [00:35:00] don't care.

I'm shooting. And I knew they were bigger than that. And then a third one came down the same trail. That was the same size. So I quit call Mitch. I said, Hey, someone got to move over here. I just saw a third one. I said, make it four. Mitch says, what do you mean? I was like, another one coming right here.

Same path and everything. Like I was just sitting there thinking one thing I was thinking if I miss I'm gonna kick myself in the ass for letting these walk, but then Mitch came over as I was still sitting there and got set up in your tree then Mark came over And Mike came over, and we ended up all...

Oh, that's right, You said you wanted me to come over and help look for it, because you didn't want to lose your spot. Yeah, I didn't want to get out of my tree until someone went and marked the spot. And then Mike stayed with all of our gear. Yeah, but you were pretty sure you had hit it. Yeah, I didn't realize it was going to take all day to find it.

Do you want to get into that quick? One thing I can say, and I think I said this to Mark out in the field, I think that was the best track job I was ever a part of. This guy is like a freaking hound dog. But I think we each had our good [00:36:00] points, yeah, we worked together really well.

Yeah, and we got to a point where Mark saw it. It caught up, we kicked it up, and we could just see it go into the... And that was at least I gave it an hour. And that was probably an hour into it. And then, we talked about what we wanted to do, so we start tracking. And we get to a point where, literally, we were seconds away from giving up.

Would you agree? I would say yes. Because he's yeah, we're way out here, what do you think, three quarters of a mile? By that time, it was probably lethal. 10, 30, 11. It was right at 10 o'clock. Oh yeah. Because Eddie shot about eight o'clock. Yeah, he shot at eight. We were ready to turn on and leave because I said I'll look this way for blood.

You go along that the middle, it was like a log that went over the creek over, and this wasn't pretty open hardwood. You were in some nasty cat tails, small falling. You couldn't see 10 feet most of the time. At this point we were on. The edge of that island, where we could see a little bit, but all of a sudden I agree, Mark, it is what it is, now I'm mad at myself what did I say, I'm done, I'm not shooting another one.[00:37:00]

And then we turn around to walk away and I was like, in my mind, man, look at this rope down here. Oh, you said it too, rope. Yeah, I said, there's a rope here. I turned around and I was like. And I go down and I touch it. I was like, no, wait a second. This is a game changer. He said, this ain't real. I was like, I heard that before.

I knew I, I figured I hit it back at this point after we jumped it. And it got caught up on something and, that changed the game. Yeah, pulled the intestines out. Wouldn't you say at least 25 feet? It was a long piece. We both, right there, we're like, okay, this bear's dead. Can we find it?

So we made a decision to sit. So I gave Mark my muzzle loader and said, Good night. I fell asleep for a while. And then when I remember waking up looking at Mark, he said, one more hour. We wait in an hour. And then he said it should be within 100 yards. And by this time now, you're talking four hours after the shot.

So we knew , it should be somewhere within the next a hundred yards. But that turned into a nightmare. Out of the cattails into a meadow and [00:38:00] then into another thick spot. Stick into another thick spot, tunnels. And I crawl into this bush 'cause Mark spotted a piece of blood. And I say, here, take the gun.

It was so thick I couldn't carry the gun. So I get into this thing, army crawling, army crawl over this log, and now I'm like tied in there and I said, mark, walk around the bush. There's two tunnels going out. I wanted him to find which one it went out, that way I didn't have to move around much in that bush.

And he comes across, he goes, ah, here's tracks on this one. I looked in the hole and I could see where the mud was. I said, oh, there's a set of tracks in the mud there. Yeah, so I don't know what made me look to my right, but when I look to my right, you're talking, wait, what? Four feet away from me, I just see this thing laying there staring at me, and I was like, oh my god, and I'm staring at it, and luckily, it was expired, but it had its head.

Up against the bush. So I wish we would have took a picture. I know. It's just like sitting there like this. It was just sitting there like it was looking at me. I'm going to tell you, if I didn't have a heart attack then, I don't know if I'm going to have one. [00:39:00] Because I said to him, I got to come out. I came out and I said, you got to go in there and see how this thing is laying.

He goes in and he goes, oh my God. It was just laying there looking at me. But then we high fived and carried on because I'm telling you, I've trailed a lot of things with a lot of people. I don't I would have to say, yeah, and I would have to say 99 percent of hunters would have never found that animal just because we didn't quit and it was like one of us couldn't find something someone else did, but that little drops of blood or something he brushed against or yeah, and that Bush that he went in, had I not looked to the right, I would have crawled out of that and never knew he was laying in there.

So we were high fiving and carrying on and he was actually a little nicer than I thought. He was 150 pounds, but... Dressed. Field dressed. Yeah, field dressed, but, he had a pumpkin head on him and he was long, he was a nice bear. He just wasn't filled out because they didn't have acorns and food there.

So what do you... He had no fat. he was like a two year old, ten month bear? Yeah, definitely two year, ten months. I think if he would have had fat, he would have been 190 pounds, [00:40:00] 200 pounds. Yeah, I mean he had the length, because I remember pulling him out, like he was stretched out a good ways, and his head was big, but.

I sent you guys that text, but I'm going to read that here. I had I think it was last year, I had the Pennsylvania bear biologist on the show, Emily. And I had reached out to her after the hunt and I said, Hey, I said, I'm just curious your perspective. We killed some bear in Jersey and I said, when I checked the gut pile and I was checking scat and stuff, everything had mile a minute autumn olive and barberry in it and bittersweet berries.

I said, so is this normal or is this just a lack of food? That's all they had. And her response is exactly what we thought it was it's just opportunistic feeding She said it's probably nowhere else to go and there's no other food source I said the only other food source in the general area was corn, but when they were out bedding They were just eating those berries, which they said are just low very low value So did she say why she thought they were hanging around there?

Just Yeah, it's a good habitat, but especially those big males. I know the cornfields are to [00:41:00] keep them but Yeah, there's no acorns or nothing else for them to eat. So and her response is, she said to me She said it's really hard to say why she said my assumption would be that like we were talking about the bear Population was so dense.

I don't think the resources of where they're gonna go Was limited. Yeah So it makes me wonder Mike and I talked about where were they gonna go? That's not that's limited Food anyway, so and there's so many bear there already. They had to think about that one guy you ran into. He said that one particular, I forget what swamp it was called or whatever.

But he said, if you go there and you don't kill one in three days, you should sell your stuff or something like that. Cause there was that many bear there. Yeah. So if it's like that in a lot of the places, where are they going to go? And that makes sense. But I just never would have fathomed anything like that.

But so you guys had your bear by what? 1130. 12. 12. I was gonna say we sat till 12. We sat till one close it. It had to be one o'clock. We around o'clock till we found it. One 10 I think it [00:42:00] was. Was it that you had found your buck 'cause you sent us a picture, you two with your buck, right? When we found it.

Yeah. 'cause Mike, matter of fact, and said he saw deer a buck then. The little while later call, he's Hey, I just found a deer laying up here. I was like, what? He goes, Mitchell wants a shot. And again, Mitchell, how far did you shoot at that thing? Now I'll tell that quick. So if you had went over set behind me on the point and.

Is that not the only thing you'd seen over there, that buck? Yeah. So you sent me that picture at 12. 35. Yeah. And we were sitting with mine then, because I said, Oh, I'm going to quick send that, and I sent that to you at 12. 46. Yeah, 12. 46, because we just found it. Was that the only thing you had saw, Mike, was the buck?

No, I saw at that point, yeah. Okay. And he walked around me for a while. I videotaped him, I took pictures of him, and he headed your direction, which was, that's why I found him. Because it's amazing to find out that the buck came back the same trail that he went in on. The [00:43:00] funniest part about that was, so I heard him, I heard this deer come and I looked back and saw it, and it clicked, and I'm like, I can shoot that, it's an illegal buck.

And I'm like, why not? So I started getting situated with a wing cannon. Shifted and he smelled me. And he made a loop. He literally walked. Plus he walked by all our gear. Past Jason's climber. And the backpack. And my tree stand. Literally walked Touching distance from that stand. His boat was laying there too I think.

All the stuff was laying there. He walks around that and goes over to an opening and I call it excitement. Call it stupidity. Whatever it was. I just kept thinking, I gotta figure out how to get a shot at this buck. And I ranged it, kept ranging, I couldn't get a range. Finally I got a range, it was 45 yards.

And I thought, ah, I can make that shot. Hindsight, I should have never took the shot. From your angle, it was plenty open. It wasn't like you were shooting in a heavy thick area. It was open. And it was broadside, but the problem was... The deer was [00:44:00] alert. Yeah, he knew. So something was wrong. He knew.

So he was gonna move when you and he, like I said, he I, he stopped, I squeezed one off. It was a good release. And right when I shot, he already was taking a step and then he wheeled the leave and I didn't see where I hit. I didn't hear it hit nothing like that. I just ran back your direction and two hours later I see I had saw those three young bear, because right after I'd say, I stayed in the tree, and these three bear come in, they were all cubs.

They headed your direction, and then all of a sudden they ran back. I thought, what are they running from? Then I look, and here you come. I'm like, why is he walking stupid? And I look, and he's dragging my deer. So in the meantime, after he shot, I waited a while. Then I thought, I'm going to mingle back through here again, because I knew where the buck went.

Towards him, I figured if he shot it, it's probably going to come back the same trail. So I walked back, sneaking through, and then I happened to look down and found a little blood. And I followed it, went like 30 yards, and there he lay. Yeah, and it was like, what, 50, 60 yards [00:45:00] from where I shot him? Yeah, it wasn't, he didn't go far.

No, and I'll be transparent, I ended up hitting him in the ham. Yeah. And must have caught an artery and killed him. So I was sitting there, kicking myself, like, why did I take that stupid shot? And I got lucky and got him. We had a buck and a bear by noon. And I don't know about you guys, but I was tired.

You didn't give him the story to start with because we left at, most of us had ventured out at 2 o'clock in the morning already to head over there. I think we were there at 5 o'clock on Thursday morning. Yeah, we all knew we were going to take a nap sometime that day. It didn't happen for me, except for this guy.

Yeah, it did. How long did it take me to fall asleep, mark for three seconds. . No, that's why I actually got up and moved too. 'cause I was so tired in the tree stand. I'm like, I gotta get up and move a little bit. And I figured what's, might as well head towards Mitchell since he shot at a deer, right? Yeah. I think I said to him, let's take turns.

You sleep a little bit and he was asleep already. , I guess he figured he was getting the first. [00:46:00] Yeah. I figured why should I watch you? You're the one shooting the bear if you saw him. That was a nice spot though. We found that. Yeah, we could find Now see that's another spot. Now we found.

Yeah, more spots to look at. Found the old den in that. Yeah, because actually the way we took that bear out would be a nice way to get in there. Plus that guy has a camera in there too. Was there one on that hill? Yeah, remember right where we found the bear there was a camera. Oh, but not over where we were.

No, not over where we were, but right where we found the bear. What time I can't remember anymore. What time did we have the bear and the buck back to the... 30 we were going to be done. Yeah, I was going to say Mark said 4. 30 and then I remember him looking and saying right on time. Yeah, we carried the bear back to the truck and you had quartered my buck.

And at 4. 30 we were done, we headed back to the tree. I don't know, I went to the check station. You went to the check station, yeah. So you ended up, did you go to the same, yeah you went to the same tree. Yeah, I wasn't going to give up that spot. Yeah, why wouldn't you? Yeah, and remember before... Before I left, Mark said, Are you sure [00:47:00] Muzzleloader season is open today?

Because we didn't hear any other shoot. We didn't see any other guys. No, there was nobody. There was nobody there. We were so worried in the first part of the week when we saw guys. We thought they'd be getting ready for Muzzleloader season. And we pulled into the parking lot Thursday morning. There wasn't a soul there.

Yeah. We didn't see a guy all day. We saw nine different tree stands. And like four of them within the last, since Monday. Yeah, somebody put them stands in that week's time. Then I get to the check station, they're weighing my bear outside, the lady says, Oh, you gotta go in to sign something or whatever.

I go in the game warden says, Hey, did you get that with the bow or the crossbow? And I'm like, oh boy. And his heart started pounding. Yeah, and I'm thinking, do I lie? But I was like, I can't lie. I said the mouth water? He goes, oh, that's right, that started today. I was like, Jesus, buddy, you gave me a heart attack here.

Because we had just talked about it. And you were the first bear in that day. Yeah, and that was... 4. 30. Yeah, 4. 30. Because they said, oh, we're hoping you start [00:48:00] the late run of people showing up. And it was because that evening, I think I was the 15th or 16th one or something like that. But still, all day long, you were the first one.

But I'm telling you, the first heart attack I ever had was crawling in on that bear. And when that guy said that, I'm like, oh man. But I thought I got to tell him the truth because the bear's laying right there. He could look at it and see it wasn't hit with a bow. But yeah, that started today. Even your expression when you said, there it is, he's right here.

I'm like, right where? We're two feet apart. Yeah. Then I crawled out and made him go in and look at it. Yeah. Yeah, and then you pulled it out. Oh, we all chugged it out. No, out of the bush. Except the shooter. Except the shooter. I have that on video. Did I show you guys when he pulled it out of that bush?

Yeah, you did. I think you did, yeah. Cause that even my wife said, you could tell a story, you could try to picture it. She goes, but seeing that bush that thing was in, she goes, that's amazing. Yeah. Mark disappeared into it. Yeah. Yeah. What are you, six foot four? Yeah. And he's wearing blazed orange.

You can't see him five feet away from you. That's how tight that bush was. And even she said that. I'm glad you had that video, [00:49:00] because if I know how big Mark is, you can't even see him in there. And the other thing I learned with that too whenever a game is wounded, where does it go? It goes to the place that feels the safest, right?

Yeah. When you, when it takes you into those places, and you see where they're laying, it's no wonder you can walk behind that and have a clue. It's amazing how much cover. Oh, yeah, especially there. It's insane. That swamp is unbelievable. Yeah, the area we hunted, yeah, that area we hunted. That bush, you could literally walk around the outside of that.

One could stay in it. You would have no clue what was in there. Take, take that into the wall that we hunted on. It's the same thing. Yep, yeah. I used to always think that they always ran, but I definitely don't believe it. You can see how they would just watch you go right by. Yep. We learned that when it snowed one day.

Yeah. We walked right past them. Their tracks went right by our tracks in the snow. After we circled back around. You said you've watched them already come out, and then get to a certain point, and then just double back. Back, right back, yeah. Absolutely. I think over [00:50:00] here in New Jersey, it's just...

They don't, yeah, they're so thick and there's, they're only going, they're not going far for the food. So they're just going in and out of the swamp there and stickers are so high and thick, they can go anywhere and hardly be seen. They don't have to get in the opening at all. They're not visible.

That night when you guys left on Friday after lunch and me and Mike went out, he sat in a where I guess you were where Mark was, right? The night before, because he had seen those three. Yeah, about a hundred yards. And then I went down and just jumped in a stand. And, I don't know, it was like 6.

15, I look to my left, Mike's to my right, and I see a pretty nice sized bear. Yeah. Because I text Mike it's not between us, so I can push it. But that thing there, if I wouldn't have been looking there, At that exact minute, Yeah. He would have never knew That split second. Yeah. And I don't even know if I would have got a shot with a muzzle or at it, because it was, Not so quick, but just a couple things in the way here or there, but yeah, it's amazing like I think they move over there because first of all, it's not like Pennsylvania.

They're not hunted that hard. It's been closed [00:51:00] for three years. So Like I don't think we're a threat really Sure doesn't seem like it. No. Yeah, cause when I videotaped that mom with cubs, she stood up on her hind legs and looked right at me and was trying to smell me when her cubs were there when I chased her cubs.

She didn't know what was going on. And back to the story though, we had to go back, we had to go back for all our equipment yet after we got a bear and a buck out. So that, that starts the second half of the story the same way. I had left my stand in the tree, I packed everything, all I had to do was pull my bow up and then all your stuff, I think your tree stand was there, pack everything.

You took, Mark took your bow out because you ended up sitting at the spot you've been. Yeah, I was going to sit at a different spot, yeah. But, Mike and I went back and I ended up sitting in the same tree and you went back on the point behind me, which, there was bear sign there. Oh, absolutely. And you ended up, what, did you see anything?

I didn't see anything that night, no. Later I did, the next time I hunted there I saw the three doe. You saw some doe. Yeah. But you had said you thought you heard something, yes, I could hear stuff in the swamps. But it, like I said to my brother Mark it's so thick [00:52:00] below me that, Like we've been voicing it.

You can't see more than 50 yards, even though it looks open. To the naked eye it looks like it's open, but it's just so thick that you're like concentrating on an area, and if he walks 20 feet away from that, you'll never see him. I could hear him, but I couldn't see anything, I was wondering that too, if you sit at a place at the edge of the cattails, could you see him weaving in those cattails and you couldn't see five feet.

I was actually walking in there. Yeah, I turned around and I looked back and Jason was like, I'm like, where did he go? He's I'm right here. I'm like, Jesus. He was only five feet away from me, but I couldn't see him in the cattail. I just wondered if you'd be able to see just the cattails moving just enough that you'd see him moving in and out.

That's tough in and of itself. I watched you guys. Yeah, you can't do anything. When me and Mark went in there following mine, it was almost like a tunnel. And luckily you could see the blood brush up. Yeah, the blood when he ran or whatever. If he would have darted across an open grass field, we would have never found him.

But because the tunnel's in there, Hell, there for the [00:53:00] first couple hundred yards, it was just walking, because you knew he had, he couldn't get off anywhere else. Yeah even I said to them, too, that even the buck you shot, that when I saw him, I only saw the rack first. That's what made me I looked over to my left and happened to see, it looked like something weird sticking in a bush, and I looked at it, and finally it moved, and it was a rack.

It was 50 yards from me and, which I thought was wide open, to the naked eye looking at it, I thought it's wide open. And when I seen the vacuum, I'm like, oh my gosh, like this bear could be 50 yards from me, I'll never see it. So even though there's so many bears, it's no wonder that they can invade quickly.

Yeah. Oh, absolutely. Yeah. If the wind isn't right or something, you won't. They'll go right around you, and that was another big takeaway for next year, I want to so we scoured the area, we knew there was a bear there. I want to do a better job of saying, Hey, if we've got X, Y, Z wind directions, I would want to sit.

I still think we should go back there again, scouting and do the backside of that lake. Like we found my bear down the left side, that right side looked hardwoods over there. Yeah.[00:54:00] We didn't even get there. We didn't even want to scout it. We never got to scout it. I know, just not enough hours in the day.

Yeah. But, yeah, I ended up shooting my bear then Thursday evening, basically the same spot Jason shot his. The direction all the bear went that morning is the direction from which mine came. And it was, I think I was in the tree like quarter after five, and six, a little after six sometime, I looked up and I just saw it.

And threw my binoculars up. I saw it wasn't a very big bear. I said it was probably like a 120 pound bear was my thought. I think it was a little smaller than that yet. It was. It was, I was like, it's probably like that club. But I knew it was a legal bear and I wanted to shoot one with my bow. And I ended up sneaking in.

It was open grassland there. And it walked straight at me. And it was a point in the night where the thermal was really starting to pull towards the water at the cattails. It was about 40 yards paralleling the cattails, and it started getting closer [00:55:00] and closer to the cattails.

And by the time it got within bow range, it was behind a tree, and it was starting to whiff. It was starting to stick its head up, and it went behind a tree, and I drew my bow back. First, I ranged it, and then I kept struggling to get it in range. Finally, I got 23 yards, I thought. It looks further than 23 yards, but okay, I just kept my 20 yard pin on, I drew back, and I'm holding, and I'm holding, and I'm holding, but where is this bear?

It was coming into this opening, I finally peeked my head over the side and looked, and it's still standing there, I just see its rear end, and I'm thinking, I can't hold this anymore. Let down, ranged again, 23 yards, okay. Finally, I start to see it move, I draw back again, and it was so quiet, I just did a quick lip, lip squeak to get it to stop, and that was all it took.

Okay, settle my pin and I'm, and I've started, I don't know how you guys are when you shoot stuff with the bow, but I'll be calm and the pin hits it and I'll start to go through my shot and then it's just shaking, and I'm like, you just gotta keep pulling through your shot pull, and the bow goes off and I thought the shot felt [00:56:00] good, it looked good, and all of a sudden, I hear this.

Crack like really loud and I've shot deer in the front shoulder when didn't penetrate him and it's loud And that's what I thought, you know that noise, you know that sound it's like it's different than when it hits the offset Like when it all hits the offset shoulder usually like a third Yeah I see this bear take off and a lot of arrows sticking out and I'm like, you've got to be kidding me I'm just like I hunted three days.

I just had an opportunity and I shot this bear in the shoulder So I'm sitting there and I'm like I gotta call somebody. I'm gonna call Mike. So I called Mike, I picked the phone up and I'm sitting in the tree like my heart sank. I'm like depressed. And right as you answer, I hear this, hello? I hear a death moan.

And I was like, oh my gosh, I just got a bear! Then I came unclothed. Hey that's what you went for that's what you hunt for. It was funny, because at that point, I drove from the check station back to the room, which was... 27 minutes [00:57:00] away. And Mitch called me, Yeah, I just shot a bear. And I just had taken, I think, my cooler in.

I said, I'll be right back. I got right in the car and drove back. And then, you guys were probably halfway out until I got there, I think. It's the excitement. Yeah, but it wasn't as good as when he called me, though. Yeah, when he? He called me and I answered the phone and I was like, I, cause I saw it ring and I'm like, Oh my God, Mitchum was a goblin, yeah, I picked up the phone and I was like, Hello? I said, I got one! And I started telling you the story and all of a sudden, you cut me off and you're like, Hey, I gotta, can I call you back? I got a bear over here. I'm like, Why did you answer the phone first? I figured there's no reason you're calling unless you got one

What did you end up seeing that night? I saw three that night. I gonna say you passed up two that night, right? The only one the big one I never got a shot at. It came over the ridge right where Mike was sitting. Same spot where he sat in the morning. It came right over that ridge. That was definitely a, when I saw him, I grabbed my boat right away.

I'm like, I'm shooting this one right away. Because I was thinking, do you think that was the biggest one you saw the whole week? The whole week? Yep. [00:58:00] Out hunting while I was hunting. Yes, not as big as a big one on camera, but I would say he was 250 plus. You know what I mean? When I saw him come over that ridge he filled out and it was long and not think about that though.

So I got one in the morning, Mitch got hit and you could have, like you chose not to shoot that. That, yeah. You would have shot this one, the small one that you did pass one up that night. Yeah. So we could have went three out of four on the Thursday. Yeah. Yeah. So then I looked, that one went.

To my left, 11 o'clock, when I came over the ridge, it was coming down through. I looked to my right, in the swamp down below me, I heard something. I looked out in the swamp, here comes another one towards me, walking towards me. But that one's a hundred yards away. Mitchell, the phone rings. I thought, oh my god, Mitchell wants, it's like Mitchell calling here.

I said, oh, he got one. He's he got one, I know he got one. He's Gus, I'm thinking, no other, why else would he be calling me at 6 o'clock? I'm like answered. He's I got one. I'm like, okay, hold on. Prime time, right? Yeah. I'm like, hold on, I gotta call you back. I said, I have two bear here. And I put my phone away and got ready 'cause that big one was off to my left.

Even with the [00:59:00] Muzz loader, I would've had to shoot right away, decide to shoot right away. 'cause it just, like he said, they disappear so quick. And I looked down to my right where his other bear was coming and I thought it's gonna come right up this draw again. So I got ready and I looked down, I'm like, It's gotta be right here somewhere, and just, ten minutes went by, I didn't, I looked up, nothing, I looked back down, It's whoop, yep, right there it is. Oh, it just came in that quick? Yep, came in that quick, just stuck his head out of the thick stuff, and She was a female, I could tell it was a female by the head again, up underneath me, I said to Mike, I was gonna spit on her, that's how close she was.

Oh my gosh. Yeah. Then she just turned, she knew something wasn't right. She just stood there and just, like you said, put her nose up, just kept putting her nose up. I drew back on her because I thought when she comes all the way out, if she's really big, I might shoot her. But she wasn't that big, so I drew back down and then she ran a little bit, then just stood there and was trying to smell me.

Then she just disappeared off into the... But I think it, that one was the same one I saw out in the swamp further, just circled, came in to me and was coming up that [01:00:00] trail, that's a heck of a day though. So we saw, I saw four bear. You saw four, and you saw three. Yeah. Two, probably three. It could have been.

It could, it was probably the same second, the same one that was out in the swamp, it was funny. I was in church that Sunday. I was sitting next to my uncle, and I was telling him the story and everything else, and I said, Mike was the only one to see. He goes, he's the unluckiest one of them all.

Yeah, when I tell stories about them, then I think I'm lucky. I was like, I've shot stuff in my life too. If you think about it. Yeah. Yeah. It's just so unlucky that if you think about it though, it ain't like you went to the same spot. No. Every ch you would switch spots or even the night me and you went, it was like, Hey, I'll sit out here just in case won't come without bumper.

But in my gut feeling, I knew like I, when I crawl up my spot and I seen where you were, I'm thinking, yep. I should have probably been out there and then I should have had you here. Yeah. Just because of the way the wind was going, that, that was just that gut feeling. And when you called me by the way, I'm like, yep, that's the way it works.

Yeah. That's just part of hunting, that's... [01:01:00] And the one thing that we didn't really get to do much before the season opened and I wanted to do is, I like, if I'm going to hunt with a group of guys, I like to scout it together. Not just because then we all know the area, but I like to bounce ideas. I like to say, what do you think about this spot with this?

And get your perspective because... I'll be honest with you, I thought that point would be good that you sat Mark, but then after the hunt, hearing your experiences and hearing your perspective, I'm like, I didn't think about it that way. That would have been cool to talk about that before or just other stuff.

You guys saw the hunt now and now we can converse over what we want to do next year. But Doing that beforehand, maybe that would have made me not second guess so much stuff because again, I try, I overanalyze everything. Like when I was picking stands on Monday, when I went that evening, and I went out early, and I was looking around for a spot, I kept looking and thinking they could come from anywhere.

I want to try to get as much as I possibly can for shooting opportunity in one stuff. When in all reality, [01:02:00] my gut, where the bear came out of, I thought that's where they're going to come out of. But I want to have stayed back because if they come on this edge, and I screwed myself out of a chance that time, and I just overthought it.

It's funny you say that. Me and Mark, when we went over there that day, it was pouring down rain. And when I went into that, when we were scouting, and I went into that marsh, let's call it, He said, I'm going to, I'm going to walk a little bit straight and it just dumped on us at that point. And I went back there and when I came out, I don't know if you remember, you said, what did it look like?

I said I said, would they come out of those cattails? And you said maybe around them. And I said it did look like the inside corner of cattails was matted. And then he goes, yeah, that's what they, that's what they look for. So I was excited about that. But then at that point. We were drenched and he's are you about ready?

And that was, we were just convinced that we still had to go to my spot. I wanted to show you my spot. And actually then we went and put my camera up yet after that, but we were just soaked and we've had enough. Yeah. Yeah. We've had enough that day, [01:03:00] but it worked out then because like when I told you I the second day.

On Tuesday, when these guys were bow hunting I was on the phone with Mark, I said, Hey, if you're willing to walk, do you mind grabbing my camera? And that's when they moved it over to where we were. Yeah, down to, I said to Mitchell either once it's in that corner, Yeah. Or down at the swamp, and then I said I think that swamp area is a really good spot.

Let's go put it, I just want to put it, I want to look what's out a little further and look on the ridge and see what's up there. I want to put the camera in a spot where he could sit more because I didn't think you were going to sit right down In that bottom corner. Yeah, even if I would have though, I think it would have worked.

Yeah, definitely Yeah, they all came right to that corner But like i'm curious with this whole hunt all three of you guys Do you have any shoulda woulda couldas from the whole thing when you look at it? Yeah, my shoulda woulda coulda. I wish I would have scouted and he did say that on the ride home Me and mike rode home together.

He goes I just and but that's what I said like Mark was going to go over archery hunting Saturday. And I said, Hey, if you go, if you don't mind, I'll go with you. He said, would you really? I was like, yeah, because I like, [01:04:00] it's a different feeling when you know where you, the spot you pick out. And not that anyone would stick you in a bad spot.

But like we talked about on our Turkey podcast is I hate going in anywhere blind and just knowing in my mind that I got to see what you guys talked about. Or even when you guys were telling me your stories of the archery hunt. I knew what you were talking about. I wasn't trying to imagine what are they looking at or what are they seeing, I definitely was happy I got over there that day with you, even though we were soaked. Yeah, cause even when you were looking, you were saying, it's hard to give up my other spot, I have eight pair on that other camera. It's do I really want to go here? Or do we cause yeah, you want to go here?

It's yeah, cause then the joke was, after you passed up three, yeah, should we really come over here? I was like, yeah, yeah. Actually, I think that I ruined his spot the first day. Who once mark's. Yeah, but did you, because in the evening they came right over . I know, but I know, but it's, you know when the hindsight, now it's when we crawled up trees and when we started getting up the tree and we could see I could see his light and.

We were like, right on top of each other, so I [01:05:00] went down again and moved again, then the bear went by us. Then the bear, crawled up and then the bear went by me. I'm like shit, yeah. Did I ruin it already or not, and he didn't really see nothing. No, Jason Shaw, when that's what ruined it, had to We had to go help him.

I felt bad, but I needed Mark to come in and be the first one to step in that mud. Thanks. Up to my knees. Yeah, we didn't finish even getting Mitchell's out after he shot it, which is a great shot. He put on it and like he said it what how far you think it went it only went 50 yards and that I guess I didn't Even say that part of the death moan and I ended up here.

I did hit the offside shoulder It was I arranged it after the fact again, then I got 27 yards didn't matter. I hate it. Like Perfect. You the heart bottom of the lungs in the offside shoulder with the bow and arrow Yeah, wait, I think it went right about 50 yards because I didn't follow any blood. Like, when I was, I just saw the direction it went.

I watched it go out pretty far. And I went to the last place I saw it. And right at the last place I saw it turn to the left a little bit. Here at that spot, it turned to the left to go into the cattails. And it didn't make it. In fact right where [01:06:00] you almost fell into the mud. Fell into the mud.

I don't know what that was. If it was like a levee? It seems like a levee. It's like a small depression. And it looks like you can step right on it. And I did it when we were scouting that day. It went over my knee. Do you guys think next year we should take waiters or something? Just in case we gotta track one.

They're gonna go to the swamp if you hit him. No, I just think you just don't shoot him in the guts this time. I wanted to make it exciting. I wanted to be scared at death. You wanted to get your money's worth. Yeah, I sure did. Nah, I'm just busting your chops. That's what I told you. As soon as you shoot, they're gonna go right to that swamp, man.

He's gonna head right to it. And to finish off Mitchell's story, that... I always think about this kind of stuff too. After you shoot something, how your adrenaline is so pumped, I get, I fall down and I was excited. I get over to Mitchell and he's already dragging his bear back. With his bow in his hand.

He's dragging, coming through the swampy stuff. I get down to him, we're all excited. We take pictures and we go to drag it. And between him and I, we could barely move it. We were so exhausted already. Oh my gosh. He just [01:07:00] shrugged this bear like 60 yards by himself. But that's just the adrenaline in you, it was cause there we, there I think I, we took some pictures and everything else. And then it like, then it sank in. yeah. You accomplished, you got to talk to your wife a little bit. If you think about it, I was, dehydrated in the afternoon. For some reason I cramped up. I was no help getting the buck or the bear out.

Say that again. What's that? What'd you say? I said I was absolutely no help getting getting the buck and bear out. Matter of fact, I thought they were going to have to take me out. Man, we were ready to gut you. Yeah, but I remember getting back then to the Airbnb, the three of us got back and then you weren't too far behind us actually.

He went to the check station. Yeah, but he wasn't too far behind and then when we... He drives a little faster than you do. Yeah, when we sat down then, we, we were just like exhausted. Exhausted. It wasn't even, we showered and that was it. Yeah. Yeah. You were trying to find the Phillies game.

Screw this. We're going to sleep. Yeah. It was, I can tell you that's one of the few times when I laid down, I fell asleep. I [01:08:00] was tired and plus I started cramping. Yeah, you said, yeah. My bear was 97 pounds field dressed. And I think by the end of the track job it felt like 175. I was just being...

I looked at my watch that day, we did... Oh, I walked 10 point... Two, five miles or whatever that day. And look, yeah, you and Jason did the most you did. You weren't out for the second part. But you guys did the most. But the thing is, match that then we weren't that far away from the vehicles was two.

It was just the and forth. Yeah. And the thing is, like what I said to Mark, one of the reasons I think maybe I cramped up also, half the steps we took that day were in mud. Mud. Yeah. Swampy, flushy mud. Yeah. And I mean it was use different muscles that you're not used to. Yeah. It was exhausting. Get mud.

Did any of you guys ever hunt? Terrain like that. No. Oh, I lied. I did in Jim Thorpe one time and twice. I did already. So Jim, I never hunted anything like that. So that was like outside of my comfort zone. Yeah. Yeah. What was exciting about hunting it and cameras, I think [01:09:00] made that hunt because you knew that any time of the day there could have been a bear there because we've seen them at 2 30 noon.

10 o'clock, 7, 15, like in the weeks that we weren't hunting. And that's what got me so excited. That why are they moving in the afternoon like that? They're going to find food sometime during the day, coming back from food there. They don't go by the camera all the time. There wasn't enough food to keep them.

So they had to go to food or whatever all the time. I never, like the ape bear I had on camera at our other spot. It was like morning or night or middle of the night where these, it was like, Oh my God, 11 o'clock one popped up on the cell cam, which these cell cams are unbelievable for Intel. They really are.

And I like thinking about next year and it's crazy to say that because I was talking about it with some buddies. I was wondering if I'd shoot a bear with my bow that like scratch the itch and I'd be content. I'm telling you, I have not been that excited for hunting since I shot my big buck.

Don't [01:10:00] get me wrong, I get excited for hunting, but there was something about seeing a bear like that, it just, it was, man that was different. I think that camera was the worst thing ever, cause now it stopped me from shooting a bear because I knew them big ones were there. True. Yeah, but even, like when we went out there that morning for muddler, cause Mark you decided on Saturday to go archery, right?

Yeah. And I was like, I can't justify it. I can't justify it. And believe me, it was killing me Monday and Tuesday not to be with you guys. But I just thought, I'll trust the muzzleloader. And I remember when I was sitting in my stand out there, I thought, I'm sitting here all day because there was bear any time of the day.

And then when I shot at eight o'clock, it was like, oh that didn't take long, but it was just so funny when Mitchell said that seven 50, I looked at my phone. Seven 50 what? Eight, six or something like that? Yeah, 'cause I think I texted you guys as the sun was coming up and said Jason's going to shoot one by eight o'clock.

And the gun went off and the first thing I did was I looked at my phone and texted you guys at 7 56 [01:11:00] and a marked screenshot that and sent it to me. Now the funny thing is I should have brought my computer. I have this hat cam, so I have all my stuff on camera. Oh, did you? Yeah, even the two that came next.

And it was funny, because you could hear me and you talking. And I'm like, here comes number four. You go, I'll be over. Yeah, I will. I'll be over. And I have that all on that camera. Now Andy always says, ah, those cameras are a curse. But, like, when that thing came out, first thing I did was just hit it like this.

Now, all you see when I shoot is my gun in front of the camera. But you could see me looking at a bear. And then you see the gun go up, and then... And then a big buff of smoke. No, I put the gun down because, like you do, I'm like, where is this thing? And then I was like, okay, there he is, and then you see the smoke, and by the time the smoke clears, the cattails are rustling, but it doesn't pick up that because it's no zoom or whatever, but the gist of the hunt is all on the camera.

It's pretty cool. And I said to Mike that... We should have put I screwed up because we went in two and two which was nice But somebody should have somebody else should have sat right there. [01:12:00] Also. Yeah, cuz I knew yeah where I was Oh, yeah, but the thing of it is so let's say I go there we do that We don't see I know we're thinking we should have never sat so exactly But we knew they were there because they were coming through the camera Yeah, you and I were I mapped it.

We were like 120 yards apart. You were on one end of the point I was on one the other end of the point. We were looking at two different parts. Yeah. Yeah, we couldn't see each other at all I mean your spot Mitchell was really nice too. I went back and looked, checked that area out too on my way back that one day when I think it was Friday morning when I went back there by myself.

And it, it is like the tree I was up, it was again one of them things, my head was on a swivel constantly because I was literally hunting just small trails. I was ranging all the trails when I was in the tree. This is the spot I sat before I moved over to where I shot mine, which again was a good spot.

The furthest shot I had was 26 yards. Everything else in that was too thick, I couldn't shoot. But it was like at any moment, something could sneak through here. Yeah. And who knows if they did, because Mike said, you can't see them. Or Mark said, if they move one foot over. They came in from your direction.

Yeah. All four of them. Yeah. [01:13:00] They could have been. Yeah, it just so happened that I was looking at that wide open marsh area and, the weird thing is when they stepped in there, they didn't care. They weren't like, they were just doing their thing and the wind was in my face. And I think my shot was about, what would you guess, 60, 70 yards?

Oh, definitely. Yeah. So it wasn't like I would ride on top of them. I couldn't have shot with the bow where I was for sure. We saw... Mitchell shot back 45 yards to that ridge from your tree. From my tree to that. Yeah, probably 60 yards, yeah. One thing I wonder too what we experienced there, was that just solely because there was that many bear there and that's how bear always act, it was just high concentration?

Or was it also a combination of the fact that they haven't been hunted for three years? Were they doing things that we wouldn't normally see, hunting in a place where they hunt? I think so. Yeah, I think that they haven't been, they don't know what hunting is. Yeah that big one,

when the pressure was on he, [01:14:00] Every day he was at the camera, Yeah, like, when we scouted, when we first put those cameras there, It's the big buck. To that, I'd say a little bit, because that big one knew he didn't have to come out during the daylight. And it wasn't much. Once he smelled human pressure, it's...

It was, what, one day or two days? One day. One day. We hunted one day, and then the next day, he already, every time he showed up... We had daylight pictures of him leading to that point. And think about it from last year, when we went in December. So they did, they did that hunt, they announced it in November, the week we were at deer camp, leading up to the hunt when the bear hunt was going to start in December last year, they put a moratorium on it.

Opening day was like the 4th of December, but bear was closed and they still had the push of all the deer hunters the first day. Two o'clock or one o'clock in the afternoon on Tuesday in the court, they deemed that the hunt was valid and they opened it up that Tuesday. And in my opinion, in talking with a couple other people, I think that big push [01:15:00] of, it's like the first day of deer season with us, right?

You get that big push of pressure, and what are they going to do? They're going to go where they're safe. Not only that, if you think about that, it wasn't a normal first day of Jersey deer season. Because there was hundreds or thousands of people that bought a bear tag like us that were only there deer hunting because they closed bear two days before.

You know what I mean? So it wasn't the normal Jersey opener. And, that influx we didn't even see Bear Sign last year. Of all the ground we all covered, what was there, six of us, I think? Five of us, last year? Four. Four. It was just four. No, it was me. Oh, five of us. You and your brother.

Steve and my brother. Oh yeah. And then he came over with someone else, and you didn't see much Bear Sign either, did you? No, I came over on, I think it was Wednesday. I think I came over Wednesday when they opened the bear hunt up. Because you guys hunted Monday for deer. Yeah, and then it rained like heck Tuesday and we split because somebody couldn't handle it.

Yeah, we'll save that for another time. No, but so we didn't even hunt Tuesday [01:16:00] at all. But actually, if you think about it, when we sat there Monday night last year, we're like, would we stay anyway? There was nothing sign there. Yeah. And where we hunted this year, 25 minutes from there.

Yeah. Now that's the spot we scouted and we saw a good bear sign. It's a good bear sign. But there was more food there. There's definitely acorns there. Yeah. The question I have. Like the second season that's coming up, I'm actually thinking about that's what I was going to say. we go?

That's what I was going to say to you two guys. So Mitch is out for the second season, which is December 6th, I believe. Fourth. Fourth. Is it the fourth? So the question is, do we go back to where we were? If that corn is still standing? Or do we go scout it one day, or what do we do? Because, look, if they're still there...

We don't have to hunt now. Yeah, it doesn't matter to me. But what I'm saying... We could go to where we used to hunt and have all those... Acorn ridges and whatever. Look, they're still bare there. Or do you, if, you look at Mitch's picture there, [01:17:00] if he has a live feed basically, and if that corn's still standing in, why wouldn't you go back there?

Where are they gonna go? That's how I would go. Yeah. But the swamp's going to hold them. Oh yeah, definitely the swamp's going to hold them. Plus there's developments around there, right? Are they going to the developments? You would think so. There was actually like a trailer community on the one side of it.

And I would think that Bear would go in there and trash it out, right? Yeah. Didn't yours have a little bit of corn in it? , maybe a little bit of corn in it and yours might had a little bit of corn in it. Mine was mostly it was auto. Olive did a little bit of corn. He definitely had a little bit of corn a little bit, but it was mostly aut, olive mile a minute, bittersweet.

And it was one other one and it was another invasive, yeah, but it was, that was mostly what it was. But that's where it came from. It was probably feeding when it was bending in there. Yeah. Yeah. But not only that, if you think about it, I know the ground, me and Mark covered. There's bears yet everywhere over there.

Like those bushes are still loaded with them, so why would they leave? Even though it's not fattening them up, but [01:18:00] still filling them up. Your stomach was full when you cut that open. It was. And then think about it, that was at what, 8 o'clock at night maybe? 7? And then when we went back at 5. 30 in the morning, that was gone.

Yeah. Those gut piles were gone. So you know, or actually you had the bear on camera. Shortly after that. Nope, it ended up not. It was a buzzard. I thought it was a bear because it was under the brush and I was like, it's one of the cubs. When I zoomed in on my phone, got it to load, I'm like, no, that's a stinking buzzard.

When you think in one day how we... Put our set out there. Yeah. And then how much scent we put out there. And yet he went back that night and shot another. Yeah. Yeah. I know. It's crazy. Yeah. But if you think about it, where his bear came from, it was, we didn't even touch that spot. It just came back to the area where it was like at the beginning of the highest concentration and as it was coming in. It was getting to the point where it was almost cutting my way in I bet I, if I would have waited any longer, it probably would have been out. But now, [01:19:00] thinking about that, Mark saw those that night, and that's an area where we were all over that.

We drug two animals out of there. Yeah, but then, what, 70 yards, that bear crossed over that ridge. Yep. Yeah. Where I sat in the morning, where I sat in the morning, and we walked over two or three times, dragging a bear in the deer. And the biggest bear we saw all crossed that same spot. Yeah, and not only that, now his buck really smelled of the rut. And we even joked about that, like dragging it through, is that gonna create a drag? And maybe it did because I couldn't believe it when you guys, like I said, I wasn't there. I was at the check station. Mark's saying he's seen these bear. I'm thinking, man, we were all over that place.

And I think that was one lesson learned too, is like, Anything can happen, don't give up so quick. And that was probably my biggest one. But I'm looking forward to. But doing it all over again next year, what we'll have to decide is are we just, are we going down with the bows? Are we going down with the guns?

Or what are we doing? I told my wife already and I know, I wondered how Mark here could pass up bear [01:20:00] after bear. Anyone who would listen to me at work, I'd be like, this guy's crazy. But now I got my second one. I'm getting a tan and my skull done and everything. It's I get what he's doing.

Like now next year I'm going to buy the bow stamp, but I'm going to go all week. So instead of going two days this week and then I would go three in December, I'm taking them all and Just going I'm going. But I figure if we go back and there's half the bear that are there, look at those cubs. Those cubs are going to be legal next year.

Like I think our chances, especially if we put that time in for the week, So that's it. I want to do what you guys did. I want to try it with the bow and I'm going to spend that bow money and that's it. So when that week's over, we're done. One of us accomplished it. He did it. Mitchell did it. Yeah, Mitchell.

And you could have. You had your chances. I still, yeah. One thing I want to say, because a lot of people say it, like you were saying about this guy's nuts, this guy's nuts. I'm going to say this. You can't, when it comes to whitetails, if your goal is to shoot a big one, you can't shoot a big one if you shoot a nice one.

And it's [01:21:00] the same way with bear hunting. You killed a bunch of bear, you knew what you wanted, and you hunted for it. And you didn't kill one, and I bet you it wouldn't change your opinion of how the hunt went. No, it's unbelievable. Part of me is glad you didn't because we'd have been tired. I think...

Was it me and you? Yeah, Friday, we skinned our bears Friday, and then we made a little push to the new line. Yeah, we're getting ready to, Mike and Mitch, or Mark and Mitch are ready to leave at like noon, and me and Mitch are gonna push at 11. And I said to Mitch, nothing against Mark, but I really hope he doesn't decide now to pull the trigger.

Yeah. But, that being said, I definitely want to go back for the archery thing. Because, again, looking at him now. I'm wondering how after five bear he could decide not to shoot when I get it like you did it like I'm so mine was only 150 pounds but I was happy as I could be you seen it my reaction I was so excited and I mean after I shot I shook for 15 minutes uncontrollably I shook like [01:22:00] crazy.

But now that I got a couple, like the first one of anything you get could be just luck. I was on a drive, it came to me, I shot it. This time around though, we hunted, we scouted, we picked spots, none of us were pushing. Basically like we were deer hunting. Yeah and we, hell, we had a great hunt. The four of us couldn't ask for anything more other than Mike seeing something.

But after that it was so satisfying, this hunt to me, and not only because I got one, but you got one, you got the buck, we all saw something the track job was incredible, I'll say it again and again, but to go back again next year now, I don't need to kill another bear obviously you buy the tag because you want to kill a bear, but yet, now I want to be like you, now I want to say, okay, I got my two, And I got one pushing and I got one where we hunted it like it was us against the bear were and now I feel we know enough about that place.

That you could do it. You could pull it off, I think it's only going to get every time [01:23:00] we go I think I said to Mike on Saturday, he went in and before the rain and I just got gas and whatever it waited on the truck breakfast and breakfast. But I said, one thing that you do here, like you learned it quick.

Now, going back, we know we want to sit here. If we want to scout here, and here. Yeah. I drove around to Backside, over to where that old railroad bed came in. Yeah. And I looked at it where I was on the map and stuff, and I told him, we got to scout that because that's a whole nother, what, 500 acres that I didn't see anyone over there when I was there.

And it's it was a fun hunt. I, like I said, up and down, all over the place as far as my emotions go. But man, I tell you what, that was the highlight of my year without a doubt. I don't even care what else happens. It would be anything else's a bonus. It was just it was accomplished with your goal that you went there for and right I don't think people really [01:24:00] believe you when you tell them what we actually saw and what we did I'll tell you what they do believe us because I don't know how many you guys have it But I have 20 guys that are willing to go with me Here's another thing I wanted to say too I remember so I've wanted to shoot a bear with my bow for a long time and I still want to kill one In Pennsylvania.

Me too. I've missed two already That's the worst part with the bow Yeah, that's, that hurts a little bit, doesn't it? Yep. Yep. I I always wanted to kill one in Pennsylvania, but I... The other year in fact, Mark, when you shot your bear up at our camp with the bow, I had saw one moments before that, and I will never forget, when I saw that bear, that was one of the most, I've I shook more than that.

And I think it was because... I didn't really see bear that often because when you're hunting PA sometimes if you see one in a year, that's a good year. That's a good year. That's a good year. And it was that was the first bear I've seen hunting with bear season open Probably since I [01:25:00] killed my last one Almost 10 years ago And I had to bow.

I've always wanted to kill one My emotions got the best of me and I think one thing that this one this hunt taught me is Don't get me wrong, I was excited, but I saw a bunch of bear and it was like, it was almost like you got accustomed to it. See, that's, what's funny. I was just in the Poconos this weekend and I told these guys, I hunted for an hour.

I'm like, this is stupid. You know what I mean? Because like when we went over there, there's no sign. I

hunted Jersey. I think this could have been my 11th year or something like that. I don't know exactly, but I went a lot of years with a group of guys or whatever. And then the last three couldn't hunt. And last year, We, we did not, we deer hunted, so you can't even count that, but I knew my better chance was in Jersey than PA, but the minute we got over there, and Mark's look at this trail coming through the parking lot the corn, like right there, if I saw nothing else.

It was a bear trail that you knew [01:26:00] and then we knew what we were getting on camera What the heck we stepped out of the truck. It's like watch. There's a pile of bear crap my wife He was that's what's that? I'm like Mitchell goes. That's a big pile of bear crap So like right there in the first couple minutes and then well, let's face it 15 minutes after we parked mark at five bear That's all I've ever to me like we could have turned around and left right there right and I would have been more excited to hunt there absolutely because They're concentrated.

We know they haven't been hunted. We know there's how many we had on camera up to that point. You know what you had and then we put cameras out and had that many more. And from talking to other people from New Jersey that I've, become acquaintance with or, talking to online and stuff. I don't think we found Diamond in the rough.

No. No. I think it's like that guy we talked to. I think there's other places we could go yet that would be better. That's what he said. Even when I talked to that guy you were scouting getting your other camera. I said, yeah, we're... He goes, oh, no, you want to go to Bear Swamp. Both my buddies shot him last night.

The other guy hit one. All [01:27:00] three of them got a shot at a bear the first day in there. And that's another thing. We need to... Not need to. We could settle where we are. But if there's a chance, and it doesn't have to be in season, it could be over the summer. We get together, we go over, drop two guys off here.

Absolutely. But let's, if we check out this bear swamp, maybe there's something better out there. But that's a problem I tell Mike. You always think there's another spot that's better. What could be better than what we had? The only reason I say to look is because what if now the guy we ran into, the guy me and Mike talked to.

They're not there to bear hunt. They're deer hunting, and if they see a bear, they'll kill it. We're there to bear hunt. Our spot now could be fine for a couple years, but now they start seeing you pull a bear out. But it's never wrong, just like turkey hunting. Hey, this is good, but what if we find something else?

That way, if this doesn't pan out, or let's say we hunt there Monday, and there's ten guys there. We have spot number two, we're not going to try to find it now, we already found it. On the flip side of that though, I will [01:28:00] say, I got complacent that, I'm not going to lie, where I sat the first morning, I thought I was going to kill one.

I thought I was going to kill one the first morning. With him or with us? With him, opening day on Monday. That Monday of archery. Yeah, we did too, I did too, I told him he was going to. And I didn't. And I felt after that, I was like, I know some spots around here, but I didn't have any other trees picked out.

And that kind of made me think, I should have been a little bit more thorough. There was too much excitement in my scouting. And I think now it's like... Okay, I dusted off the jitters a little bit. Maybe next year it'll be a little more thorough. Like when I called you over and I said, me and Mitch are on the phone, I was like, That tree you're next to?

To the cattails. They're all going in there. And you were just looking around really? Cause then he goes, I could get up this thing and five minutes later up in that tree. And then that's when Mark came over. But it was funny because every bear walked right there. So now, like that's one spot.

Somebody has to be there next year. There's no [01:29:00] doubt about it. You have to be over there. Even the archery, when we were there that Monday, that wind might have screwed us up a little bit. You're right. I saw nine bears. I was 100 yards, what, 150 yards away from you maybe? Probably 150 at the crow flies?

150 at the most. At the most? Yeah. And I saw nine different bears, it just, they didn't come to your spot. The wind might have been a little wrong. Something didn't just go their way. Yeah, but you still saw some that day, right? Yeah, I saw five. Oh, I saw ten in total for the day. Which, how many times can you say...

No wonder you were in a bad mood Tuesday. Exactly. I don't... But something else, that guy walking in. Us walking in. Yeah, but think of what you just said. I saw ten bear. But here's the thing. I wanted to kill one so bad, and I wanted to do it on such little time that I had. And I think that was probably my mindset, and shame on me.

I wanted, I should have been enjoying the hunt and not been so fixated on killing one. Now I killed one, maybe next year I'll enjoy myself more. I had fun. No, and that's the thing I remember, and I think I told you guys this. It was probably 7. 30 [01:30:00] and I'm sitting there, watching and watching.

And I was like, man, I really want to see a bear. And I always talk to myself. I said to myself, so does everybody else who's on today. So shut up. You know what I mean? And I it relaxed me into thinking, Hey, enjoy what you're here for. And then a half hour later I'm done. But again, I was the same way, like just thinking, Oh Oh, cause the day before on my camera, there was one there at 7.

30. So of course you're thinking to yourself. I should be done at 7. 30, and then 7. 30. Now it's not coming. Yeah, now they're not coming. It's now wait a second here. What happened? But then here, four of them come at eight o'clock, it's just a different world down there. They just smelled your scent down at the bottom there when you came across that tree.

Maybe, yeah. Took them a little longer to get through there. Yeah, . All right. We told the story pretty darn good, so we're wrap it up. Anything we're leaving this with, closing this out on? We can't wait for next year, I guess is what I'm leaving this on. I can't, we hopefully might go December yet, okay. What do you mean? We might go, we're going. Okay. It's just a matter of where, and if you [01:31:00] guys don't go, I'm going to those other guys. You know what I mean? Like I'm going over there. Yeah. I plan on going, yeah. The nice thing for me is like ever since last Thursday when I shot that thing my drive is at zero if I go back over there, you don't need to shoot.

I don't need to shoot. That's out That's now, But now if I'm over here, I get the opportunity. I'm gonna take it. Of course but like even deer hunting I didn't hunt much this week. The first day I went out. I'm like What am I doing here? I just shot a bear the other day, and then last night I shoot a doe with the muzzleloader and that was great.

You guys are pretty excited about PA season now with what you saw this past week. For a first time in a couple years I am. Yep, I'm a little excited. I was talking about it with my buddy because we don't hunt too far apart in the area that we bear hunt in PA and this is the first year I've seen food since I think like 2019.

That's Leaf. Food that's significant that's going to keep a bear there. I'll be hunting bear in Thompson. It has them there right now. Hopefully it has enough food. It does to keep them there. And not enough [01:32:00] people. Hopefully the pressure don't get to them that they move out. They're not going to move far.

They're going to move to a thicker area. Which, we're pretty sure where they're going to go. We'll hunt them there. We're excited. Yeah, so am I. There's a couple guys in camp that still have never killed one, and I'm hoping that they get to experience what we got to experience this past week. That's the thing too Mitch, we said it before, thanks for taking us, cause it was your spot that got us to go over there, but, it was funny, because there was a couple people that I had said about, I knew you guys were going, cause we talked about this since turkey season, you guys had the license, you were going, and I said we're gonna converse about where we're gonna go, but I figured maybe there's people that would like to go with me.

Nobody has interest in Bear Grylls. Nobody cares. Yeah, but now when they hear this and they understand but again, and the four of us talked, Hey, look, there's thousands of other acres over there. If someone wants to go, we'll put them on it and they could go scout it. But it's just, if you'd get a house for a week and guys wanted to come down to here, there's a ton of public land, go hunt, you got a [01:33:00] chance.

There's more than enough land to hunt over there. My cousin went first day, never stepped foot into woods and he saw three bears in one day. Yeah, but, alright, let's wrap this up. Thanks for doing this, Bruce. Thanks, man. Yep, thanks.