Twenty-two years ago this summer (2016) I went to Africa my first time. That trip essentially changed my life…
I had dreamed of going on safari since I was a youngster “in short britches”! When I learned to read a friend of our family game me a copy J. A. Hunter’s books. I was hooked. In high school when Hemingway’s books, were on the required reading list for “English Composition”, I knew I’d made the right choice in teachers. I considered this a “sign”. Someday I’d go on safari! At the time my biggest gun was a .30-30 Win. I wondered how it would fare on kudu or Cape buffalo. Surely it would “big enough gun”!
“What is that stuff?” questioned my cameraman, pointing at a pile of meat that had been placed in front of us.
“Shut up and eat!” I replied.
“Not till you tell me what kind of meat that is!” demanded my companion. I smiled…all the while thinking if I’m gonna have to eat this, so do you!
“Bush meat!” I replied taking a bite and pretending to savor every lip-smacking bite. “Mmmmm, seasoned just right as well. I’m telling you the chef out did himself this time!” I was doing a pretty good job of acting, because all the time I was thinking whatever this was might be the second worst meat I ever tried to eat, ranked second only to ‘possum and sweet potatoes I had tried many years ago in my father-in-law’s cow camp.
Hunt over bait or spot and stalk? A the question anyone who desires to hunt black bear must ask of themselves? I took my first black bear back in the 1970’s. Since that time I have been on many different bear hunts over a goodly part of North America. I have hunted bears over bait and sitting on western water holes, following well-trained hounds, using predator calls and spot and stalk. Admittedly my favored way of pursuing black bear is by spot and stalk, either during the spring when the bear breeding season is going on and in the fall when bears are feeding on spawning fish in the North Country or berries or acorns.
Next to whitetail deer the black bear is the most wide-spread native big game animal in North America found from the deserts of Mexico to the tundra of the Far North and from the Eastern Seaboard to the western Pacific Rim. The colors of his coat vary from near polar-bear-white to solid black, including blonde, cinnamon, reds and browns in between.