Skip to content

An Outdoorsman’s Journal – 9-17-2014

by Mark Walters

First Bear

Hello friends, 

This week’s column is on bear hunting in the Wood County “area” and I have lots to say, so here goes!

Wednesday, September 3
High 81, low 62

My 20-year-old stepson Joey Dushek has his first bear tag and has been running baits since May, the kid has spent a lot of money and time on this project.

Two of Joey’s very good friends and mentors are Tony and Johnny Waltemath,“cousins”, who live in the Necedah area. To say the least, these three guys are very avid bow-fishermen that have teamed up together, travel the state in tournaments, and this year won the Wisconsin Bowfishing Association State Tournament.

Tony Waltemath also received his first bear tag this year and Johnny’s 11-year-old son Jake would be enjoying his first hunt as well.

I would be filming Joey’s hunt and have to admit that I have “zero” experience with a video camera.

All three of these guys have some really hot baits and are very excited for today’s opener of the Wisconsin bear hunting season.

Tony Waltemath had four bear come into his bait and put an arrow in the fourth one, which gave Tony his first black bear.

Johnny and Jake Waltemath had a beautiful 235-pounder come into their bait and Jake made a shot on it, but by the end of the night, Jake’s bear had not been recovered.

The following morning Tony Waltemath’s bloodhound “Ruby”was on a chain, no weapons were carried, and was put on the bears trail. Within minutes Jake’s bear was recovered and on a scale, it was the same weight as Tony’s.

Friday, September 5th
High 70, low 44

While teal hunting Monday morning, I had a premonition that Joey would harvest a bear on Friday, my daughter Selina felt that it would be on Sunday.

Mosquitoes are numerous, bear are hitting Joey’s bait each night after we climb down from the tree. At 7:05, a beautiful bear “honestly in the 400-pound range” appears in the stealth mode and it is 25 yards away but in dense cover. Like most bear hunting situations, the bear is large, quiet, and very black.

Joey could have dropped this bear with a rifle with ease. During the ten minute experience, which the trophy actually got within 9-yards of us, a bow-shot was never offered and Joey is a bow-hunter.

Interesting but always true! The blue jays and red squirrels always tell you when bear are coming and when they leave, all you have to do is listen and you can tell which direction the bear is walking.

Cameraman may have failed to hit “record” and experience was never captured on film.

The following night, there was no wind, lots of mosquitoes, and the cameraman had lots of noise coming from his stomach, that was a challenge to keep it in.

No bear during the hunt, but the trail camera would tell us that 25- minutes after leaving the stand, a good bear came into the bait for two hours.

Sunday, September 7th
High 68, low 47

A red squirrel grinds its teeth in obvious anger. Minutes later a stick breaks! Shortly after that blue jays voice their displeasure with the intruder.

Joey whispers that a bear is coming in. I tell myself not to screw up with the camera.

Joey pulls back, there is a log in the way, I think I am filming. The bear makes a fatal mistake and steps away from the log. Joey lets fly and I can see through the camera as the arrow passes thru the animals chest and it begins a short and last run.

Joey’s shot was perfect and his bear dressed at 260-pounds. The film work is as good as anything you see on TV, including the run through the woods.

Congrats to all three hunters on there first black bear! Sunset