After 7 years of applying and gaining preference points for a WI black bear tag, good friend and filming partner John Herrmann finally got the news back in March that he would be receiving one of the coveted tags this fall. John soon got the news that another good friend of his, Craig Frenette, had also drawn a tag for the fall season. The two of them decided that they would make team effort of the baiting and hunt near Craig's cabin in Northern Wisconsin. Now, all that was left to do was wait until fall.
About four weeks before season started John and Craig started to locate bait sites and begin the long and grueling process of baiting. As a bear hunter myself, I can attest to the fact that the baiting is the most difficult work of all when it comes to the bear hunting process. Mixing the bait and carrying heavy buckets hundreds of yards through the mosquito infested forest can really wear on a hunter. Not to mention the 100 mile drive one way from home every other day.
After setting the baits, they set up Moultrie I40 trail cameras to monitor the sites and to see if there were any shootable bears. It didn't take long to prove they had picked the right spots and were onto some good bears.
In Wisconsin a hunter has the option to either hunt with dogs or to bait. Every year, the bait hunters and dog hunters trade off who goes the first week. This year it was the dog hunters, starting on September 9th and the bait hunters starting on September 16th.
About four days into the season, John got a call from Craig saying a 500# plus bear had been killed less than a half mile from John's hot stand. Needless to say, he was a little disappointed. After a check of the camera on Tuesday September 15th, John's frown turned upside down when they captured a couple other very nice bears on the Moultrie.
Finally, after all the prep work and many miles driving to bait, the day was here to jump in the stand and harvest the fruits of their labor. Climbing in the stand around 2 pm John was extremely optimistic for the evening hunt, but as the hours faded off the clock, so did his outlook for the evening. Then, about 45 minutes before shooting hours ended, he spotted what he had been waiting seven years to see. Appearing from nowhere was a black mass of fur and muscle, dreams were becoming reality. Very slowly the bear made its way to the bait. Very being an understatement, as it took the big bruin 30 minutes to close the last 15 yard gap before John was offered a shot. With the bear comfortable at the bait, John drew his Renegade Alpha 1, settled the pin behind the shoulder, squeezed the trigger and sent the NAP Thunderhead through both lungs.
After a quick track job, John was able to put his hands on the big bruin he had been waiting seven years to come face to face with. After a close look, they were amazed to see that they had never had a picture of this bear, which has a very distinct white "V" on its chest. At 334# dressed and a skull that will easily surpass the Pope & Young minimum of 18", the wait was worth every second!
Be sure to check back for videos of John's and my adventures chasing whitetails through the woods of WI and IL this fall, right here on Bowhunting.com.
Congrats again my friend!