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Most of my Maine bretheren know that I am a Master Maine Guide and guided bear hunters a lot more before my two young sons came along. Now-a-days with my time being more limited, I choose to hunt myself and bring the boys when I can.

In any case, one Labor day I convinced my best friend Matt to sit on one of my stands and take a bear if the opportunity presented itself. Matt lives in the town where my camp is and had helped me maintain my bait sights for several years. I expressed only a passing interest in actually shooting a bear, but I had tagged out already and knew there where bears coming regularly to this one sight so I talked him into hunting Labor day afternoon. A few days earlier at the bait in question I had seen a sow with three cubs come in just as I got settled in the stand. I watched patiently as the cubs ate and momma stayed just back off the bait checking the wind. She let them eat for a few minutes and gave a "whoof." Two of the three cubs got right up and joined her as she walked off. The third cub, also the runt of the litter, ignored his mother's warning and as his family walked out of sight I thought to myself "You'd better get a move on little one, or momma is going to be pissed." Well, from the distance there came a second "whoof" and the small cub stood up and bolted toward his family as if he had been shot from a rocket. It was as if he knew that if she had to speak to him a third time, there would be trouble. :D Well, nothing more happened until about 6 pm when a baren sow came into the bait and offered a perfect broadside shot at about 10 yards. One shot from my .41 magnum Ruger Blackhawk ended my bear season for that year.

So a few days later, it is Labor day and I put Matt on stand about 3 pm and instruct him that I'll meet him at the truck after legal shoot is over. I headed to the brook and caught and released several nice brook trout while enjoying a nice cigar or two. It was nice to have my season done, have meat in the freezer and have my best friend on stand. I could enjoy this time, and not worry about keeping sports happy. Well, with about 1/2 hour left of shooting time I drove back to the spot where I said I would meet Matt. I sat in the truck and fipped through a Cabela's magazine while listening to a baseball game. According to my watch there was less than a minute left of shooting time when a shot from Matt's TC Contented in .375 Winchester lifted me about 3 inches off my seat! "Geez," I thought "Matt sure is cutting it close!" After what seemed like an eternity Matt appeared from out of the darkness with the distinct look of terror on his face! Now, mind you, Matt has lived in the western Maine mountains all of his life and has hunted and worked in the woods just as long. I did not expect this reaction from him. Sure I expected it from someone from the city, but not Matt.

As Matt approached the driver's window of my truck he calmly stated, "That's the scariest #$%^ing thing I've ever done!" Of course, I wondered what could have been so scary so I slowly debriefed him. He told me that with about 1/2 left of shooting time he decided he wasn't going to see anything so he stood up from the tree stand, unloaded his .375 and began down the tree. That's when the sow with the three cubs came rambling in. So back up the tree the unarmed Matt goes when all of the sudden the sow gives a loud "whoof" and puts all three cubs up a tree...about five feet from Matt's face! As he is looking into six little eyes a BIG boar comes charging into the bait sight and he and the sow commence to chase each other around while growling and snapping teeth! After a couple of minutes (and what had to feel like an eternity to Matt) the sow manages to chase the big boar off. Again, she gives the command and the three little ones climb down the tree and they wonder off. According to Matt, all was still for the next few minutes (except for his heart that was ready to explode.) Finally with just a few minutes left in the day, the BIG boy comes back in. Matt took enough time to make sure it wasn't the sow and lined up his shot.

For those of you outside of Maine, legal shooting hours end one half hour after sunset and one half hour after sunset in a bear stand gets pretty dark so all of this commotion was taking place around Matt with about as much day light as you would get in a closet!

We headed back into the bait armed with Matt's .375, my .41 and a four cell mag light. After following a blood trail for ~50 yards we collected Matt's prize. I'll have to admit that we both felt like we were being watched while we dragged the bear out of the woods, and I'll bet that the sow and three cubs where not far off. When I checked the bait again the next morning it had been hit again!
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