by: Evan Black
My name is Evan Black and I have a pretty exciting story to tell you! It began when I was born into a family full of hunters who like to spend a lot of time in the bush. In March of 2016, when I was 13, my Grandpa took me for my hunting and gun license. I was really looking forward to the spring bear and turkey season.
My dad, myself, and my brother set a bear bait back at our pond. We set our trail cameras and after a week or so, we started getting pictures of bears. We noticed one really big bear and my dad said, “That’s the one you want.” We kept baiting with dog food and bear jam and our homemade secret bait! We kept the bait topped up and monitored the trail cameras and when the bear began coming in during daylight hours we decided it was time to try and get him.
On Monday, May 16th I came home from school and started my chores. Dad called me and said, “I set a blind at the bait today. Would you like to go hunting tonight?”
I said, “Yes!”
When my dad got home from work we got the Stryker 350 out and dad said that I had to make the first shot count. After three almost perfect practice shots dad said, “Let’s get ready!”
We put on our hunting clothes and sprayed ourselves down with scent eliminator. I grabbed my shooting stick that dad and I made and asked mom to make sure the dogs stayed inside until we got back. When we got back to the pond we settled into our blind and soon after a pair of wood ducks appeared at our bait site cleaning up some of the corn and sunflower seeds we were using as bait. After about an hour in the blind I said to dad, “I see him across the pond.” Dad said, “That’s him.”
The bear got into the water and swam across to the beaver dam. When he got onto the beaver dam he shook off and walked to a small pine tree beside the dam. He stood on his hind legs and started rubbing the tree with his back. Within seconds, the tree snapped in half. I said to dad, “I want to check that out later.” The bear started making his way across the dam. When he got to our side of the pond he let out a big snort and we couldn’t see him anymore. Time went by and I asked dad where he went. Dad said he was probably circling the bait site for scent. About 15 minutes before dark we heard another big snort, then he appeared. My heart was beating fast and I thought it was going to pound through my chest. Dad kept saying wait for the perfect shot, but the bear did not want to give us that shot! It was getting dark fast and we thought our shot would never come.
The bear put his head down to eat and my dad whistled at him. His head came up, but he didn’t move. He put his head down again. Dad whistled again. His head came up, but still he didn’t move. He put his head down the third time and dad whistled again. This time, he bolted straight at us growling! He couldn’t figure out where we were and I still did not have a clean shot. He circled the bait and started walking back into the barrel.
Dad said, “He is quartered towards us… get right on the shoulder.” He then asked, “Are you on the shoulder?”
I said, “yes.”
Dad said, “Wait until he stops.” When the bear stopped, dad asked, “Are you on him?” I replied, “yes.” Dad said, “Take him.”
I let my bolt go directly at his front right shoulder. He instantly took off! Dad asked, “Did you hit him right?”
I said, “I hit him perfect!” Yet we heard no crash or death moan!
“Are you on him?” I replied, “yes.” Dad said, “Take him.”
Dad and I searched the shot site, but could not find the bolt nor very much blood. We decided to go back to the house for supper and give it an hour. After we ate, we put our yellow lab Willie on a leash and dad and I worked the flashlights and dog. We only tracked the bear from the shot site 70 yards and there he was. The broadhead went right through the top of the heart and bottom of both lungs. My dad said, “Wow that is a huge bear!!!!” He shook my hand, congratulating me. We took a pile of pictures and field dressed the big bruin. The next morning, dad and I got up early, but due to tractor malfunctions we did not get him out of the bush as quickly as hoped. I was dying to get to school in order to brag to my buddies.
Dad got him out of the bush and into the truck with help from my mom. Dad picked me up at school early and said, “we are taking your bear to the taxidermist.” When we arrived at Brains Taxidermy, Jeff the owner said, “oh you must have a bear for me.” I said, “Yes.” My dad opened his truck and uncovered my bear. Jeff said, “Oh my God! Look at that bear!”
We unloaded him into the shop and all the guys congratulated me and told me that I may as well quit bear hunting because I will never shoot a bigger one. But, I don’t believe that! Jeff and his crew worked promptly on my bear in order to save the meat. He delivered it to Leskas in Orillia and they made us fabulous sausage, pepperettes, and summer sausage… and the roasts are to die for!
Jeff got us the skull back within three days. When we measured it, we thought we were making a mistake. There is no way this bear was the new crossbow record for Ontario. I was dying to know. After the 60-day drying period we took it to Mark Ascott to be officially scored. My bear measured 20 14/16. I could not believe it. My very first big game animal was the new Ontario record! Mark advised us that it had to be panel scored in order to truly be official. That meant a trip to Peterborough to drop it off at the Beasley brothers from Canada In The Rough and Ontario Monster Whitetails. We took it to their office where we got to see a whole bunch of awesome mounts and pictures. After being panel scored my bear was officially measured at 20 13/16.
On Saturday, July 23rd I got my mount from Jeff Brain and could not be happier. Lynda Chan, a professional photographer, was there and took some great photos of me and my bear! I would like to thank all the people behind me and for the products that I used in order to make my first ever big game kill a great memory for myself and an inspiration to all young hunters! I would like to finish with a great quote: Teach your kids to hunt, so you don’t have to hunt for your kids!