A Common Hunter takes care of business on a DIY U.P. Black Bear Hunt

When you’re bear hunting in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan you don’t choose your bear, the bear chooses you.  After the 2017 Michigan Black Bear season in the Upper Peninsula I am a total believer in that statement.  I ran three baits on public land in Baraga and Houghton counties and hunted them hard but smart.

I had an opportunity at a beautiful boar early in the first season, but my arrow hit a limb and the bear ran off unscathed. 11 days later I got into the same stand hoping for redemption. The bait was quiet but my patience was rewarded at last light by a prominent crack of a branch behind me in the black spruce swamp.

I slowly turned and looked over my shoulder to find a bear staring at me just 12 feet from the base of my tree. He seemingly acknowledged my presence and walked right past my tree, scratching his side on my tree steps as he passed. He circled the bait for 10 minutes before popping out behind the bait crib. As light faded the bear looked at me one final time before committing to the bait and turning broadside. I sent my arrow into the boiler room and punched his ticket with both lungs.

I didn’t get a pass through as my Rage Trypan split one of his ribs upon entry and lodged itself below the skin on the far side. With no pass through the blood trail was thin but followable, and I found him piled up within 40 yards. He is my second Michigan Black Bear, first with a bow and dressed 215 pounds.

Hunter: James Sutton
Resides: Upper Peninsula of Michigan
Weapon: Mathews Z9
IG: @4joutdoors

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