Editor’s Note: D.J. Randolph of Velva, North Dakota, is the Mossy Oak regional manager for North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska and Alaska. A Mossy Oak Pro Staff hunter since 2008 and a Pro Staff Manager for the last 3 years, he’ll begin to hunt antelope on Labor Day weekend.
One time I went on a family bear hunt with my brother-in-law and my wife at that time. Since my brother-in- law tagged out the very first evening, he went with my wife the second evening and videoed and watched her tag her bear with a bow. The third night my brother-in-law went with me. We had a sow and two cubs come in to where we were. We watched her and the cubs play for almost 30 minutes – only 15-yards away. Those cubs reminded me of puppies playing in the yard. They'd run at each other and knock each other over. They were having a great time romping and playing. Then when that big sow raised her head and looked around, the hair on the back of my neck stood up. She was one of the biggest bears I’d ever seen, and she was there to defend her cubs. I didn’t want any part of disturbing her or the cubs.
On the fourth day of our hunt, my brother-in-law and I were dropped off. We set-up a stand in an area that hadn’t been hunted. Our guide took another hunter about 1/4-mile away to drop him off at a stand that already was erected. They gave each one of us a hand-held radio. We were standing on the end of the trail where we had been dropped off, because my bother-in-law was going to ride back with the guy who dropped us off. As the guide was coming back to pick up my brother-in-law, I could see him pointing. I got on my radio and asked, “What are you pointing at?” We looked at where the guide was pointing and saw a bear 50-yards away. Quickly, I got into my stand and nocked an arrow. As I heard the guide and my bother-in-law leaving on the 4-wheeler, immediately, I heard footsteps. I got my video camera and turned it on just as I saw the bear coming down the trail. He came in, walked around a little while and then presented a beautiful 12-yard shot. When he took the arrow, he only went about 30 yards before he piled up. He wasn’t a monster bear, but he was a nice bear.
I turned on my radio and got in touch with the guide who was still carrying my brother-in-law back to camp. I told him, “I'm done. I've got my bear. Come back, and get me and the bear.” So, my brother-in-law and the guide returned. While we were taking pictures of me with my bear, the other hunter 1/4-mile down the road came in on the radio and said, “Y’all come and get me. I've got my bear.” So within 1/2-hour of dropping me off on my stand, the other hunter and me both got our bears and were ready to return to camp. The owner of the camp was really frustrated at seeing us coming back to camp so quickly and asked, “What’s the matter?” I said, “We’re all done. If you know how to hunt, taking a bear should only take 1/2-hour.” We all had a good laugh.