Editor’s Note: Mike Magrew of O’Fallon, Missouri, is a pro-staffer with Mossy Oak, who loves to hunt big-game animals.
I went to Colorado for a month to hunt and had a bear tag, an elk tag and a mule deer tag. A bear tag is mainly a tag of opportunity in Colorado. You can’t bait and can’t use dogs there, but if you buy the tag and get a bear within range, you can take him. Or, you can spot and stalk a bear. I always had wanted to take a bear, so I went ahead and bought the tag. Since the weather in Colorado was dry last year, I decided to hunt a water hole with elk wallows on its outside edge.
The main purpose of this hunt was to take an elk, so I set-up a stand in a big pine tree for my climber. Every time I went to the water hole, I went up the tree with the climber. I went to my stand early in the afternoon, because I knew the weather was so hot, the elk would need water and want to wallow. I hadn’t hunted there in several days. On the way to my stand site, my attention was focused on the ground, looking for elk tracks. Suddenly, I heard a noise to my left. I turned to look and saw a beautiful chocolate-colored bear with a blonde back running away. I got really excited, hurried to my tree stand and cleared a few more limbs to create better shooting lanes. I could see elk had been to this water hole and created new wallows, since the last time I’d hunted there. I wanted to have shooting lanes I could use if the elk came and used those new wallows.
I’d been sitting in my stand for 45 minutes, when I heard a crunching sound behind me. When I turned, I saw something black about 45-yards away. The bear had stepped on a log, and that’s what made the crunching sound. The bear came-in cautiously. I knew it wasn’t the blonde bear I’d seen earlier. This bear was really black. I stood up slowly, after the bear stopped in some brush and couldn’t see me. There was a robin squawking and acting like she was upset, so the bear’s attention was distracted, and I was able to stand up. The bear wasn’t 20-yards away. He would move a little and then look around, extremely cautiously. I had to move slowly to get into position and draw. Finally, the bear walked behind a bush 7-yards from my stand. When he stepped out from the bush, I released the arrow. I was shooting a BowTech Invasion with a Montec broadhead. Later that afternoon, I climbed down a tree and followed the blood trail out to my bear. I’m convinced that as close as that bear was to me, and as much as I had to move around to prepare for the shot, that my Mossy Oak camouflage must have made me invisible to the bear and enabled me to take my first-ever bow bear.