Every time I venture over to the eastern part of the state where the Louisiana black bear has increasingly garnered the interest along with consternation of property owners, hunters and camp owners, I have wanted to see one of these creatures. Anytime I go over that way for any reason, I have my camera handy because of the chance I might at long last get to see and photograph a black bear.
This past weekend, it happened. While hunting as a guest of Dr. David McGehee, one of the owners of 3,000 acre Spring Bayou property in Madison Parish, the good doctor was driving me to my designated stand Saturday afternoon.
I had mentioned my desire to see a black bear. Dr. McGehee nodded and said I had a good chance to see one from this stand, which sits on a junction of four lanes, one jutting out in each direction.
“Which lane would you suggest I concentrate on?”, I questioned McGehee. As we motored up toward my stand, he pointed toward the east. “If he’s going to show up, you’re more likely to see him on the east lane,” he said.
As we eased up to my stand, my eyes were already trained in on the east lane when I couldn’t believe what I was seeing; there was a big black bear munching on forage on the food plot 200 yards away.
Slipping out of the side-by-side vehicle, McGehee and I proceed to slowly walk closer for the chance for a decent photo.
We covered half the distance as the bear continued feeding and I was giving my camera a good work-out when the bear realized he had company, stood erect on his hind legs and gave me an awesome opportunity for a photo.
Tired of playing the photo-op game, the bear dropped to all-fours, turned and slowly disappeared into the thicket.
Climbing into my stand feeling downright giddy at the chance I had to see and photograph a bear, I kept my eye on the east lane, hoping he might come back. He didn’t return but my time in the deer stand on Spring Bayou far exceeded my expectations.
I had come there to hunt for a mature buck but I left feeling fulfilled even though I saw several does and yearlings but I never laid eyes on a buck.
I hunted the same stand for the morning hunt and saw enough activity from various creatures to insure an enjoyable outing.
Just as it began to get daylight, I watched two raccoons cross one of the lanes and soon after, the does came out to feed. As the sun crept over the horizon, at least 100 birds of various species found something on the lane to their liking.
A big flock of robins flitted and chattered around my stand, each bird stopping, head cocked before stabbing at an insect. Dozens of cardinals seemed to be more interested in seed pods that grew on tall weeds next to the lane, offering some good photo opportunities.
The sun highlighted a spider’s web in a window of the blind, creating another rather neat chance at a photo with the spider in the middle of the web.
After the sun set and late afternoon light was fading, I had the awesome privilege of watching an almost full moon freeing itself from branches to the east to slowly creep above the trees, shedding a soft light over the landscape.
I paused and thanked the Lord for placing me in this very spot at this very special day to witness about all my senses could handle for one day.
Webster lists several definitions for the word “prophet”, one is particularly intriguing. This definition calls a prophet a “predictor or soothsayer”.
Watching the headlights of the side-by-side coming for me at the end of the day, I thanked Dr. McGehee for allowing me the privilege of being there to take it all in, especially utilizing his “soothsayer” ability to suggest I look to the east, giving me the opportunity to finally see and photograph a black bear.