This week I celebrate the anniversary of nabbing my first bear.
It just so happens that was in the beginning throes of Miss Trixie and Ol’ Dutch’s harmonious relationship, too. Nothing like cover scent, a dead carcass and smelly bear for romantic mood setting. Well, something like that.
Since Ol’ Dutch had often been accused of “being a bear,” it only made sense to try and find the real thing out in the wild. In 2012, I finally drew a license and spent anxious months waiting for opening day.
Like any great dream, though, daily life intruded.
When the season rolled around, my mother, choir director at our church, pleaded for my tenor voice on her planned anthem for Sunday rather than my planned activity on opening day. She reminded me of the song about the preacher who went hunting on a Sunday morning instead of going to church. When he encountered a bear, the preacher found himself sitting in a Sycamore tree, praying these words:
“Oh lord, you delivered Daniel from the bottom of the lion’s den
You delivered Jonah, from the belly of the whale and then,
The Hebrew children from the fiery furnace so the good books do declare
But , Lord, if you can’t help me, for goodness sake don’t ya help that bear”
So, not wanting to tempt the Lord or feed a bear, I went to church and sang.
I am not sure I made a joyful noise, however. Following church, other things blocked my plans and more delays were encountered and Ol’ Dutch became about as anxious as a new father with triplets.
So it was about 3 p.m. before Miss Trixie and I headed out for a nice evening hunt. The weather was perfect and the wind a lazy breeze as we exited the truck near Del Norte Peak. We walked ever so quietly expecting to see a bear around every tree. Finally we found the location to hunt and sat down. They say silence is golden but what followed was anything but golden, or quiet, or… well, really anything that resembles hunting.
No more than one minute into our wait Ol’ Dutch heard chomping sounds and I scanned the forest looking for what must be a bear chewing on something. Alas, no, it was Miss Trixie chomping on a bag of Cheetos.
After a reprimanding look her way, quiet settled across the forest -- almost.
Next, the sound of back pack zippers resounded like thunder echoing across the canyon and she proceeded to Google something about bear attacks.
Finally, tiring of the Internet, she laid down for a nap and what Ol’ Dutch hoped would be a welcome relief from her activities. About 20 minutes of quiet settled over the forest before her eyes popped open and she signaled she could smell something. I motioned for her to be quiet but if you know Miss Trixie, quiet is just not in her vocabulary.
She likes to communicate which she says we need to do more often especially when Ol’ Dutch has made up his mind about something.
Thinking something was about to happen, she started texting every new update to friends on Twitter and Facebook. The look on my face must have been priceless as I tried to comprehend all the busy work emitting from our blind and then at 5:31 p.m. she suddenly felt compelled to show ME the texts. And, at that moment, a bear stepped out into her view.
Miss Trixie said not-so-quietly, “Bear, Bear, BEAR!” and the poor creature, not conditioned to shouting from an Internet-connected, loud-mouthed, social media butterfly of a woman, took that as a cue to exit stage left.
Instinct took over and I made the shot -- a miracle in and of itself only to be attributed to God Himself honoring my singing choice that morning.
So at 5:33 p.m. we had our bear and true to form Miss Trixie used those magic fingers to bring up half of South Fork to help get our bear down safely.
So, true to form, this past Sunday morning Ol’ Dutch gave up a morning elk hunting to lead the singing at church because after all, “God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” And I can use all the help I can get to which Miss Trixie adds, “Amen.”
Kevin Kirkpatrick and his Yorkie, Cooper, fish, hunt, ATV or hike the Rio Grande National Forest daily. His email is [email protected] Additional news can be found at www.troutrepublic.com or on Twitter at TroutRepublic.