Eleven-year-old Bennett said, “When my dad told me about the bear hunt, I was super surprised, but my grandpa was nervous because he was scared I would miss the bear.”
Bennett, his dad Jon, and Grandpa arrived at the bear camp cabin nestled on a beautiful lake surrounded by trees and wildlife in northwestern Wisconsin.
“Tommy made us feel welcome, showed us around the cabin, and explained everything about my hunt,” Bennet said.
Jon added, “Then, after answering our questions, Tommy went over some safety rules with Bennett and emphasized that the number one priority is the safety of everyone.”
After a restless sleep with the anticipation of the hunt, the alarm went off at 4:30 am, and around 5:00 am, Jay Link arrived, and they went to load up his dogs.
Bennett said, “We checked bait and drove around the road to look for tracks. We saw some bear tracks, but they were too little to chase.”
Jon said, “Then later, the dogs started a couple of really nice bears only to lose them in the deep water. The hunting group sent us some earlier trail cam pictures of those bears. After that, the weather was warm, and the dogs were getting tired, so we headed back to camp.”
“The next day, it was damp, but only a little action happened until a member of the party got a hit on a checked bait station. The bear was there a few hours before the first start dog arrived on that bait. A couple of start dogs were released to follow the bear’s trail. It was not long before the dogs caught up with the bear, and the chase was on. We patiently waited as we could hear the dogs barking in the woods as they closed the distance on the running bear.”
“We were sitting on a gravel road when the bear crossed the road, and Bennett’s eyes were as big as saucers. At that time, the group released a couple of other dogs into the chase to give the first dogs extra help. Shortly after the bear had crossed the road, the dogs were able to tree the bear.”
The woods were dense, so Jay was able to find a spot for the hunters to walk in. Bennett hung on to Jay’s shoulders to carry him in piggyback style. Jay told him, “protect your eyes from branches,” and they headed in. With Grandpa carrying the shooting stick and father the rifle, they all arrived at the tree about 200 yards in. Jay surveyed the area to put Bennett in the best place for a shot. Jay then asked everyone to pull the dogs away from the tree and for everyone to move back.
Bennet said, “There was alot going on with all the dogs barking and all the people around us. I set the gun against the tree, looked through the rifle’s scope, and saw a BIG bear. I felt a little nervous; Jay told me to shoot it behind the ear, but I couldn’t see the head, so I shot it in the heart, and it fell right to the ground in front of me. Jay hugged me, and I was so happy!”
Jon said, “Seeing the excitement on Bennett’s face was priceless. The dog handlers did a great job! Everyone in the hunting group congratulated Bennett. My son’s smile was so large that it brought me to tears.”
After field dressing the bear, Bennett got initiated into the fraternity of hunters and huntresses with some blood strips on his face. Bennett said, “They put some blood on my face. Dad and Grandpa were happy for me. Grandpa teared up. The best part for me was shooting the bear because it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
They took the bear to Sportsman’s, where it tipped the scale at 230 pounds field dressed! Everyone again congratulated Bennett on a great shot and a great bear.
Jon expressed, “The best part of the hunt was the excitement on Bennett’s face when the bear hit the ground. Also, I truly enjoyed how friendly and welcoming Jay, Tommy, and the rest of the hunting party were. I find it a blessing that everyone takes time out of their busy life to volunteer their time, dogs, and equipment to assist someone with a dream hunt.”
Bennet added, “It’s fun hunting with my dad and Grandpa. It feels good. Thank you to everyone who helped me get my bear!”
Thanks to Terry Brennan for donating his bear license, Jay Link and Tommy Thompson, and the FFCS Bear Hunters for guiding the hunt. Congratulations to Bennet on his trophy bear and unforgettable memories shared with his father, grandfather, and new hunting buddies! God bless!
If you are interested in getting involved, want to donate your 2023 bear license, or know of a deserving youth or veteran, don’t hesitate to contact United Special Sportsman Alliance.