It is close to crunch time. I have been invited once again to hunt for black bears in North Carolina. I am supposed to be there on the morning of November 13 to start hunting the next day.
We have had some exciting hunts in the Blue Ridge Mountains over the years, and I have written about them in Struttin’ Time. But that was years — and many miles — ago. We would head to the highest points of the Blue Ridge Mountains, take a pack of food for the day, load our trusted breech loader, and follow the old trails left by our forefathers. When we came upon a trapper’s cabin we made our bed there for the night, then headed out the next day at first light.
It is a time I will have in my heart and memories forever. We never worried about the time, the weather, or the day. We knew we had seven days to hunt, and that we could probably get it done in that amount of time or less.
It was on one of those hunts that I realized I no longer was a deer hunter, when a buck (scoring probably 160 or better) stood broadside to me for 20 minutes and I never put my firearm to my shoulder. I knew it would ruin our black bear hunt and we were after a black bear, not a deer.
Those years weigh heavy on my mind. I wonder if I still have the energy and the skill for such a hunt. I am inclined to answer no. My mind says try it, if just once more, but my body says no way.
I have never taken easy hunts. We will leave those to the very young and the hunters who are beyond going.
So I need to come up with an answer within the next two weeks. Go or not go, what do you think? Let me know. Please help me make this big decision.