( Posted Jul 8 2015 )
Once back at camp Craig weighed both bears before cleaning them, the larger bear tipped the scale at 340 pounds while the other weighed in at 157 pounds. He propped them both open and we let them lay until morning to begin skinning them. I slept in until 9:20am and when I came outside Craig had already finished skinning the large male except for some final precision work on the head. I apologized for sleeping late and not helping but Craig said no problem. Craig finished the male and both of us began skinning the smaller female with Craig on the knife and I holding when needed. Once this bear was finished we draped the hides over the fence for an hour to dry slightly. As we let them dry we began processing the meat from the two animals. My outfitter cut out the choice cuts along the back and deboned the front and hind quarters. Unfortunately for me there were some parts of the animals that could not be salvaged due to damage from my bullets. The quarters were cut into roasts size portions for me and we placed everything in plastic bread bags and put them into two deep freezers located in his meat shed. As soon as the hides were dry enough we labeled them with tags that came with my license so that the taxidermist would know who owned them, we did likewise with the two skulls that would be turned in to the local wildlife office. There they would be cleaned, a premolar tooth removed for aging, and then returned to my home address, all free of charge. We put the hides in the bottom part of the deep freezers with the meat in racks on top. Craig would be sending me the meat via the airline once I returned home and could retrieve it from my local airport.
Not being much into fishing I spent the remainder of the week around the hunting lodge helping Craig with various jobs he was doing around camp. The weather remained the same throughout the week with daytime highs in the high teens and low twenties Celsius. We saw very little rain, only the brief shower here and there, a welcome change from some other years. It was one of the better years I had seen for flies or lack of them. I guess that could be attributed to the low, unseasonable temperatures. However both days on the stand I did wear my camouflaged bug jacket which I purchased specifically for this hunt and was glad I did.
As I sit and write I am already thinking of next year when I hope to bag both my eleventh and twelfth black bears. I already have dates set with Craig but might, just might, for a change do my hunt a little earlier. I will take a wait and see approach on that and seek my black bear outfitters advise before I do.