My mom and dad were wondering what to get me for my 12th birthday. They decided Dad would take me black bear hunting. So, my dad and I loaded the truck and headed to Maine from Delaware.
Our first night on stand was exciting; Dad kept looking at me and asking, “Are you OK?” As we were losing light that first evening, I suddenly saw a bear at the bait, and Dad whispered, “Take the bear if you want it.” Between my nerves and losing light fast, I quickly squeezed the trigger—BANG! I shot right over its back, and the bear was gone in the blink of an eye. I was really disappointed, but Dad leaned over and smiled, “It’s OK, son. We have all week.”
Day No. 2 we sat on stand in the pouring rain and didn’t see a thing. Day No. 3 was more of the same: more rain. On day No. 4, Dad and I began to wonder who was smarter, us or the bears, because for the third day in a row we sat in the pouring rain with no bears in sight.
On day No. 5, Dad was getting concerned about the weather, but the sky cleared and he said, “Tonight’s your night.” We got into our stand about 4 p.m., and at 7:20 p.m., I whispered, “Dad, there’s a bear!” Dad told me to get ready as soon as the bear looked away. My heart was pounding as I stood, took aim and shot. I could barely talk and my body was shaking, but this time I knew I made a good shot.
The bear ran directly under our treestand, up a small hill and stopped at eye-level with Dad before walking out of sight. Dad whispered, “You hit it! You hit it!” Moments later we heard a death moan, and we knew it was down.
After a 20-minute search, we found my bear. Dad hugged me and kept saying, “You did it, Eddie, you did it. You got your bear.” All I could do was smile.
I’ll never forget my 12th birthday—hunting with Dad and earning the title of “Bear Hunter!” Thanks Mom and Dad: I love you.