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Trapper Sam O’Keefe’s “Bearly a Drop of Rain”

Posted on Sunday, December 11, 2011 at 11:59 pm

Recently I found myself looking forward to another bear season. Like always, I have no delusions about the rareness of actually getting a bear, but I still look forward to the season. I enjoy the prospect of not getting a bear nearly as much as the prospect of bagging one. With the season coming a little earlier in the fall, cold weather clothes aren’t usually necessary, no long johns needed in other words. And, with many fewer bear hunters than those who chase the turkeys or deer, the woods are less crowded and more peaceful. There are few things more serene than knowing the nearest person may be more than a mile a way; considering the creature being hunted, it can be a bit harrowing at times as well. When the season finally arrived, on a Saturday, I found myself in a very conflicted position. It was the first day of bear season, a day I had been looking forward to for some time.

The weather turned out to be extremely mild as well, almost as if Mother Nature was beckoning all us hunters to the woods and fields of our imaginations. But, that also meant it was going to be more crowded than usual. And most importantly, I was completely worn out from the past several weeks, and was in dire need of quality rest. So, I decided to sleep in, not getting up until after eleven. I had a family function (a birthday party for a niece’s granddaughter) to attend in the early afternoon, so I decided to take the whole day off, knowing there were still three days of the season left to begin the week.

A football-laden Sunday went by as restfully as Saturday, only interrupted by a trip to WalMart. Then Monday came, and with it, the return of bear season. Unfortunately, the rain came with it as well. It started before dawn, and rained hard, so I decided to take care of a few errands and avoid the rain. It stopped raining sometime early Tuesday morning, which allowed me to head out to the woods. And I almost got there before the rain started back up. So I sat in my truck and looked out the window, waiting for the rain to stop, which it did, sometime that night, several hours after I had went home. Wednesday found the same weather, but I decided to brave it this time. Of course, by then the streams were over the banks, which required an inventive, somewhat circuitous route to reach my hunting spot. About five minutes before I reached my parking spot, the rain turned into a downpour of large, heavy, soaking, November-cold raindrops. I sat in my truck, again hoping for the rain to stop. But it didn’t.

So folks, this year my bear season consisted of one day of sleeping in, a kiddie birthday party, and three and a half hours of sitting in my truck in the middle of the woods in the pouring down rain. All in all, this bear season turned out not too bad.

Have a good week, and remember, if you folks out there have any comments, suggestions, or just want to say hello, you can email me at