Editor’s Note: Marty Henrikson of Tucson, Arizona, has been shooting PSE bows for 36 years. Henrikson, an avid bowhunter, competed for many years on the 3D archery circuit and also won the Arizona Cup in the compound division.
Question: Marty, tell us about your close encounter with a big bear.
I was hunting during springtime in Santa Rita. My friend and I both drew bear tags, and we’d been waiting a long time to get a tag for a certain area. These tags were hard to come by, so we were really excited. Eight weekends before the hunt we spent time setting up trail cameras, scouting water holes and glassing, looking for bears. We found a decent population of bears in a certain part of the region we were to hunt. We decided to make this the section of land where we would set up and hunt from there. On the second day of the hunt, my friend had gone to sit around a water hole, and I was stalking. I spotted some bears coming up to a cut. I knew that once the sun started to come up, the bears wouldn’t want to stay out in the open but would prefer to get into thick cover. I decided that I’d try and use a predator call to call one of the bears back to where I was. I sat up on a rock that was somewhat elevated and I started blowing on a jack rabbit in distress call. However, I blew the call to make it sound like a baby bear squalling. I had been blowing on the call for about 20 minutes and was almost ready to give up. Suddenly, I heard something in the bushes, and I looked up to see a big black bear coming toward me.
While the bear was making his way toward my call, he kept trying to get downwind of me. The bear wanted to smell what he was hearing, before he made the decision to come in completely. I decided to keep calling and let the bear continue to come in, knowing that at a particular point he would cross my scent trail, smell me and probably take off. I decided that I had to take the bear before he reached that scent trail. As the bear continued to come closer, the situation felt increasingly intense. I could see that this was a really big bear, and he looked to weigh between 350 and 400 pounds. Finally, the bear came to within 15 yards from where I was and turned broadside. I knew he was only seconds away from smelling me. Fortunately, I was able to get my bow pulled back and hang on to my composure long enough to be able to aim carefully and release the arrow. I hit the bear right in the lungs. Surprisingly, the bear didn’t run, but just turned and walked about 10 steps away. Then he looked back at me, and fell over. I took that bear with a PSE AR 34.
Tomorrow: Why PSE’s Marty Henrikson Believes Everyone Should Shoot 3D Archery
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