Buck Tales: Wily bear gets best of video camera

North Country deer and bears highlight this year’s first Buck Tales column.

North Country deer and bears highlight this year’s first Buck Tales column.

Let’s begin with a bear theft tale told to me by Todd DeMatteo of Rotterdam. While scouting in Schoharie County, Todd and his brother, Tony, found some bear signs and set up a pair of Moultrie trail cams. When they returned a few days later, they found one of the cameras was lying at the base of the tree. When they checked the photos, there were several pictures of deer, and one closeup of the bear’s face right in the lens. They then knew why the camera was on the ground. The other camera, set about a quarter-mile away, was also on the ground. Moving the one camera several hundred yards away, they reset it, locked it on the tree with steel cable and left.

Upon their return, they found no camera, and after searching for an hour or more, they couldn’t find it. Three weeks later, Tony was hunting in the same area, and picked a comfortable tree to sit under and watch for a while. He was clearing the leaves to sit down, and there, on the ground, was the lost camera. That evening at home, they viewed 40 photos of deer, the tops of trees, the ground and one really up-close photo of the bear. Obv­iously, Mr. Bear pulled the camera from the tree and dragged it. As for the Moultrie, it had quite a few teeth marks, but it still works fine. The DeMatteo brothers never did catch up with that bear.

It was a Moultrie Trail camera that also helped Saratoga Springs hunter Dave Rooney locate his northern Saratoga County black bear. Dave had been scouting the area for a number of days, using the Moultrie in various locations where he found good deer signs. Dave, a friend and neighbor, showed me the photos he had on the Moultrie, which included the bear. And 17 days after he had photographed the bear, he shot it.

Returning to where he photographed both deer and bear, Dave set up high up on the side of the mountain for the afternoon watch. It was about 6 p.m. when he saw the bear making its way down the mountain toward him, and at about 70 yards, he shouldered his Savage 10MLSS .50-caliber muzzleloader and quickly ended the hunt. One shot, one bear. Actually, it wasn’t really the end, because he was about two miles downhill from his ATV. Dave appreciated his new ATV that day.

Later, when he reviewed the bear photo on the Moultrie, there was no doubt that he had shot the same one that was in the photo. The bear hanging in his shed had the same white scar on his head as in the photo. Dave’s bear weighed 125 pounds, and he had quite a chore to get him out of the woods alone. I got to see the bear late that evening, when Dave got home. Dave was beat.

Speaking of bears, if you want to watch a short video of a field staff from the Ontario, Canada Ministry of Natural Resources opening a den of a hibernating black bears and checking out her and her cubs, go to my blog at www.fishguydblog.blogspot.com and click on Bear Tagging in Ontario. You’ll enjoy it.

The ADKHUNTER.COM website has some good photos of North Country muzzleloader hunters who scored early. Chuck Bradshaw of Corinth took a big seven-pointer in the Edinburgh deer woods. while Jon Parker of Warren County downed a nine-point backyard buck that field-dressed at 180 pounds. Jon shot his trophy with an old .50-cal­iber Kentucky flintlock.


Only one bow-and-arrow buck to report, and it involves the help of a dog. Grant Palmer of Broadalbin shot a seven-pointer and tracked it about a quarter-mile before losing the blood trail. He immediately left the woods and called Mike Petrillose, a licensed deer tracker. Mike came with his dog, Cooper, who picked up the scent trail and found the deer within a quarter-mile of where Grant had lost it. Good dog! The buck, which he shot with a PSE compound, scored just under 100 inches in the Jack Douglas Archery Shop contest.


Earlier this month, two hunters were shot at by a property owner in the Town of Minerva, Essex County. One of the hunters accidentaly crossed onto his property and the owner told him to get off.

And then, when he immediately complied and turned to leave, the 70-year-old owner fired two shots over the head of the hunter, in the direction of a ridge where the second hunter was located. When the state police and DEC arrived, the owner was returning from hunting his property, carrying a rifle, and it was muzzleloading season only.

The shooter was charged with two felonies, reckless endangerment and criminal possession of a weapon, and two misdemeanors, menacing and hunting deer with a rifle during the muzzleloading season. Hunters, be careful where you hunt.


DEC reports that there are 5,000 Deer Management Permits available to hunters who were prev­iously denied during the initial application period earlier this fall. These leftovers will be available, beginning Nov. 1. For full details and the Wildlife Management Units where these DMPs are available, click here.


Recently, I was asked if I used any types of scents during the early season. I use Primetime Raccoon Urine and Primetime Special Reserve scents, all made by Hunter Specialties. The raccoon scent is my coverup choice because I’ve watched plenty of deer feeding in a field right alongside a raccoon or two. Obv­iously, they tolerate each other, thus it’s a smell they’re used to and it won’t alert them. I also use Doe Urine right now and usually up until Nov. 7, when the rut should be getting under way. Then I switch to the Doe Estrus for the remainder of the season. And all these scents are 100 percent natural.

Come on, deer hunters, send me your Buck Tales at [email protected]>


Categories: Sports

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