I met Jason in 1992 when we both worked at the local gas station in our home town.  The one thing we had in common was our interest in the outdoors and archery.  I moved away for school and other adventures and returned back to the community a few years later.  We’ve always kept in touch and chatted about bowhunting and archery in general.

I remember Jason’s first deer.  He was hunting a mile from my house and got himself a doe with his Mathews bow.  I got a phone call and he was so excited.  He had the deer at home hanging in the garage and asked if I’d come help him so i went to town to help him out.  I realized that he had never tagged an animal before nor skinned one out.  It was great to be able to teach him how to do that.

A few years later he called again after shooting a nice buck in the Edmonton Bowzone.  I went over again and helped him skin it.  He did a European mount with the buck.  A great trophy.

In the spring of 2015 I was bear baiting and had a hot bait.  I needed someone to come up with me and sit in the stand with me and thought of Jason.  I made the phone call and invited him out.  The deal was, if the big boar comes in that I’ve been hunting, I will shoot it.  If anything else comes in, Jason is more than welcome to take the animal.  He agreed to accompany me and was very excited.

May 9 came around and we headed up north to the bear baits with a trailer full of oats and grease.  We had two baits that were getting hit hard so we stocked the first bait up for my friend, James, then headed to my bait.  As we came around the corner on the atv the excitement started.  A bear was on the bait and took off when it saw us.  We drove up to the bait site and got off the atv.  I gave Jason the shotgun and said just watch the trail in case that bear comes back.  I went to the two barrels that were tipped over and emptied from the feasting bears.  I reached down to pick up a barrel and something  right behind the barrel jumped back making me jump back even faster.  I looked up and another bear came out from behind the barrels and ran up the trail about 40 yards.  My heart was pumping now.  I told Jason to keep an eye on the bear as I stock the baits.  That bear would pace back and forth wanting to come in then turn around to walk away only to change its mine repeatedly as its hunger was stronger than its fear.  I said to Jason, I think you are shooting a bear tonight!

We got back on the atv and headed back to the truck and drove to our usually lunch spot to rest, eat and prepare for the evening hunt.  The anticipation was high as these bears were not interested in leaving their bait.

Finally, the time came to go back into the bait site to hunt.  We slowly walked in and got ourselves into the treestands and settled.  An hour went by when i noticed movement to our right.  I could see a bear coming down the same
trail the earlier bear was held up on as we filled the baits.  I looked at Jason and said “there’s a bear coming.”  He smiled and nodded.  I repeated myself and again he smiled and nodded.  Then I said with a little more vigor “Dude, there’s a friggen bear coming up the trail.  Get your bow and be ready!”  The reality of the moment sunk in and you could see his excitement and nervousness as the potential of his first bear was taking shape.  The bear came in and got himself into a comfortable position at the bait laying down eating…. but facing us.  There was no shot.  It must have seemed like eternity for Jason watching this bear knowing he couldn’t shoot.

Finally the bear got up and started to move around.  I told Jason to draw his bow and wait.  The bear turned broadside at 10 yards and I gave him the go ahead to shoot.  Perfect shot from his new Hoyt Carbon Spider bow and the bear dropped in his tracks, rolled and expired a mere feet from where he was shot.  I looked at Jason and he was shaking an full of excitement.  I congratulated him and we sat in the tree for a few more minutes.  I could see his anxiety of wanting to get his hands on that bear.  Finally, I said “let’s go get your bear, dude!”

We descended the tree and took several photos and video of the bear. I was videoing this moment and asked Jason to say a few things and he simply said: “First bear.  Pretty Cool.  Hunting with Matt. Oh.  I don’t really know what to say.  It’s pretty cool.  He’s kind of messy right now.”

As I watch the video it reminds me of the fun we had that day.  I enjoyed watching Jason shoot his first bear just as much as I enjoyed shooting my own bears.  It was a memorable day full of excitement for both Jason and myself.

Watch the full video of this hunt on our Youtube channel with the link below or visit www.ParklandOutdoors.com.


Matt Depeel