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20 www.northmainewoods.org My story started the year before. I had turned 10 and Dad brought me to Maine to stay at Big Machias Lake camps for 3 days to hunt partridge. On the last night of our trip the own- er Mr. OConnor asked for a picture of me so he could add it to the wall of fame. I smiled and said I would send him one. I asked if I could come back again next year however this time to hunt for a bear not a partridge. His eyes widened and he paused looking over at Dad. Dad also paused and said we can talk about it when spring comes if you still want to. It was a long winter and spring seemed to take forever to ar- rive. During one of our Sunday dinners I asked again if I could go to Maine and hunt a black bear. Dad looked at Mom she looked at him and he said Hunting takes a lot of work. You will have to come to the range with me every Saturday to practice. If you miss one weekend of practice just one you wont go. I was going bear hunting We spent every weekend practicing. The gun was loud heavy and big. Dad taught me how to load unload. He showed me how to turn on and off the safety. He showed me how to shoot with a rest or with shooting sticks. He talked a lot about safety. When we arrived the camp was empty except for Mr. OConnor. He greeted us with a hand shake welcoming us back. I heard a truck and looked over as it pulled into the camp. The driver stepped out and Dad said That is my friend Jeff Lavway. He will be our guide this week. Go say hi. I walked over and Jeff said with a smile My job this week is to make sure you get your bear. Are you ready Yes I said. Then come with me. I followed him to a bunch of barrels and pails. Jeff asked that I help put some of the bait into small pails. It was very thick heavy and Logan Enjoys Her Successful sweetsmelling.Weallgotintohistruckanddroveoffpailsbounc- ing and all. Eventually we stopped in the middle of nowhere. He asked that I be quiet and walk slowly behind him. We walked into the woods and he paused next to a tree stand. He said This is your bait. This is where you will shoot your bear. I watched as he walked to a barrel and emptied the bait. He pounded the bar- rel with the pail very loudly and smiled. He bent half way and pointed to his ribs. I asked Dad what is he doing He whispered Hes pointing to where he wants you to aim when the bear walks in to the barrel. The next day was long since we didnt start until late in the after- noon. I waited patiently until finally we headed into the woods. We walked down the trail and Dad helped me get into the stand. Dad brought a pail of bait with us and put it into the barrel. He pounded the barrel loudly and walked back to me. He climbed the stand and sat down beside me and pulled up my gun. I loaded it and sat quietly. Dad said I squirmed around a lot. I say I waited patiently. Nothing came and darkness fell. I was very sad. Dad gave me a nice hug and said Hunting isnt always about shooting animals. Its about the adventures you have along the way that matters most. I wasnt sure what he meant at the time. All I knew was I was sad. I worked hard all summer and didnt see a bear. Dad said Be patient and good things will happen. The following day was a repeat of the day before. Another long wait until we finally headed back out. Dad brought another pail with us but this time I noticed he had a spray bottle with him. Whats that I asked. Jeff said its his special secret ingredi- ent.He told me to spray the area down with it before we sit. We walked in and I noticed the barrel wasnt standing up. Dad stood the barrel up and emptied 2 pails of bait into it. He sprayed Jeffs special ingredient high into the trees and around the barrel. He pounded the barrel loudly and walked back to me. He climbed the stand and sat down beside me and pulled up my gun. I loaded it and sat quietly. Dad said I squirmed around a lot. I still say I waited patiently. I stared forever at that barrel until Dad pointed at a chipmunk that was making a lot of noise. Dad whispered to me Youre still Bear Hunt b yLogan Tedesco