By: ChyAnn Christensen Jurardo
I had just finished my hunter’s safety, and decided to put in for the Spring Bear Hunt. I had never hunted bear but I knew that it would be a blast. I thought there would be no way I would draw on my first year putting in, I mean, who gets a tag on their first year? Plus, I had never been hunting before. Growing up I heard lots of stories from my Grandpa Bert Staheli and my Uncle David Welch about their hunting trips and how rewarding it was after all of the hard work they would put into it.
One morning I’m checked my emails and I saw one from the Utah Wildlife. I opened it and it and read,
Thank you for your recent application for the Black Bear Drawing. Your results are: SUCCESSFUL.”
I thought it was a joke how could I have drawn a bear tag already? I ran to my grandparent’s house to tell them my exciting news. After I told him the good news, he started to laugh. I asked, “What is so funny?” He replied, “You’re going to have a few people mad at you. I know guys that have put in for a bear hunt for years and still haven’t drawn out.” I guess I just got lucky.
I started preparing to go on the bear hunt because I had a lot to do! I had nothing. No long johns, no hiking boots, nothing. The night before we were going to go, I realized I didn’t even have a gun that would take down a bear. My Uncle David was nice enough to lend me a gun that would get the job done. My mom had been a little concerned about the whole thing to begin with. She wasn’t sure she was okay with the idea that I would be pursuing a large black bear. My uncle calmed her down, expressing that I probably wouldn’t even get a bear and if I did shoot one, it definitely would not be on the first day. My mom seemed relieved.
The next night my friends and I headed up to Bryce Canyon to stay at Ruby’s Inn. We must have got to bed really late because my friend Tyler woke me up at around 4 in the morning and it seemed to me that I didn’t get an ounce of sleep. But it was showtime! Time for us to go find a bear. We jumped into the truck and headed out. A couple of hours had passed of us driving down roads looking for a track. It was a little on the boring side but I liked being out there in the snow, driving around looking for a non-existent bear. I kept thinking, ”Wow, I have a few weekends of this?” Out of nowhere Tyler says “Track! We found a track!” We got out of the truck and right there is a freaking bear track in the snow. His dogs started to go crazy! Tyler let loose the dog and they took off following the frozen tracks in the snow. We jumped back in the truck and started chasing the dogs. As we were driving, Tyler started yelling at me to grab my gun and run up this mountain with him. I gave it my best shot but couldn’t keep up.
After feeling defeated, we headed back down the mountain and climbed in the truck, while continuing to chase the dogs. For the second time Tyler yelled at me to follow him up the steepest mountain in Southern Utah. This time he said the dogs have him bayed again. I ran my little heart out but didn’t make it in time. Frustrated with myself, I got back in the truck again and started heading in the direction of the dogs. This time we drove ahead of the dogs and started hiking up a hill. As we reached the top we looked over the side and to my surprise, there was the bear! I couldn’t believe it! He was running from the dogs. Every couple of seconds he would turn around, grab a dog and throw it like it was a doll. Tyler then urged, “Hurry ChyAnn get your gun and shoot him, he’s going to kill one of my dogs!” I shot! But the first shot didn’t kill him, the second shot was the one to bring him down. I sat there in amazement. Did that just happen?
I was so stoked! Now, I might never draw again but luckily my husband James loves “Chasing Tail” as he would say. We go with our friend Jared Heath every chance we get. It was one of the coolest experiences of my life and I want to do it again!
By: ChyAnn Christensen Jurado