Shot a bear lately? Ben Montgomery tells what it was like

Big Rapids hunter bags his first bear

Big Rapids' Ben Montgomery shows the rewards of his first successful bear hunt.

Big Rapids' Ben Montgomery shows the rewards of his first successful bear hunt.

Courtesy photo

BIG RAPIDS – Big Rapids’ Ben Montgomery is a local outdoorsman who enjoys all different types of hunting and usually experiences enormous success.

You can now throw bear hunting into that mix.

Montgomery earned a bear hunting permit for this season in the Baldwin unit and was able to take advantage of it.

He said he bagged the bear on Sept. 17 in Lake County, southwest of Baldwin around 9:03 a.m. He was hunting with a houndsman group.

“They’re guys that train dogs,” Montgomery said. “I’ve been putting in for preference points for years and cashed them in this year.”

It was his first successful bear hunt.

“These are professional houndsmen who have trained dogs and they have bait stations they check with their cellular camera,” Montgomery said. “If the bear has been there the dogs will key on that. They’ll run the dogs, they’ll release the dogs and the dogs are faster than the bears and will catch up to the bear and the bear will climb the tree. The radio prowlers will transmit where they’re at and you go there and get the bear.

“The dogs use their noses and they’ll trail the bears and catch up to him.”

Montgomery shot the bear while it was in the tree and needed one shot to bag the bear which was estimated at 200 pounds.

“That’s pretty average size in Michigan,” Montgomery said. “There’s bigger and smaller ones. They would say this was a good bear to take for a first-timer.”

It was a fun hunt, Montgomery said.

“It was the excitement of working with the dogs, and watching these highly trained dogs do what they are bred to do,” he said. “I was happy to have a successful experience in the Michigan woods.

It was the only bear he saw that day.

“Bear numbers are up in Michigan,” Montgomery said. “Pete Kailing our local DNR biologist, spoke to the Rotary Club several months ago and said predator numbers of all kinds are up Michigan and bear numbers specifically are high and healthy.”