September 26, 2022 at 6:03 p.m.
That was the case with Peter-Mark Hendrickson and old one-eye, as Hendrickson called him, because of the bear’s damaged left eye Hendrickson and his sons had seen in camera footage from as long as a year ago. The bear also had a large scar on his rear as if he had been in a fight.
“He looked thinner this year (in camera footage) and was kind of skin and bones,” Hendrickson said. “He looked like he was ready for the nursing home. I think he was going downhill.”
Hendrickson and his wife, Lynn, dairy farm near Menahga in Wadena County with their children, Ryan, Sarah, Bradley and Jill. They milk 115 Holsteins in a tiestall barn.
Hendrickson got his first bear tag in 2016 and shot a 200-pound bear that year. Bradley got a 300-pound bear last year. Hendrickson refers to Ryan as the trophy hunter of the group because he does not waste his tag on any old bear. The night before Hendrickson met his most recent bear in the flesh, Ryan dissuaded him from shooting a younger bear so they could hold out for old one-eye. They shined a light on the younger bear to chase him away out of their stand area to clear room for the older bear.
On the evening of Sept. 5, Bradley was in the stand with Hendrickson. Their stand is near a swamp on Hendrickson’s aunt’s land a few miles southeast of the Hendrickson farm.
As the sun was sinking low, fate finally put the bear in their path. Bradley could see with binoculars that the bear had a damaged left eye.
“That’s the one we were waiting for,” Hendrickson said.
The bear was coming from the east. Hendrickson hoped to use his pistol, but it was hard to see in the fading light. The bear walked up to about 10 feet in front of the stand and then turned north.
When the bear turned, they could see the scar on his rump.
Hendrickson grabbed his rifle.
“Even with all the years I’ve been hunting, your heart still pounds so hard that you think you could have a heart attack,” Hendrickson said.
The rifle shot in the neck was good, and the bear went down.
“I figure he was 10 or 12 years old,” Hendrickson said. “He still weighed 320 pounds, but I figure he was 400 or 500 pounds last year. He was a big old warrior before he got old.”
Hendrickson has sent one of the bear’s teeth to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to be tested for age.
In the meantime, the family has a new bearskin rug on the way as well as bear bacon, sausage and other cuts of meat. Hendrickson’s favorite is bear bacon.
“I just love it,” he said. “That’s my go-to stuff.”
As he looks back on that night, Hendrickson knows he has another great hunting memory to add to his collection.
“It was a fun night,” he said.
To Submit an Event Sign in first
No calendar events have been scheduled for today.