Lynn Little Wolf Hoffman knew the big bear was out there.
He had watched for it the past two years, even while taking a bear half its size a year ago.
“I knew this guy was around. I just couldn’t connect,” Hoffman said.
Then on Oct. 20, the bear ambled to within a dozen yards of the tree stand where Hoffman waited with his crossbow.
Hoffman, who lives in Buck Mountain, had perched in a patch of hardwoods and mountain laurel that sits between two swamps.
Hunters near one of the swamps commonly push bears toward him.
“It’s a honey hole I have there,” said Hoffman. Of the eight bears he has felled in Pennsylvania, six have fallen near that spot.
This year’s bear, a male, was his largest ever, weighing 544 pounds.
And possibly his last.
He is 66, awaiting knee replacement surgery and said bursitis pains him as he draws a bow, which led him to convert to a crossbow for archery season.
When facing the largest meat-eater in the Pennsylvania woods with a bow, Hoffman, an organizer of the annual Native American pow-wow at Camp Rotawanis in Drums, said he hasn’t been scared.
“The only time you have to worry about a bear is when she has small cubs. By hunting season, those cubs are pretty good sized,” Hoffman said. “When an arrow hits, they just want to get out of that area.”
He does, however, stay away from wounded bears.
In other hunts when a bear scampered out of sight after being stuck by an arrow, Hoffman waited until the next day to track it.
“If they go in real thick laurel and I have to get on my hands and knees, that would be dangerous,” he said.
That wasn’t necessary this season.
The bear ran approximately 70 yards and dropped where Hoffman could see it from his tree stand.
Even after three decades as a reporter at the Standard-Speaker, Kent Jackson still enjoys meeting people, learning more about the community and sharing stories with readers. He currently covers schools but has reported on local government, health, police and the environment. Regularly, he writes about outdoor sports, wildlife and conservation for the Wildlife page on Sundays. Contact: 570-455-3636; email@example.com