Bear Cub Crawls into Tree Stand, Startles Bow Hunting Brothers

by Jennifer Shea
Anuwar Ali Hazarika / Barcroft Media / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

A large bear cub got the jump on two hunters in their tree stand last May in the Canadian province of Manitoba. 

A video of the encounter, which has since gone viral, shows the hunters staying still as the cub clambers up into their tree stand. Eventually, after sniffing around for a bit, the cub climbs back down.

Bear Cub Survived the Encounter

Wes Marchak talked to For The Win Outdoors about the encounter this month. He explained that he and his brother had gone up into the stand to hunt bears. They just weren’t expecting the bears to come quite so close to them.

“It was my brother’s first time hunting,” Marchak said. He did not share his brother’s name.

Marchak believes the bear cub was about 4 years old. The cub’s mother was nowhere to be seen, and she had probably long ago left her cubs to look after themselves.

The hunters let the cub go unharmed. They were searching for a much more formidable target.

Marchak told FTW he had been after “a certain bear with great size and lots of meat to fill my freezer.” He killed that bear a few days after the video was taken.

A Less Risky Approach

Marchak and his brother took a riskier approach than the New Jersey deer hunter who killed a young male bear in 2015 because it was making its way up his tree stand.

That hunter told authorities he had shouted at the bear multiple times to scare it away, the Associated Press reported. When the bear got to about 3 feet away from him, he shot it, because he feared for his life.

After the bear toppled out of the tree and hit the ground, the hunter found a fisherman nearby. Together, they reached out to the Department of Environmental Protection to report the shooting. It was not black bear hunting season at the time.

The hunter had seen the bear wandering around the area about an hour before it tried to climb into his tree stand. 

New Jersey DEP spokesman Larry Ragonese said wildlife officials found evidence at the scene of the shooting that backed up the hunter’s account of events. 

The hunter, who had done everything he could to make the bear go away, did not face any charges. 

Black bears are common in Manitoba. But in recent years, scientists have documented black, grizzly and even polar bears all sharing the same land in northern Manitoba, according to the CBC. They believe it is due to a combination of factors, including that berry abundance has grown over recent decades.