Monkees is a term I picked up from one of my compadres who is likely one of the guys with the most first hand experience of anyone alive at this time. He prefers a low profile so I won’t name him or say more other than he too believes them to be apes, hence monkees. Just something we do. I also call young bucks toy bucks, mature bucks bruisers, and so on….
In the Spring of 94′ I was bowhunting bear in northern Sask., roughly where the farmland ends and the big bush begins. 3rd-4th night on stand I had an experience that did not fit in anyway with a lifetime of hunting or poking around the bush. I was maybe 220 yards from the road where I was dropped off, 200 yards down a ridge into deep bush near a couple sloughs. first night on that stand were the usual swamp frog & spring bug sounds until just before dark, at which point they stopped all at once like someone flipped the off switch. I took that as an indication a bear was working toward the bait from a bear trail around the nearest slough and readied myself for a shot. Instead of a bear popping out, I heard what sounded like Harmon Killebrew warmimg up on a nearby tree, something I had never heard anywhere else outdoors. A couple very deliberate, spaced whacks. My first thought was to wonder if someone was chopping wood, but I knew there shouldn’t a human for miles, but if so why close to a bear bait, and why just a couple whacks? I knew bears didn’t whack on trees. It sure didn’t feel right and I figured the bear hunt was over for the night. I got down and started up the ridge to get the hell out (it was now bush dark down there) and get to the road to meet the guide. As I walked up the trail on the spine of that ridge it became apparent something was paralleling me up from across the draw to my right (how far away I don’t know as it was thick, but the draw was fairly narrow, so maybe 25 or 30 yards away) not being particularly quiet about it. Now I’m getting concerned that maybe an aggressive bear is over there so I stopped & nocked an arrow, and it stopped. That kind of made my neck hairs stand up. I began backing up the ridge now watching to my left, and it began moving with me. Whatever was over there jacking me around stopped before I got into the open, not showing itself. I now had a pretty fair open ditch between me and the tree line so had a better defensive position. I stood there with an arrow nocked until I saw the lights of the guides truck pulling up. Once on the way back to his place, the usual conversation began about how was it, did I see any bear, so I asked him if anyone was cutting wood around that stand? He replied there were no homes closer than his farm, which had to be a good 20 miles away. I then asked if any of his earlier hunters had mentioned anything about that stand? Nope. Well we had dinner and reading in my cabin that night I decided I was making something of nothing. Good night sleep and a day of helping around the farm, by the next afternoon I was ready to hit the same stand again. Fairly early in the evening a decent bear comes in and I pop him. We were instructed that if we shot a bear, to stay in the stand until the guide or his son came to get us & help recover it. So there I sit again as it begins to get bush dark, and what happens? Bush goes quiet, Whack, Whack, and I said F…. this. Same thing, something herds me up that ridge and out of the bush. This time the guide finds me on the road with an arrow nocked. I told him I shot a bear but I didn’t feel good about following up until light. He agrees and we come back the next morning. It had begun raining in the middle of the night and as it turns out the hit wasn’t as good as I thought. We lost the trail after about 150 yards. and several weeks later the bear, a good boar, was found about 75 yards further in. I felt bad about losing the bear but I had had enough of that stand and the bush around it. I told the guide I wanted to hunt a new stand, as far from that one as he had. I also asked if he had a rifle he could loan me as I had only brought my bow. He obliged me on both requests and the last day I had to hunt I shot a very aggressive boar at 20 feet, and I’m here to tell you that experience was nothing compared to the other. I can also advise I felt a lot safer with that 06′ and 180 grainers than with my bow, and I don’t mean in regard to bears.
I could come to no other conclusion other than something wanted me out of the area of that stand, and very cunningly & intelligently (which really spooked me) harried & herded me out of that piece of bush. Twice. I now began to come to grips that it might have been a BF but at that point had never even heard of wood knocking and their cute trick of running humans out of the woods with intimidation behavior. It really weighed on me after I got back home because I wondered if I could ever go in the woods and feel safe again. Understand that in addition to being an experienced hunter, I am prior service military and a career LEO, not exactly shy or prone to spooking. So I began learning more about monkees which led me to reaching out and gaining first hand knowledge from others and I was amazed that what happened to me has happened to lots of others who spend time outdoors. Too I was amazed at the amount of first hand knowledge & experience that was out there from folks who had either grown up with the things on family property and/or who decided to learn all they could about them by going out in the bush & seeking them out.
I will never know what I encountered those two nights in the bush, but it did match up with what I learned was reported monkee behavior. I strongly suspect that a BF wanted me out of that patch of woods, possibly so it could raid the bait barrel, figured with the falling darkness and me being alone it had the advantage, and decided to push me out rather than just wait for me to leave. I find the implied calculated & measured aggression very chilling…