Granny Got Her Gun…and Went Hunting for Black Bear

Hunter Karen Kuch by The Bay City Times

Grandmas are some of the greatest people you will ever have in your life. Many of us have sweet memories of growing up with our grandmothers. They spoiled us rotten and hooked us up with all the good stuff our parents may have prohibited and they got away with it because, well, how can you be mad at someone as wholesome and kind as a grandma?

Though the image most of us get of a grandmother may involve knitting, baked goods, and watching soap operas or ‘stories’, not all grandmas are limited to such a life. In fact, one grandma in particular is showing us that the horizons of grandmas are highly expandable, up to and including hunting black bear in Michigan. That’s right, granny got her gun and went hunting for black bear.

Karen Kuch is a 73-year-old great-grandmother to 11 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. This year she was able to secure a license to hunt bear in Michigan through a lottery system. It took her seven years to get this license so when the time finally came, she loaded up her Ruger .44 Magnum rifle and set out to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in search of her quarry despite the presence of inclement weather. When the weather cleared after a few hours, the time was upon her to get that long awaited bear, but the first opportunity that came wasn’t a great one and the wait continued.

As the clock ticked onward, another bear made an appearance in Karen’s sights. Though she raised her rifle and took a shot, it was a miss. Despite her disappointment, her hunting crew, which consisted of Karen’s son-in-law Steve VandeMark as well as Jimmy Gretzinger with Michigan Out of Doors Television, was encouraging. They told her another bear would come, and sure enough they were right.

Around 5:30 pm on September 10th, a third bear made an appearance before Karen. This bear was larger than the previous two and was within range for a shot. Karen raised her rifle and took that shot, dropping a 220-pound Michigan black bear. This is what she had to say about her experience:

“It was the hunt of a lifetime,” she told The Bay City Times. “I was lucky enough to get a bear on my first hunt. It was such a thrill.”

The bear was killed in Luce County, just north of Newberry. Karen has noted that there was a good bit of fat on the bear, which is said to be an indicator of a harsh winter to come. Though the weather may be frigid this winter, that is not going to stop Karen. In fact, she is in the process of setting up her blind for the upcoming bow season which begins on October 1st.

Though Karen has only been hunting for the past 35 years of her life, she has some bragging rights when it comes to the sport. Nearly two decades ago she won a lottery for an elk license and was sure to make good use of it. In fact, she managed to snag an elk weighing in at 720 pounds at that time.

Karen has no plans to hang up her camo anytime soon. Her experience and attitude should serve as an inspiration to us all that it’s never too late to achieve your big game dreams. Though the game animal you’ve been chasing may not always come easy, it very well could be right around the corner. As Karen’s experience shows, sometimes the third time really is the charm.

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