James Vandenberg's schedule this school year includes bears

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IOWA CITY — James Vandenberg's schedule this school year includes bears.

Not the bears from Baylor or Chicago. But real live ones from Canada that can eat you if you're not careful.

"Bears fight back," Vandenberg said. "That's why I'll be up in a tree."

Vandenberg, Iowa's junior quarterback from Keokuk, is an avid outdoorsman and has spent previous spring breaks hunting in Arkansas. Vandenberg, his father and Iowa teammate Nick Nielsen plan to hunt bears next May in northern Alberta.

Vandenberg said he has participated in a previous unsuccessful bear hunt. He has yet to inform his coaches about the trip.

"I haven't told them yet," he said. "You guys are the first to know. They know I'm an outdoors guy."

Vandenberg loves to bow hunt and said he killed his first deer at age 9. But his schedule hardly is conducive for his hunting hobby. Much of the football season overlaps hunting season, and football is his priority.

"I don't sneak out very much during the season. I don't have time," he said. "The peak of the rut is November 1 and that's when we want to be playing football."

He does break away for waterfowl hunting, which is less time-restrictive as other types of hunting.

"That's kind of what I've taken up since I've been in college," he said. "I have some buddies who do that and kind of sneak out once or twice during bowl prep, and on the bye week I got to sneak out once. It's something that my buddies are really good at and they let me go with them when I have a chance."

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