I just posted another thread about sighting in my Marlin XL7 30-06 at the last minute a few days ago, in preparation for a next-day black bear hunt. Thanks to a friend, and his predator calling skills I got my first bear last night. I'll get some pics up as soon as I can figure out how to get this silly computer to recognize my camera, but until then, here are the details:
We began by checking a couple bait sites, both of which had been hit. It was still mid-afternoon, so we drove about 12 miles back toward home and set up camp along a stream. To start the day off right, I pulled a 16" Rainbow out of the stream. At about 9:00 (Just over 24 hours ago) we decided to hop on the fourwheelers and head to the tree stands. We arrived at the stands, and climbed up around 10:15 to sit for what we thought would be about a three-hour wait.
My friend decided to give his predator call a whirl, and we were there for only an hour before a small black bear showed his curiosity. Remember, this was to be my first bear so size was only important as it relates to the legality of the animal as game. He was big enough, so the game was on. He came in from the opposite direction as expected though, so I was now in an awkward position to shoot. He was moving through the brush, circling us and trying to get our scent. I stood up slowly and turned around backwards in the stand, bracing my support hand on the trunk of the tree.
Finally, a narrow window of opportunity presented itself as the bear stood up, testing the wind. The shot was like threading a needle with the number of trees, and brush. All I had was a head shot, so I held slightly low (He was at about 70 yards and I'm zeroed 1" high at 100) and squeezed off the shot. My hand-loaded Nosler 180 gr. partition was pushed by 58.5 grains of RL19 through the brain and out the back of the neck. The bear fell over backward, and never moved again. He was dead before he hit the ground.
For my first big-game animal, I feel as though it could not possibly have gone any better. I'm exhausted from all the work that followed, but my family now has good healthy meat to last for a while. (He wasn't into the fish yet)
My buddy estimates he'll square around 5'2" to 5'4". His coat is beautiful with no rubs and a hint of cinnamon color phase. I can't afford a rug, but I'll at least get him tanned and hang him on a wall. Here's hoping there are many more to follow him!