The willow patch wasnt very big as far as brush patches go. bout half an acre or so give or take. It was a good place to kill a bear and i knew that when i told Ed to shoot. He held his mustard till i gave him the go ahead, and at sixty yards let a solid initial shot fly with his 300. And thats when things went as they regualarly do when shooting brown bears...chaotic. Eds second shot hit the bear in unbeknownst regions and as the bruin turned for the brush i raked a quartering shot through from the last rib with the "ugly stick". Thats about the time the bear hit the afore mentioned willow patch. Having open ground surrounding the given brush a wounded bear enters is quite a bonus, and i didnt feel too worried about the whole deal. The whole deal ended up being anticlimatic (or "perfect" depending on which stance you take on such things...i'll go with "perfect" ) and after i found the mortally wounded bear trying to exit the patch i quickly dispatched it for good and after assuring death, called my ecstatic client over to rellish the beauty of his trophy.
This excerpt from my last brown bear hunt this fall guiding season happened after over three months in the field (pretty sure i only got three showers in that time) five successfull brown bear hunts, two succesfull moose hunts, one caribou, and a sheep...one hundred percent on tags issued (the sheep was mine...my first, and very small, and one of my proudest moments, and most satisfying times with my dad in my life, but thats a whole different story) i guess what i'm getting at mainly is that during that three months i was the sole responsible person for the death of nine game animals. five brown bear, and seven if you want to include spring season. now i'm fairly young in this game...still wading through my first decade guiding hunters in this uncomparablely awsome state...but man. i can really say that the killing wore heavy on my psyche this season. i know, i know. it's what i do...and its completeing justified. i'll also be the absolute first to spout MANY reasons why sport hunting and the monetary value of our game animals is so dire to the conservation of said animals...i know all that. i beleive it too. STILL DOESNT MEAN THE KILLING DOESNT WEAR ME DOWN. if Ed hadnt been such a good sort, and didnt respect that animal he'd just taken as much as he did...well, hell, i mighta cried. i was really at the point at the end of that hunt, that i just didnt want to see another brown bear hit the dirt.
as i write this i'm kinda torn in two peices...its not as if i have a choice. i'm a hunter. i didnt choose it, it chose me. theres nothing anyone could do to tear me away from chasing them once again as soon as they wake up this coming spring...but its the first time it's really gotten to me. and its a strong enough emotion to me to state it here on the forum...and to hear what others have to say on this subject. especially guides and trappers and hunters who get out and do it alot...wholesale killers if we're being incorrect politically. when everythings said and done, those bears and those two moose died for money. period. no apologies here for that, i make no qualms with hunting and trapping to support myself and fiance (by the way...i'm gettin married at the sci show in vegas this year...fitting for a guy *****ing about killing animals eh?) and even more ironic is that i'm headed back to the mnts for two months in a mere three weeks...to kill as many marten as possible (while keeping within my goal male to female ratio of course) and hopefully a few wolverine as well.........maybe these emotions are good. they keep the killing and the hunting seperate, and they make me feel a little less savage. not that i feel that's needed...but checks and balances are good right. i suppose when i dont care i'll quit. i've always said that if i dont retain that adrenaline and excitement that is so much a part of big game hunting then i'll quit...you can have the ugly stick and retire her when that happens....well now the same can be said for any hardening of the killing that i do...i dont want a hard heart to it...caring about those game animals makes us good hunters. it makes us wanna learn about them and utilize the resource in a way that'll sustain it. when i feel numb about the killing...welll....if that happens i'll quit for sure.
these are just musings from a tired guide after a very long and rewarding season....by all means, throw all your pennies at me. i'd love to hear that i'm not the only one that feels this way...
included are different angles of the above mentioned bear...amidst the willow patch and all.
obviously i havent been on the forum in quite some time. old faces and new, i hope it was a rewarding season to all involved, filled with great memories and adventures...for this is why we gather, and this is the season we so long for all year.