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Thread: Spring Bear Hunt

  1. #1

    Default Spring Bear Hunt

    Here are a few photos of the brown bear I hunted in the spring of 2001. I was on a solo hunt in the Ahklun Mountains, just south of the Kilbuck Mountain Range. After coming across the tracks it took me 2 days of tracking before I spotted the bear high up on the crest of the highest mountain. At that time I was using a Weatherby Mark V Stainless rifle in 340 Weatherby, scoped with a Leupold 4x fixed power, ammunition was factory Weatherby 250 grain Nosler Partitions. When I initially read the tracks the bear had been chasing a caribou and had almost caught it, I could tell from the splash of blood in the snow on the caribou's trail. I must have come up on the bear's hunt just as the he was almost on the caribou. The caribou's tracks headed down off the mountain, while the bear's tracks headed straight for the top. There was also a set of red fox tracks following the bear's trail, probably hoping for a meal. Anyway there is no experience like hunting brown bear on a solo hunt, especially in the spring. Almost time for making plans for another bear hunt. Enjoy the photos. First photo is of the bear and my rifle, the second is me and my dad with the bear hide stretched out to show it's size.
    Last edited by WDChurchJr; 04-25-2007 at 19:02.

  2. #2

    Default additional bear pic

    Photo of my dad and me with the spring bear hide stretched out. Squared out to 8 feet, which in my opinion is a respectable size for a first bear. It took me hours to skin out the bear since I skinned it out completely, including the paws. Once I got the hide home the real work began, took me 2 days of fleshing the hide for hours at a time to prepare it for drying. Bear hunting is one of the most exciting hunts you can be involved in but you gotta remember that the real work begins after the hunt is over and the animal is down. Enjoy
    Last edited by WDChurchJr; 04-25-2007 at 19:02.

  3. #3

    Default I can only dream

    That is a nice bear no matter how manny you have shot.

  4. #4



    Awesome story. Tell me more about it. You can PM me if you like, but I am sure others wounldn't mind reading about it either. Once you cut his tracks, how did you keep up with him without going back to camp....did you make a spike camp? How many times did you have to shoot him? How did you get that heavy hide out my yourself??

    There is a real good possibility that I will be moving to Fairbanks this summer. I dream of going bear and moose hunting. I think your solo hunt has to be the ultimate adventure.


  5. #5

    Default Measuring Bear Hides

    Most experienced hunters probably already know how to measure bear hides, so this is not new information for you but for hunters new to bear hunting this is the standard method used for accurately measuring the hide.
    For my bear I measuring the raw bear hide by adding the length of the hide nose to tail to the width from claw tip to claw tip (on the front legs) and then dividing the measurement by two. This method will give you the squared measurement of the hide.

    Measuring Bear Tracks
    Here is another method I use to get a rough estimate of the size of a bear when I am tracking: Measure the width of the front track in inches, add one inch and change it to feet. An eight-inch-wide track means a nine-foot bear may have made it.
    Last edited by WDChurchJr; 04-01-2007 at 11:18.

  6. #6

    Default Sacredness of the Hunt

    When a hunter hunts a dangerous animal alone it usually is a very personal experience almost sacred, so sharing the story with other hunters and interested folks is a little difficult. Hunters who have killed dangerous animals for food, sport or self defense understand what a hunter goes through physically, emotionally, intellectually and above all spiritually during the hunt. I have decide to share a little bit about what I went through spiritually to show respect to the animal that I killed. Here is how I showed my respect to the bear that I killed.
    The first shot was a spine shot at approximately 200 yards, it was a little difficult since he was climbing back up the face of the mountain that he had climbed down earlier that afternoon. Since the bear was immobilized with the first shot I was able to get within 20 feet for the second shot, which was a heart shot. With great dignity the brown bear held his ground eventhough the second shot was fatal, it seemed like he held his ground for 5 minutes before he finally rolled over on his right side. All this time while he was dying he just stared into my eyes. The image of the bear's death was imbedded into my psyche for days afterward. After he rolled over I waited for about 5 minutes before I approached him from the rear, using the muzzle of my loaded rifle with the safety off I poked the bear on the rump and when I was sure that there was no movement I followed his back, poking him again on the shoulder as I worked my way to his head and then finally poked his eye with the muzzle of my rifle all the time being very cautious and ready to fire if he moved. When I was confident that the bear was dead I knelt down beside the bear and thanked him for giving his life to me I told him what I would do with his flesh and how I would use his hide for my mattress to keep me warm when I camp in the winter. Afterward I thanked the Creator for allowing me the opportunity to hunt this bear and to have watched over my life and kept me safe. Finally I gave the bear a drink of water for his journey back to the Spirit world. This is how I showed my respect for the bear that I killed. I felt I needed to put the sacredness back into the hunt, especially for an animal that had once held a high place in our traditional hunting society and that was always treated respectfully by our ancestors not that long ago, hunters who walked on these lands and hunted the bear's ancestors before our time.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Missoula, MT


    Thank you very much for sharing the story. J.

  8. #8

    Default Tracking the Bear

    After tracking the brown bear high up on the mountain with my rifle chambered and ready I ended up running into a dense fog. The mountain I was on was strewn with many large boulders which didnít help the situation any, so I decided to turn back and head down toward the southerly base. When I reached the base I headed for the other side of the mountain hoping to get a glimpse of the bear as he was cresting the summit or if not to cut his trail or spot him as he was coming down off the face. After working my way around the southern base and realizing that he was still up on top since I didnít cut his trail I continued on until I reached the eastern end which turned out to be impassable. While I was glassing the tops of the mountains hoping to get a glimpse of the bear I noticed a red fox sitting in front of a small valley which seemed to run into the mountain. I wondered to myself if this was the same fox that had been following the bear the day before as he was stalking the lone caribou. Not having cut across any other fox tracks on my trip around the mountain I figured that it must be the same fox and I also wondered what is he doing here waiting in front of this small valley. Not taking anything for granted I decided to take a look, I entered the valley and went as far as I could until I reached the inside face which inclined straight up to the top, a dead end. As I was looking up the mountain to my surprise the bear appeared, he slowly walked along the edge of a large overhang of snow until he reached the peak. I took my Steiner Military 8x30 binoculars out of my pack and watched as he stopped on the summit and surveyed his surroundings before disappearing over the other side. Well now I had a glimpse of the bear and I was satisfied, I almost turned around right then and there and headed for home but something told me to give it another try. So I turned around and backtracked on my trail and made it back to where I left off earlier just below the fog. I worked my way along the side of the mountain heading toward the west side occassionally I would stop and glass the surrounding area. During my last stop I spotted another small valley coming off of the mountain, it looked similar to the previous one. I did not recall seeing this little valley the day before or even earlier that day. I figured from the base of the mountain and my earlier location that it must have been hidden, or else I would have noticed it. I headed straight for it and went through, when I rounded the bend which turned slightly to the left I spotted something dark up ahead just in front of the face and to my ultimate surprise there was the brown bear sitting on his haunches in the snow just watching and waiting. I took out my biniculars and sure enough it was the bear and he looked like a pretty good sized bear too. Looking at the layout of the little valley there was no way to approach the bear except out in the open straight to him. I thought well if he climbs back up the mountain that will be okay, I thoroughly enjoyed the hunt and was satisfied with just seeing the bear again. I could also sense from the bear's reactions and responses over the course of two days and tracking him to that little hidden valley that he knew he was being hunted and that this was his time to decide whether he would give his life to me or continue living. As I made my way closer and closer to him he just sat there and watched me, when I was within 200 yards he got up on all four legs and started heading for the incline intending on climbing back up the mountain, that's when I took aim and then readjusted my aim again just to make sure, then I fired.
    The rest of the story is history since I told it to you already in the post titled: Sacredness of the Hunt. End

  9. #9

    Default End of the Hunt

    This will very likely be my last post on this thread, hope everyone enjoyed my story about hunting brown bear out here in rural Alaska. May write a few more hunting stories in the future if folks are interested. Thanks for reading my post and I hope the story was educational as well as entertaining.

    "When out in the wilderness always expect the unexpected".

  10. #10
    Member martentrapper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Fairbanks, Ak.


    Yea, good story. But what kind of snogo were you using?
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

  11. #11
    Member kahahawai's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007


    Pictures can look deceiving, but he looks like his hide was kind of rubbed on top, do you have a picture of the rug or mount? Just wondering...K

  12. #12

    Default 1999 Polaris Transport 440

    Quote Originally Posted by martentrapper View Post
    Yea, good story. But what kind of snogo were you using?
    Thanks martentrapper for providing that insight on your PM. Regarding my transportation while on the hunt, I used a 1999 Polaris Transport 440 and towed a 8ft long 34 inch wide homebuilt plywood sled, so I was able to bring back all the bear meat and hide in one load, made the hunt easier also. End


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