IMG_3031 - Copy.jpgIMG_0035.jpgJust returned from an 11 day AK Peninsula brown bear hunting trip. Had a great time, and saw 38 bears total (including 3 days of non-hunting days due to are arrival 3 days early). Weather was not to bad, I never hunt the mornings anyway, and most of the bad weather would let up around 3pm and we would have decent weather till 12am or so. This trip was my third year into this same area (2004, 2008) and I saw the most bears this particular year, even though many folks I talked to said it was a terrible bear seeing season this year on the Peninsula. Yes we had more snow then normal in the high country, but there was plenty of evidence that bears had been out for some time.
Anyway we ended up taking three good bears this year, passed up plenty of others, and in-fact, I had an 11.5 foot to 11.75 foot boar two different times, once at 402yards, and the second at 406 yards. The last time I had a perfect rest, no wind and a perfect broadside shot, but decided not to take him. I have set my max distance on bears at 300 yards, it was hard to do, but that is bear hunting. This bears front pad was 9 1/2" - 9 3/4" in width, his rear pad to the front of his claws was 16" long. I have a video of this particular bear, with the bear that I ended up taking, and he is easily 1/3rd to 1/2 half larger then my bear. Anyway, if I can get a single frame of the video, I will post it to see what you all think. I believe he was a very old boar, that just recently came out of his den, he did not have a rub mark one on him.
It was just not in the cards for me to take him, but I still took a bear that was exactly what I was looking for. He went 9'9" squared un-stretched with a skull that measured 27 7/16". He was a light brown color, and was a hellava brawler bear. His ears where chewed down to just about 1" above his skull, his outer lip was ripped open, had a larger hole all the way through his lip from a tooth of another bear, and to top it off, he had one nut left cause the other one was ripped up from a not to recent fight! I took my bear with a custom Winchester 70 CRF chambered in a wildcat cartridge, 416 RUM shooting 400gr Barnes TSX at 2410 fps. He was walking straight down a ridge to me and I was a little bit to the right of him. I shot him when he gave me a slight broadside shot at 284 yards, but from the time I touched the trigger, to the bullet impact, he must have changed back to straight forward, and I caught him just below the lower right jaw, the bullet zipped through the atlas joint (spine/neck/head junction) and traveled all the way down to his left hip. He was dead before he hit the ground, but it was late at night (11:25pm) so I gave him about 15 mins (at the time I did not know I hit him where I did, if I did know I would not have waited) and walked up to him. By pure luck, the only part of the skull/jaw that was damaged was part of the atlas joint and a minor crack in the rear skull, but it was not even close to the rear of the skull, and was unaffected for BC measurement purposes.
My buddies bear was 9'6" squared un-stretched with a skull that measured 27 1/4". He really wanted to take this bear with a recurve, and made a stalk on him, but it did not turn out, so he ended up taking him with my brothers Rem 700 in 375 Ackley at 181 yards with 3 shots, all lung hits.
My brothers bear was an 8' squared un-stretched with a skull that measured 22 3/4". He was looking for a rub free hide, and this bear was exactly that. It had an almost red tone to the color. He made a great shot at 165 yards with his Rem 700 in 375 Ackley shooting 300gr Nosler Partitions at 2610 fps.
Well again, it was a great hunt, could not have asked for anything better, my last hunt as an active duty military member, I am retiring after 21yrs and moving back to North Pole in July, and doing a sheep hunt, and was drawn for a Chugach Mountains goat permit.