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Thread: Grandson's Alaska Bear

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    Member Bullwinkle50's Avatar
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    Default Grandson's Alaska Bear

    To me, this is what it is all about. I appreciate the big bears just like everybody else but some things are just more important. It all started back in 2009 when I was elk hunting with my grandson in Colorado. I asked him if he would like to bear hunt Kodiak Island. He jumped at the chance and I told him that would be my present to him for graduating high school. I put him in for the 2011 season and nothing so I put him in again for the 2012 season. The results came out last year and like everyone else in Alaska I couldn’t wait to look at the file Friday evening at 5:00. Nothing for me but there was his name for his bear hunt. This worked out great because it was for the 2012 season and that was also the year he graduated. He had plenty of time to plan the hunt and schedule his classes to take the time off. We planned the hunt for the first full week of May to be close to the end of season and let the bears come out after the long, cold, and wet winter. He and his dad flew in from Colorado arriving in Anchorage after noon on 3 May. We spent the afternoon getting their final supplies and catching up. We all three flew to Kodiak early Friday morning and were met at the airport by Seahawk Air. We got our tag and supplies and headed out in the Beaver to our area.

    We were supposed to get dropped at Spirit of Alaska and then take a boat ride Friday afternoon to our area but that got delayed because of weather and being late for the afternoon high tide. It was decent weather at the cannery but looked like rain and snow at the head of the bay where we were headed. We decided to spend the night and take the boat ride Saturday morning to hit the high tide around 2:00 PM. We got to spend some time talking to other hunters during our down time. They had just spent their week hunting the same area we were headed into so we drilled them to get all the information we could on bear movement and activity. All information was greatly appreciated and we anxiously awaited our trip the next day.

    There was fresh snow almost down to the water when we woke up Saturday morning but it had cleared off and the day looked great. We loaded up and headed out for our slow boat ride. We had about 6 hours to kill before high tide so we took our time and looked over the mountains as we went. We spotted two bears during our trip but they were both well up in the snow and one of them was still going higher. The other bear wasn’t too far from where we were camping so we put him on our radar to watch. We beached about 2:00 and unloaded our gear. The spot was perfect with room for both our tents. This was the maiden voyage for my Kaitum 3GT and I was anxious to see how it worked for us.






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    Member Bullwinkle50's Avatar
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    By the time we got everything put up and ready for our stay it was time for supper so my grandson got water and we heated it up for the gourmet meal of Mountain House.

    About 7:00 I told my grandson we needed more water for breakfast so grab his rifle and the water bag. His dad decided to stay at camp and work around there so we took off. We traveled the 200 yards to our water source, got the water, and got comfortable to watch a mountain side for a while. After about an hour and nothing moving, I told him “Let’s move back towards camp and watch the tidal flats for a while.” We had been there for about fifteen minutes when I saw a bear about three miles away across the tidal flats. We watched it for some time before my grandson says “Grandpa, there’s a bear right here.” Sure enough, a bear had come up into the tidal grass about 300 yards in front of us. The bear was working its way towards us so we just sat and watched. It would move 20-30 yards then stand up on its hind legs and look down across the tidal flats. It did this five or six times while moving closer to us. I offered commentary to my grandson during the fifteen to twenty minutes this was going on to let him know it wasn’t a real big bear, it looked like a sow, it had a beautiful thick coat, and if it keeps coming, it will be right up in his lap. Each time the bear stopped to stand up and look across the flats the more I could see the anticipation in my grandson. He was starting to shake so bad I was afraid he would drop his rifle. At 116 yards, the bear stopped and locked on us. We had either moved, made a noise, or the wind shifted. The bear started moving off to its right and went behind a small mound. I told my grandson that if he was going to shoot this bear to get ready while it was behind the mound. The bear came out the other side and presented the right shot. The Browning A-bolt in 325 WSM spoke and the bear heard it. He had his bear and the excitement really kicked in. He barely touched the ground walking the entire distance.







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    Member Bullwinkle50's Avatar
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    Sunday we started breaking camp for an afternoon high tide pickup. About noon, we decided to take a break and head down close to the bear carcass to see if we could get pictures of some eagles. There weren’t any eagles around yet so we just sat there taking in all the beauty. It wasn’t long before my grandson said “there’s a bear”. We followed his look and located the bear digging in a beaver den along the beach on the other side of our camp. It soon got bored of this and started our direction. This was an older bear with the claws starting to turn white. We watched and took pictures as this bear kept getting closer. It got close and soon realized we were there but only deviated a little to go around us. It passed about 30 yards from us but kept its eyes on us the entire time.






    She got to a little stream about 50 yards in front of us and flopped down in the water.






    She stayed in the water drinking and bathing for about ten minutes before finally getting up and moving on. It went about another 100 yards and started feeding on the tidal grass. She fed for about an hour before heading back our direction. She crossed the small stream and started straight towards us. As she got closer, we decided it was time for us to start getting BIG. We were sitting there on the shore with nothing but cameras and a tripod with a bear coming right to us and knowing we were there. She finally decided to go around us and started circling at about 25 yards. She hit her back trail and we thought she would continue back to where she came. Obviously that wasn’t good enough for her because she turned around and started back towards us. Part of the way back, she dropped her head to the ground and smelled where we had walked. This seemed to increase her interest as she raised her head and kept coming our direction. She was now to within about 10 yards so we stood taller, talked more, and waived our only weapon, the tripod. At less than eight paces, she stopped and started stomping and huffing. The only thing we could think she was doing was to make us run and have a little fun. After playing with us for a few minutes, she decided to turn and go back to where she had come from.




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    Member Bullwinkle50's Avatar
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    We made it back to Spirit of Alaska to enjoy the rest of our stay on Kodiak and work on getting our flights changed. The time at the cannery was great with lots of beautiful scenery and good beach combing to do.













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    We even did some fishing and set a crab pot. This is our version of Deadliest Catch. We are dressed more for bear hunting than crabbing but we had a good time and pulled out 18 keepers. We threw them all back but six that we would eat.







    Our last supper on Kodiak was great. We feasted on bear backstrap, fresh cod, and crab.




    It was a great trip with three generations all together. The bear wasn’t the biggest but it was his first Alaska bear. It will always mean something to him and to me. We all enjoy hunting. I started my son when he was two and he did the same thing with his son. The tradition continues.

    Randy



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    Premium Member AZinAK's Avatar
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    Congrats to your grandson, and to you for being such a great example to him. Beautiful pictures and better memories I'm sure he hill never forget. Congrats again!

    AZinAK

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    Great story and pics! Thanks for sharing your trip and congratulations to your grandson!

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    Thanks so much for the FANTASTIC pics and story. I am extremely happy, and to be truthful, a bit envious, of you and your experience with your "boys".

    Hears to many, many, more...!!!

    PS.......When the bear got in the water in front of you, it's almost like she intended to give you a "photo op".........lol
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Thats about as good as it gets for a old man. Thanks for sharing
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    Congratulations. Great pics and story.

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    Awesome story and pics. Thanks for sharing.
    BK

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    Member Bullwinkle50's Avatar
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    Thank you all for the comments. My grandson is such a good kid but then I might be a little prejudice. It is easy to take pictures when you have such appealing subjects. I really look forward to more trips with the boys. Myabe next time we can make it last a little longer. I really wasn't ready for it to end so quick. My son wants to come up and take one with a bow. Maybe we can all get together again for that trip.

    4merguide, it really was like she was shoing off for us. We took lots of pictures and it provided such a memory for all of us.

    Randy

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    That was one of the best hunt reports I've read on here in a long time, and those pictures are phenomenal! Thanks for making my morning, sir, and congratulations to your grandson!

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    Randy, Thank you for sharing your time with us , that is a GREAT post. You are a lucky man to have Boys like that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullwinkle50 View Post

    4merguide, it really was like she was shoing off for us. We took lots of pictures and it provided such a memory for all of us.

    Randy
    Randy, I just got done showing your pics to my 19 year old daughter who really enjoyed them......being the picture taker she is. Again, looking at your pics, especially that last pic of the bear in the tall dead grass is nothing short of world class...!!!

    Oh, and I can imagine what it was like having to leave so soon. When I was reading your story, I had to stop and go back to when you said you made camp, and then packed up to leave. Far too short of a get together in the wilds of AK. for you all. But then again, sometimes, especially on Kodiak, you have to take the window that is presented or be ready to stay the distance, and possibly then some.....lol
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    AWESOME trip...congrats on spending some quality time with your Son and Grandson...some fantastic memories for sure. Thanks for sharing..

    Those are some of the best pictures out there for sure...great example to sure for explaining the features of a sow.

    Great job behind the camera.
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    Congrats to you and your grandson. Memories were made on that trip! The photos were stellar and your cooperative bear was a real bonus!

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    Member Bullwinkle50's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    That was one of the best hunt reports I've read on here in a long time, and those pictures are phenomenal! Thanks for making my morning, sir, and congratulations to your grandson!
    Brian,

    Thank you for the kind words. I just figured that since I have been on here for over 6 years it was time to learn how to post pictures and contribute to this fine forum. You do make me feel old calling me sir though. I hope I am not to old for my first sheep hunt later this year.

    Randy

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    Member Bullwinkle50's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    Oh, and I can imagine what it was like having to leave so soon. When I was reading your story, I had to stop and go back to when you said you made camp, and then packed up to leave. Far too short of a get together in the wilds of AK. for you all. But then again, sometimes, especially on Kodiak, you have to take the window that is presented or be ready to stay the distance, and possibly then some.....lol
    4merguide,

    The time was so short we weren't really ready for it all to happen. We had a GoPro video camera we were hoping to use and get it on video and that didn't happen either. I think it was all the excitement for him. It was pretty amazing calling his grandma on the sat phone at 2300 hours on the first day of actual hunting to tell her he shot his bear. She didn't mind that wake-up call. We were all set for the week long camping trip. Weather turned cold and wet after we left and it snowed about 4" late in the week.

    Randy

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullwinkle50 View Post
    do make me feel old calling me sir though. I hope I am not to old for my first sheep hunt later this year.

    Randy
    Ha! It's not an age thing - I routinely call those younger than me sir as well - it's just a habit. As for sheep hunting, there's no way you're too old for that. I was telling my wife the other day that when I turn 70 I plan to celebrate with a solo sheep hunt. I hope that I'm still allowed to hunt sheep by then, but regardless...as long as I can walk I plan to spend time in the mountains. I'm very much looking forward to that report!

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