I wasn't able to hunt the first half of the season due to work commitments but I did get out and try unsuccessfully for a black bear during the brown bear closure. I did see a few brown bears while chasing black bears and it kept me motivated for the October 25th opening of the brown bear season. On Tuesday the 24th a friend called me and gave me a heads up regarding a problem bear that has been roaming his neighborhood. The bear was a large boar and it was to the point that people were keeping their kids indoors. This changed my plans from heading up to Cooper Landing because this bear was only about 8 miles from my home. I went out and scouted and found an area about a half mile from the subdivision where the bear was frequenting. I didn't see the bear that scouting trip but noted the front foot tracks were about 8 inches across.
This was going to be an evening hunt so I headed out about 6pm and got settled into a comfortable blind. I had a shooting lane about 150 yards long and from the tracks I expected the bear to appear about 50 yards from my blind. After sitting there freezing my butt off for 45 minutes I saw a large cow moose step out on a hilltop across from me about 150 yards away. 15 minutes later a large brown bear stepped out in the exact same spot. The bear was walking away from me and went to the crest of the hill and stopped, he turned sideways and sat on his butt like he was enjoying the view. I didn't want to shoot him at the crest of the hill so I just watched him for a few minutes. A pickup truck drove by on a road behind me and the bear saw it and rolled over and melted into the woods. I was pretty cold by this point so I decided to give him another 20 minutes.
About 15 minutes later he stepped out into my shooting lane, this time at about 75 yards. He turned away from me and did that slow amble that big boars typically do. I prepared to shoot as he was well below the crest of the hill this time. I made my best imatation of a dying moose calf. He kept on going, I did it again, this time louder and he turned and looked back. I lined up for the shot and fired a round from my Ruger .375, the bear rolled as I ejected the shell then he was gone. He didn't give me an opportunity for a second shot.
Another friend of mine was hunting the same bear about a half mile away and heard the shot. He came over and we walked down to look for the bear. By this time it was dark and the thick brush made seeing anything difficult. We were not able to see any blood where the bear had been standing when I shot. We decided to back out and check during daylight hours.
That night I replayed the scene in my mind over and over and I knew I had to have made a good shot, the gun was steady, I was shooting from the prone and it was only about a 125 yard shot. What was nagging me was I didn't hear the "meat slap" of the bullet hitting.
The next morning I waited until the sun was well up in the sky before heading out. I knew the low angle of the sun would make it difficult to see into the woods where the bear had run. I went up to where I had last seen the bear and I could see the marks he made gaining traction after the shot. I followed his track, inching along slowly, glassing as I went. I then found a spot of blood, then another and then more. About 30 yards off the trail I saw what appeared to be a frost covered rock. I stepped closer and discovered it was the bear. He was dead and the sun reflecting off his frost covered fur looked like a mossy rock. He was beautiful, his legs were almost black and his body was a light tan colored.
I then called my wife and she brought our kids out to look at the bear. He stunk a bit and my 3 year old let me know this repeatedly.
I am going to resize the photos and post them shortly...