Last weekend one of my my hunting buddies and I returned to the area where our other partner tagged a big brownie (9' 2") and we got two wolves two weeks prior. Early in the morning we saw a big sow with two, two year old cubs. They had dug up an old moose kill from the fall before. We continued on to check on the bear carcass from two weeks ago and it was entirely consumed by eagles, ravens, and fox. We didn't see any bear or wolf tracks at the old kill site.
Farther down the way we cut some bear tracks in the rotting snow. That bear also dug up an old moose kill. We followed the tracks as they went into some spruce trees. The snow was three or four feet deep and so the bear would walk from tree well to tree well. I guess the melted out tree wells offered a little relief from the drudgery of walking in the rotten snow. So on we went until the alders got too thick. We backed out and thought we'd cut up the hill to see if the bear went over the hill and into slightly more open country. It did. About this time we both chambered a round as we thought we might be getting close. The bear tracks seemed to always go towards the sparsely spaced spruce trees and again going into the tree wells. The spruce got thicker. Suddenly, the bear charged out from a tree well at about 35 yards distance - yeehaw! He stopped at about 25 yards. There, he stomped his front feet and shook his head back and forth while he decided wether to fight or flee. My old brain was processing the information rather quickly. I saw that he had a nice big head, but had no time to look him over for size or for the condition of his hide. He took one step in retreat and I sent a 180 gr Game King from the ol 300 wsm right behind the shoulder. He dropped in his tracks. I put one more behind the shoulder for insurance. My buddy and I stood there looking at each other for a while.
ADFG measured the skull at 26 and 0/16". I squared the hide at 8' 9" when using the tips of the front claws and 8' 6" when using the edge of the front pads. He's a good one. He had a pretty nasty scar on one of his shoulders which was old and healed over. He also has 3 busted and crooked teeth - ouch. Maybe he got kicked by a moose?
The next day we saw 3 gray wolves on a fresh cow moose they killed. Lucky for them the season closed 11 days prior. There were also bear tracks at the moose kill, but we never did locate the bear. We thought it strange that a bear would leave a half eaten moose. Maybe the wolves chased it off or ? We cut another bear track, but didn't find that one either. With two big brownies and two wolves we'll call it a spring season.....until next year