I just got back from a great hunt out of Ketchikan. I got invited down to chase some big old black bruins, and couldn't pass up the opportunity. I flew out on Thursday the 9th to meet up with the crew.
Jesse was already out there and had taken a masher a couple days earlier with his bow. Beau was on his way up from Ketchikan with his boat. We spent the afternoon jawing away and looking for bears. Beau arrived at last light, and we set out Friday morning searching for bears along the beach and in some meadows, but they just weren't moving around. The weather was great, sunny and 50 degrees. That night I saw two bears, one was a shooter, but he gave the slip through the forest before I could work into shooting position.
Saturday was fun exploring around the inlets and looking for bears, but again, it was very slow. With Sunday being my last day to hunt I was getting nervous that we wouldn't even get a good chance at a bear. Heading back to camp that night, we saw a little bear close to camp, and watched as he ambled off down the beach. We put several miles on foot up some logging roads and saw lots of sign, but no bears.
Sunday at 10am it was like a switch was flipped. The bears started popping up everywhere. We were sitting on the edge of the forest looking over a meadow with a ton of bear sign around us. The first bear we saw was a smaller guy, but it was a good sign. As we were sitting back watching the meadow, a big boar jumped in the creek about 10 yards away from us and swam to the other side. He looked like a beaver swimming, and we couldn't tell if he was a big boar or not. He came out on a gravel bar at 40 yards and looked like a wet lab just out of the water. Soon he wandered up to the other shore and we started to realize he was a brute. He wandered down the other shore, so we followed him along the creek. It narrowed where we were going, so there was a good chance I'd get a 30 yard shot across the creek.
A couple hundred yards down we started filming. The bear didn't know we were there, but the wind had us nervous and we were wondering if he'd come back over to our side. Sure enough he did on a partially submerged tree, and when he popped up on the bank at 5 yards, I drew my bow and had to wait in an awkward position too long. I let down, and the bear started towards us, then turned broadside. I drew back again and the arrow somehow ended up under my rest. I tried to flick it up with my grip hand, but it popped off the string. Panic mode ensued, and I quickly re-nocked the arrow and Jesse huffed at the bear. He stopped broadside for another second, but slowly disappeared into the woods. As disappointing as it was, I had a smile on my face because that was a cool stalk on a big bear, and we got some great footage out of it.
We saw another 11 bears that day, but only 1 as big as the bruin that I stalked earlier. I put a sneak on a couple other bears that we couldn't tell if they were shooters or not. I could have brought home a bear, but I was focused on getting something with a big noggin as I'd like to get a shoulder mount of a bulky headed boar. Beau and I took the boat back to Ketchikan on Sunday afternoon, and I flew back to Fairbanks on Monday. Can't wait to get back down there and spend a little longer to try and bag one of those big guys.