2007 Petersburg Black Bears
Had a great time in Alaska as some of you might know from some of the pictures I posted. Any way I promised to report on the hunt as soon as I got back home. It was a very short but satisfying hunt to say the least.
We arrived in Petersburg on Sunday the 6th of May. We picked up some provisions and our skiff and went to the cabin. After we settled in at the cabin my friend Todd and I grabbed the guns and headed out to scout about and confirm zero on our rifles. Todd had hunted for bears in this area over the last two years and had failed to get a bear, but he new the area very well. After confirming the zero of our firearms, luckily it only took one shot each, we headed back to the cabin for some sleep before the hunt the next day.
Monday we headed into town in the morning to purchase our bear tags and poke about a bit to see if we could find out if any bears had been spotted or taken recently. Without any good local intel we headed out that afternoon from the cabin heading south through the narrows going to some honey holes where Todd had spotted bears before on previous hunts. It was a beautiful day probably in the low 50's with no rain and lots of sun.
We spent a lot of time glassing from the boat but not spotting any bears at any of the places that Todd had seen them before in the previous years so we decided to push further out and headed down towards Kah Sheets Bay. We glassed from a little island point at the mouth of the bay for a little over an hour and had some pop tarts but didnít see any bears from our vantage point so we decided to cruise into the bay a little to check things out. It didnít take us long to find a bear after we moved a little deeper into the bay.
We put ashore a few hundred yards down wind of the bear and out of sight. We followed the shore line until we could get a good look at the bear. Todd felt that this was a good bear and that I would get the to shoot the first bear. We started our stalk trying to hug the tree line and the shore the only problem was that there was a lot of kelp that had been left on the shore by the receding tide that sounded like walking on bubble wrap. So we moved into the forest which really slowed our stalk down but we were able to move a little quieter. We came out on a point about 135 yards from the bear but he was acting alert with his head up looking for trouble, I donít think that he had winded us at this point but had heard us coming out of the trees.
We set up for the shot I was wanting to use my shooting sticks and as I was setting up Todd ranged the bear for me. I couldnít get a good shot as I was trying to shoot through an opening under some tree branches and over a slight rise. I moved over trying to steady myself against a branch on a branch of a windfall or tree that had drifted in. I fired at the bear and he spun and disappeared into the woods. Todd said that the bullet either went straight through him or just over him, I said that I felt I shot over as I was aiming for a high shoulder shot but felt I pulled the shot.
We sat about a half an hour just in case I did connect with the bear and then went down looking for a blood trail. During that half hour we talked about how excited I was and this being my first ever shot on a bear I think that I let my nerves get the best of me. Anyway we spent about another half hour looking for any kind of blood or hair to indicate a solid hit. After not finding any blood, only claw marks and broken brush we decided that I hadnít even wounded the bear and went looking for another.
Todd had better eyes for spotting bears than I did plus a little higher powered binoculars that allowed him to see the bears at longer ranges than I did. He spotted another bear a ways off and we both looked at it all I could tell was that it was moving through my binoculars. We were able to put a small island between us and the bear as we moved across the tidal flat too get closer. We came out of the island and could see the bear just grazing the grasses and used our range finders and had a gap of over 500 yards to close. We moved back into the trees and tried to cross at a location where the bear was less likely to spot us and then moved to within 300 yards of the last place we had spotted him, and he was gone. We waited a long time hoping the bear would come out of the trees but never saw him so we decided to head back to the island we had watched him from to see if we could spot him again.
We took the shortest route back to the island since we both thought the bear was gone and walking back I thought I spotted a bear and stopped to glass it. I decided it was just part of the roots on a tree that had blown down and we continued our walk back to the island. We were out in the middle of a big open area when both Todd and I looked back towards that tree I glassed earlier. Todd looked at me and said ďWhat the hell is that?Ē All I could say was ďThat is a Bear!Ē We dropped to the grass and ranged the bear which came back as 202 yards. I set up my shooting sticks the whole time Todd is telling me to be calm because the bear doesnít even know we are here.
I put the scope on him and all I have is a TX heart shot, I turn to Todd and say ďThat is a big Bear!Ē He tells me not to worry about it and watch the bear. The bear gives me a quartering away shot and I aim to take out his far shoulder, I go to squeeze off my shot but instead I jerk the trigger hard. ďBear FeverĒ had taken over again luckily I had forgot to release the safety and all I do is jerk the rifle. This gives me a moment to calm down flip the safety off and take aim, the bear turns just a little bit more and gives me a full broadside shot. I put my cross hairs on his shoulder and this time I do squeeze the trigger, and my bear spins and drops like he was hit by lightning. The bear is still kind of moving so Todd has me shoot again to make sure the bear is down.
Todd says ďFirst trip to Alaska, first day of hunting, first bear ever!Ē ďDoes it get any better than this?Ē I canít really say anything as Iím still in disbelief and nothing but smiles. I couldnít get over how big this bear was, Iíve seen bears before here in Colorado but this spring bear was as big as most of the fall bears Iíve ever seen. Iíll have to agree with Todd, it doesnít get any better than that.
We got to work and skinned out the bear and quartered up the meat to haul back to the boat. We got the first load hauled back to the boat to find out that we had gone dry and we were at least 100 yards from water. We had tried to land the boat on a shore that dropped off enough to let the boat ride the tide out, but it wasnít steep enough. Anyway we went back and got the final load of meat and the hide and came back, with no desire to spend the night on the beach we tried to drag the boat to water. With that being a total failure I spent my second night in Alaska on the beach, luckily we were blessed with a beautiful rain free night. We even managed to get a fire going and other than being hungry we had a pretty comfortable night on the beach.
We totally forgot about a Forest Service cabin that was probably a half a mile from where we were until about 2 a.m. and by then we were comfortable enough that it didnít matter. If we had gone to the cabin though we couldnít have made it back to the skiff if we fell asleep and didnít beat the high tide back. We got back to the cabin about 5:30 a.m., the tide came in much earlier but we couldnít see well enough to navigate until around 4 a.m. We were pretty tired when we got to the cabin so we took care of the bear and went to bed and slept until noon.
All that meat and you went hungry that night? YOU HAD A FIRE!! Good grief!
Glad you had a good time
Good grief, AND good job!
Don't apologize for the long posts. They're a good read.