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Thread: Caribou Hunt / Bear

  1. #1
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    Default Caribou Hunt / Bear

    Here is the story..

    My partner and I fly up into the headwaters of the Talkeetna River. We were camping at 4600 elevation. Way to high for this time of year. Probably 5 inches of snow and 15-20 degrees. When the wind was blowing it was cold. We tried to fly in Saturday and we were weathered out. Sunday afternoon we were able to get into camp (after several failed attempts because of visibility). As soon as they dropped us the weather blew in and it was snowing sideways and foggy. Woke up to a pleasant surprise, caribou feeding about 400 yards in front of our camp. Did some creeping to get closer and shot my caribou. My partner elected to wait because there was only one nice bull in the bunch. Brought the meat into camp because there was no concern about bears at that time of year, they would all be lower.........

    Hiked back out of camp to find my partner a caribou. About 2 miles from camp we ran into bear tracks (fresh) in the snow. The bear had been digging ground squirrels. The ground was all tore up. Looked all morning and it appeared that there we no caribou within five miles from camp. They all vacated to lower ground. Went back to camp had lunch and a nap. Woke up about 4:00 pm and decided to hike .5 miles from camp to look down a canyon. Glassed and nothing. Wandered a little further from camp (1 mile) to get a better view of down the valley. Glassed for about 20 minutes when we spotted four caribou. One was a decent bull, but they were a good mile and a half away from our location. Sent my partner after the caribou and I returned to camp to get the packs, knives and game bags. Before I left camp I lit the lantern because I knew it would be dark before we would get back to camp. Then I headed my partner about 2.5 miles from camp. He had the caribou down so we quartered it and loaded all the meat in the packs so we would not have to make another trip, heavy. It was just about dark and we were still 1/2 mile from camp and my partner had fallen a little behind so I was waiting for him. I was looking towards camp when I saw the bear about 100 yards away. I told my partner we had company. We walked within 75 yards of the bear and started hollering at the bear. He smiled at us with his nose in the air, thinking, all right....fresh caribou meat! This beats the heck out of digging squirrels! We hollered again without any change in the bears disposition. So at this point, I toldmy partner I didn't feeling like dealing with the bear after dark in camp and it was decided the bear needed to be dealt with then. I had a bear tag so I decide to shot it. I was very tired from carrying the meat and could not hold steady off hand, so I laid down. The problem was I could not see the bear. So I approached 20 yards closer and laid down again giving me a view off the top half of the bear. I felt I had enough bear shot at so I squeezed the shot. The bear then turned and ran up a rock slide. Bob said I hit the bear good, but it was moving out fast. The only thing worse than a bear in camp is a wounded bear in camp. I shot again hitting it on the second shot which spun the bear around, then I shot shot it again and put the bear down. Bob said good shooting since I was using his gun, mine was in camp. At that point we had a short discussion on what should happen next, and because it was know just about dark it was decided that we would get the caribou meat back to camp and deal with the bear in the morning.

    By the time we came over the last rise and could see the lantern shinning bright it was a welcome sight. Our air service was supposed to fly in and check on us and hull any meat out of camp. We put all of the caribou meat on a blue tarp next the air-strip with a note explaining that we were out skinning a bear but ready to get out of the mountains if possible. The bear was pretty stiff the next morning, hence the pictures, but we were able to get it skinned out. Nice hide, thew hair was really thick and it squared to just to 7 feet. Not the biggest bear but still nice for a mountain grizzly. The air service hulled the meat out and came back to get us, stating that if we did not get out that day we would be there for another 4 - 5 days due to weather. On a side note, carrying the bear back to camp we saw fox prints in the snow and my partner said, please don't shoot it, I tired of skinning animals. Two caribou and a bear in two days is enough.
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  2. #2
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    Beautiful animals and congrats on a job well done.Thanks for the story also,it always makes for a nice post to read a great story and share in the hunts.Daniel

  3. #3
    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    That is a beautiful Grizzly! Nice looking bou as well. You guys had a great hunt even if it was a bit cold.

  4. #4
    Sponsor Becky99588's Avatar
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    Default way to go

    Way to go drawing a party caribou permit, and the bear looks like a nice extra! Seems like a lot of people got weathered in this fall... I suppose that's part of the adventure though.
    Hunt with your kids, not for your kids

  5. #5
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    Default Party Hunt

    Yes, it was nice to get drawn together. I drew the tag 4 years ago and ended up hunting by myself. I hunted solo and though it was a good experience it is much better to have someone else along to do the skinning...

  6. #6
    Member AKFishOn's Avatar
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    Awesome, and great bear.

  7. #7

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    Way to go! What an adventure and a great story.

  8. #8
    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    man you can keep that caribou but thats bear is beautifuLLLL!!! the hair is great, shooting grizz in the snow is the best! nice job on the shooting, never quit till the bears down!
    did you fly in on wheels or floats?
    Www.blackriverhunting.com
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  9. #9
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    Default Fly in on wheels

    We fly in on wheels. Meekins Air out of Sheep Mountain. Very professional and I would recommend him to anyone.

  10. #10

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    Great story, great pictures, great animals and great shooting. Way to go.

  11. #11
    Member Matt's Avatar
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    Man that's a nice grizz. Congrats on your hunt.

  12. #12
    Member SoggyMountain's Avatar
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    Default Excellent

    Great story, great hunt, and, it is great to hear Mike Meekin is still in the air. That guy knows the area well! Do you know if he is still guiding at all?

    I would totally expect those bears up that high this time of year... I know they den up really high in the Alaska Range.

    The only thing that would have made wonder... why leave your gun in camp? Don't get me wrong, you done good. Real good! But two people might have a need for two guns.

    Glad it all worked out, and again, great going!

  13. #13
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    Default Meekins Air / Gun in camp

    I do not believe Meekin's is doing any guiding, I have used him twice and he is good, knows the area and very safe to fly with.

    I learned a big lesson, never leave you gun in camp. Always have it with you. I was carrying a .41 mag, however at the distance the bear was at it would have maybe it mad. I got lucky this time and next time I will be carrying my rifle.

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