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Thread: Kodiak Deer Hunting Experience or I Think I Got Lucky

  1. #1
    Member Jim Finn's Avatar
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    Default Kodiak Deer Hunting Experience or I Think I Got Lucky

    Hey All,
    I just want to share an experience with folks concerning deer hunting on Kodiak this year. Three of us just spent last week (Oct 27-Nov 2) hunting deer on the Northwest side of the island last week. As per ADF&Gís cautions, there were fewer deer than we have seen in previous years (this was the fourth year in-a-row that I have hunted the area). Also, the bears where out and about more and seemed to be a little bolder than we have seen in the past. We were told that the berry crops had pretty much failed, which makes the bears more desperate to find anther food source to get into condition to make it through the winter. To top it off we got hammered with some wind and rain.
    Nevertheless, we enjoyed our week and one guy did manage to get two nice bucks. It was during our last day of hunting that the following occurred.
    When Friday came the temperature had finally dropped enough so that we got snow almost down to the lake. We hiked up into the hills and were able to find some really fresh deer tracks. As the day wore on, we ran into several bears and finally decided to start working our way back to the cabin. It turned out that a group of does and a buck crossed our path around 2:30. It happened pretty fast and they were something like 100-125 yards away as they slowly trotted past. I dropped to one knee, shot and hit one doe. One of the other guys dropped the buck. When we went over, the buck was down but the doe had run off. There was a good blood trail and it looked like arterial spray on the snow with each step. I figured that the deer wouldnít go too far before it slowed down and either died or laid down so that I could finish it off. I told the other two guys to get started on the buck and that I work on finding the doe. It was still snowing so it was easy to see just how fresh the tracks were. The blood trail went about 150-200 yards down the hill along a path of least resistance. Then the deer abruptly took a hard left turn and crashed through the brush. There was blood smeared all over the brush where it squeezed through. I thought that I might be pushing the doe, so I hunkered down and waited another 5 minutes. I got into the brush and stepped to the blood trail. But the deer tracks had been joined by more tracks. It took me a second to realize that I was looking at bear tracks right on top of the deerís tracks. For a few seconds I crouched there wondering what to do. Yep, I know, pretty darn stupid. So I did the only thing that I could do, got the heck out of Dodge and left the deer to the bear. When I got out of the brush I saw how the bear had been moving up the hill as the deer and I headed down. I think the deer smelled, heard, or saw the bear and then took the detour into the brush. I went back up to my buddies, helped them cut up the buck and we all made our way back to the lake.
    Why am I bothering you with all this? Well as I look back on it I realize
    1) How lucky I was,
    2) It could have turned into a really horrible situation,
    3) Even though I have more than a few years experience hunting up here, if I hadnít had the fresh snow to see what was happening, I probably would have walked right into a nightmare, and
    4) As one of my buddies said, it was a good thing that the deer hadnít dropped 100 or 200 yards down the hill. Because if it had, I would have most likely been cutting it up by myself while the other two worked on the buck. In this case the bear could have come on me as I was hunkered down over the deer.

    I want to use this experience to slow myself down, check my ego (you know, the hell I know just what Iím doing and can take care of myself mindset), and think about the next time. I hope that Iíll be more apt to keep a partner with me as a back up and second set of eyes. If I end up in a situation with more than one deer down, I hope Iíll take the time to move them together so that my partners and I can all work together. And I should take more time taking a shot. To be truthful, if it hadnít been the last day and I wasnít frustrated over not getting a shot at a deer yet, I probably wouldnít have taken that snap shot at the doe.
    So please be careful out there and stay together. Iím going to try to do better as I think I just might have used up a bunch of my luck this year.
    Jim

  2. #2
    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    good story jim, i shot a buck last year and before i reloaded my gun a bear ran by grabbed it and took off, got it on video its in youtube.com under BRWNBR videos.
    i punched my tag and that was my thrid tag so i was done hunting. bummer way to end, but neat to see.
    deer on the east side seem good, only saw three winter kill remains in 11 days of traveling around, couple dozen deer, all really high, grass is insane this year, extreemly tall still, hasn't froze at sea level much at all, meat spoiled to warm and to wet to hang it. headed back this week, we'll see.
    Good words of wisdom on hunting with a buddy and remembering your not alone on the island...glad your safe.
    Www.blackriverhunting.com
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    This is one reason why I quit carrying a rifle in any caliber under 338 WM while deer hunting.
    Glad you made it home safe
    Tennessee

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowwolfe View Post
    This is one reason why I quit carrying a rifle in any caliber under 338 WM while deer hunting.
    Glad you made it home safe

    Exactly my thinking too.

    Jim I was down there this past sept deer hunting and actually shot a buck and had one of those overgrown SOB's some running out of the alders on a dead run in our direction (he was headed in the direction of the sound of the shot). Made for some messy britches for 15 minutes or so. And then what Snowwolfe stated crossed my mind. Why didn't I bring my 338 WM. Here I was with my little Kimber Montana 300 WSM with 165 grain bullets feeling quite inadequate with my place in the food chain. Glad you made it back safe. Makes a guy wonder how many of us escape fate by chance each year while out in the woods?

  5. #5
    Member Jim Finn's Avatar
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    Thanks Guys,
    I will say that I do enjoy the heck out of those big bears and when you think about it, they really let us get away with an awful lot.
    But I sure want to keep myself from getting complacent. I have done way more than my share of hunting alone and with light rifles. Back in the 80's I went out several times alone with a Ruger No.1 in 243
    Yep, a 338 Win Mag is now my Kodiak deer rifle.
    I checked out your video on YouTube, pretty interesting!!!!!!!
    Jim

  6. #6
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Question answered if my deer hunt comes to be then I will take my 325WSM probably with 200 grain accubonds and my ruger RH with 320 hardcast backpackers.

  7. #7
    Member Phil's Avatar
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    for the great story and reminder that we don't hunt alone on Kodiak. Everyone needs to be aware of the bears there.

    It was a bad year for berries in 2007 which makes it doubly interesting.

  8. #8
    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    Just to play devils advocate...................was it legal to abandon the deer? Never did learn for sure if the bear got it. Could you have gone back with your 2 buddies to check?
    I can't help being a lazy, dumb, weekend warrior.......I have a JOB!
    I have less friends now!!

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    Go back and get what? lol
    Last time I had a bear "steal" a deer we had shot I waited a day before tracking it and after about an hour of tracking we found the antlers and a strip of skin.
    Tennessee

  10. #10
    Member RANGER RICK's Avatar
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    Congrats on the hunt and the story.
    Two years ago while hunting in Uganik bay my buddy and I shot two three pointers standing about 30 feet apart .
    Mine dropped in it's track from lead poision the other jumped and went over a hill.
    We worked on the first one and did not push the second one deeper into the brush.
    We took the first one back down to the beach and went after the second one .
    Found right where it was hit , lot's of the red stuff all over .
    Followed the trail untill we herd a lot brush being tore up .We went up a near hill to over look the area the suppose deer to be in and there was two fuzzy's having a tug of war with the deer .
    First time I seen that .
    The deer was torn in half and is was not a legal 50/50 tear . It was more like 75/25 and both of the fuzzys took off .
    Both bears looked to be about 6-7 footers .

    RR
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    Perfect Practice makes perfect !!!!!!!!!!


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  11. #11
    Member Jim Finn's Avatar
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    To my way of thinking, tracking the deer any further would have been the wrong thing to do. Indeed, I bet that Fish and Game would have considered fining me if I had kept after the deer, knowing that the bear was after it too, and ended up shooting the bear in so-called self-defense. It states clearly in the regulations that killing a bear because it is taking or is about to take an animal you have shot doesn't qualify as a defense of life and property (DLP) kill. There are circumstances where it could be a DLP, but those would be fairly special.
    I do think it would have been unethical for me to have taken another deer using the tag that I would have used on the deer that went to the bear. But I didn't.
    This is all good food for thought though. I hope one lesson I'll keep from this is to take a bit more time before taking the shot.
    I was a little cocky coming off last tear when between Kodiak and Wisconsin I was 8 for 8 in terms of rounds fired and deer in the bag.
    Jim

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    MartinTrapper brings up a good point and I agree with when the search was terminated. But there are those viewing that may very well think this is want and waste and cite because of the letter of the law. I am very sorry to say this happens way to often regarding the enforcement of the letter of the law. This was a very good story and unfortunately the bears are increasing way faster than they should be and stories such as this have now become a weekly informational.

    Its only going to get worse.

    Neal

  13. #13
    Member Big Al's Avatar
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    Anybody that kills one of the those smelly SOB when he could have done anything else is just nuts. I'm not skinning and packing one of those smelly SOB's to give it away to the state. In defense of life, only as a vary last resort. They can have every doggone deer on the islands as far as I'm concerned. I like to eat venison as much as the next guy, but to get in a pissing contest with a bear ain't my idea of fun.

    As and aside, I've noticed that deer killed with my .375 H&H seems just as dead as one's killed by my .223 Remington.
    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tryants." (Thomas Jefferson

  14. #14

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    I had same sort of experience last year deer hunting. We were following some deer tracks and after about 5 minutes of pushing through some thick brush and devils club we realized that if there were bears in the area we wouldnt know until one of use was a snack. Both were shooting 300WM so we decided one person loads the 150gr and hunts deer and the other loads the 220 round nose just in case.

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