Just returned from POW and had a great hunt. Weather was wet upon arrival, and other than one bear by the highschool in Craig, we struck out the first night. Second night we saw two small bears right off the highway and the boat broke down, so no huntable bears. The third night found us in a new area and we killed one smaller bear early in the evening and saw a total of eight bears that night. Tried two more stalks but the bears kept making it back into the trees before we closed the distance. One of the bears looked truly huge. Fourth night one of our guys posted up on the location where we had spotted the big bear for 9 hours, and didn't see a thing. Meanwhile I took another smaller bear with a great coat and a white crest on his chest while cruising the beaches. Saw a total of 4 bears that night. The fifth and final day of our hunt was a loooong one. With a tag left to fill and only one day to do it in, we got up at 5 am and hit the water..... The sun was shining and it was the most beatiful day I have ever experienced in Alaska, but we saw no bears the am. We spent the early afternoon getting the two bears sealed, and taking care of some details in town and hit the water again at about 4 pm for one last effort. We spotted what we could tell was a pretty good bear at about 6 pm in a very secluded cove. We didn't look him over well, because frankly the hunter with the tag, had never taken a bear and we knew he was "good enough". He and I got dropped on the shore about 1000 yards down the beach and started are stalk. He with his rifle and I with the video camera. We closed to within 350 yards of where we had spotted the bear and looked over the cove, but he was gone. We sat it out for about 15 minutes and then decided to work our way down the beach to see arround the corner of the bay. Just as we reached the spot where the bear was originaly standing we spotted him on the other side of the water. Chris grabbed a good rest across a deadfall, while I ranged him and got the camera on him. It happened really fast but I was able to catch all the action on video. Chris managed to get off a broadside shot at 290 yards and another running shot immediatley after that. The bear didn't even flinch, and considering he was shooting a .300 Ultra Mag, that wasn't a good sign. The bear maded to the tree line and we heard him crash his way up the hill. We decided to wait a few minutes before following up, and reviewed the tape. On tape we could distinctly see the first shot impact high and left of the bear, and the bear showed NO signs of being hit. The second shot sounded like it may have connected but again, no reaction from the bear. Well after waiting for 15 minutes we made our way across the bay to where the bear was standing at the first shot and immediatly found bright red lung blood. Apparently the first shot HAD connected and the impact we saw was after the bullet had travelled through the bear. We followed the blood trail carefully to the tree line where we could see tracks where he had tore up the hill. The vegetation was REALLY thick and Chris jokeingly asked if I wanted to take the gun and follow him in........ He braved up and led the way and we found the bear just 50 yards up the hill. As we approached the bear we realized that we had just taken a true MONSTER!!!!! This thing was bigger than either of us could have ever imagined. It almost defied belief, just how massive an animal this was. Three of us couldn't even get the beast positioned for a decent shot... It was a true group effort to get him skinned out and taken care of but we managed. We got the bear measured in town and he ended up stretching the tape to 8'2" with a skull of 21 4/16". A true stud of a bear with a ton of charecter. He has a very pronounced rub between his ears and lots of scars on his face. Interestingly this bear had more fat on him than any animal I have ever dealt with, and I used to butcher game for a living. I am pretty certain that I could have filled 3 five gallon buckets with fat from his hind quarters. Apparently he came through the winter with reserves to spare. There obviously wasn't a way to get a live weight on this beast, but the three of us feel pretty confident that he was pushing 750 pounds. Would love to hear if anyone has any experience with what a bear that long would actually weigh. Believe me when I tell you that these pics DO NOT do this bear justice. The fact that he was to big to move, and that he died in a very thick, steep place and that we had to race against the tide to get him out of there, made it difficult to really get good photos.
Truly a night I will remember forever!