I've been a member for a while, I don't post much, but I have learned quite a bit and enjoyed almost all of what I've read here. So here's a story that I hope you enjoy. A good friend talked me into applying for a Kodiak bear party permit last year and we got it. So I got out the 375 H&H mag I've had in the gun safe (unfired) for years and started the reloading process. I decided on Barnes bullets if I could get them to shoot. Needed the right reloading info, so joined the Barnes copper club to get the new data for the triple shocks. Anyway, first load ever fired out of the gun goes under an inch at 100 yards. My final loads were under an inch with the 235 grain bullet and just over an inch with the 270 grainer. Even better they both shot to pretty much the same point of impact out to 200 yards. Got into pretty good shape, to include packing up birch hill three times a week. We used Roland and Seahawk air, they are the way to go on Kodiak. Excellent people. My hunting partner (Randy) is a bear hunting fanatic. This was his third trip to Kodiak and he lives for black bear hunting. By the way, this was my first bear hunt. I've hunted other critters in AK for 12 years and various other places the Army sent me to before I retired here. We had a two day weather delay before we got out to our permit area. That left us with 13 days to hunt. Day one we hiked up on a ridge behind camp to glass, no bears seen but one fox and plenty of deer. The next day we went in the opposite direction, again no bears spotted but we saw more fox and deer. On day three late in the afternoon we finally spotted a bear, it was about a mile and a half away. No way for a stalk. Day four we headed back up behind camp again. No bears there. Day five we headed to a ridge that was closer to the area we saw the bear in. We saw three bears that day. Bear number three was only about a half a mile away when I spotted it. We put the spotting scope on it, definitely a boar. Maybe a little rubbed in the middle of the back, Randy estimated it at 8 and a half feet. He was coming around a spur off the ridge we were on, finally something we had a chance on. I about started to hyperventilate, I had to tell myself to calm down. I glanced at Randy, he was shaking too. We laughed, he said, "Bears really get me fired up". Me too I guess. We watched him long enough to figure out where he was going and figured out the best plan to ambush him. We went around the back side of the ridge, the bear was heading for a really low saddle in the ridge. We stopped and checked on his progress, he had stopped and was just sitting on a trail heading for the saddle. We went on, the wind was perfect, it looked like we would get there ahead of the bear easily. When we got around the highest part of the ridge I checked for the bear again. He had moved and moved fast all I saw was his butt going through the edge of the saddle. I told Randy where I saw him and took off on a dead run right along the ridge top. Randy was right behind me. It turned out to be a little further to the saddle then we originally thought. When I got close to the edge of the saddle I stopped and looked for the bear, at first I didn't see him, then I looked straight down to the base of the ridge and there he was. He was walking along. I got into the prone position, so did Randy. I didn't think about it at first, because I was focused, but as soon as I got on the bear with the rifle/scope, I stopped breathing hard and was locked in. My first shot was good through both lungs, we figured later when we skinned him that it was a killing shot, but we both shot three times after my first one. The lungs were destroyed. We found two of the Barnes, they are both the picture perfect mushroom. I weighed them the other day, without cleaning all the blood off and they are right at 270 grains. I shot a 235 first and the rest were 270's. We waited a while and made sure he wasnít moving, then we went back to get our packs. When we got close to him, I started heading up toward him and decided maybe that wasnít the best plan, so I side hilled and then got above where he was. As I got closer, he got bigger. He was dead and thatís when I realized what I had done. There was an incredible animal laying there, one I had killed. I had some pretty mixed emotions then. More so than any other animal Iíve ever taken.
Iíve taken a wolf and Iím a dog lover and he didnít effect me as much. We followed Joe Wantís advice about not carrying a hide in the dark on Kodiak. Thanks Joe, your seminar was great! We gutted and did all the initial cuts and propped him open. Since it was getting down to freezing during the nights we didnít worry about the hide. We got there early the next day and spent all of it skinning him, we ended up with three feet still in the hide though. Then we got the hide in my pack and started the pack back to camp. The gps showed it was 2.7 miles straight back to camp, so we figured since we couldnít walk on water that it was probably a 3 mile pack. It took 3 hours to get back and we got there just before dark. I carried the hide the whole trip for two reasons, Iím stubborn and I shot him. It did hurt me though! We spent the next day doing all the pads, turning everything, eyes, ears and lips. And getting everything we possibly could off the hide. Then we measured him, he squared at nine feet. Then we salted him down. The next day we had really high wind. The following 2 days we had snow and high wind. We went out everyday despite the conditions. We didnít see any bears though. We had a sat phone and we called Seahawk for a weather check. We wanted to be sure the weather wasnít going to stop our return flight. On day ten we saw two possibly three bears, but they were all towards the late afternoon and they were a long ways from us. It finally got nice with two days left to hunt. And we saw three bears again that day. One was a really big bear. We also watched a sow, a big sow, run down a deer from behind and kill it. It was VERY impressive. The bigger bear was following her . The sow ended up picking up her kill and running with it, sheíd run a couple hundred yards, stop eat a couple bites and pick up the deer and run again. Through the binoís it looked like a dog carrying a stuffed animal. It sure didnít slow her down. She carried it over a half a mile and then finally left the kill. The boar followed her trail and ended up with the deer. Randy and I talked over a plan to go after the big boy. We only had one hunting day after this one, but the plane wasnít coming to get us until late the day after that. The main complication was the the sow was only three hundreds yards away sleeping, it was getting towards late afternoon, the trip with the hide would have been about six miles, the hide would be near 150 lbs. So we decided to wait and see if he would come our way. Well about and hour later, which is what we figured it would have taken for us to get close enough for a shot, along comes another big bear, this time another boar and he picks up the trail the sow carried the deer on. He followed it until he got about 100-150 yards from where the big boar was bedded down with the deer. Then he made a half circle around the area, he sat down and looked towards the spot with the boar and deer, he was pretty much directly down wind. He must have made some noise, because the big boar stood up on his hind legs and looked right at the other bear, by then the other bear was moving away. That bear looked huge when he stood up like that. We left in time to make it back to camp at nightfall. The last hunting day we headed back to our observation post, we saw one bear early but again it was a long ways from us and camp, for a little while it was coming towards us, but then it came across the trail the sow made with the deer and it turned and followed it. That took it even further away. That bear was the only confirmed bear of the day, may have seen another, but it was very far away and was moving in and out of alders so just couldnít get it in the spotting scope and it was getting towards dark, the area it was in was in a shadow of a ridge the entire time. That pretty much was the end of the hunting. Kodiak is a pretty incredible place, I donít know if Iíll ever hunt bears there again, but I do know Iíll be going back for deer and hopefully a Mt goat, maybe do some varmint calling for the foxes! I donít think a 375 bullet would open up enough to destroy a fox hide. Iíd want the big gun just in case the varmint calling brought in something LARGE. What an awesome trip, I donít think I can ever thank Randy enough for talking me into it!