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Thread: My No-Bear PWS bear hunt.

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Default My No-Bear PWS bear hunt.

    I planned this hunt during our brutal winters that are so easily forgotten this time of year. I like to sleep on the “HIGH and DRY “ which is my tricked out 21ft Wooldrigde Alakan II. But this year I wanted to hunt with the wife and try to get her first Blackie. So, I booked the cabin, for her comfort and because I knew she wasn’t going to sleep on that boat smelling like halibut bait.

    We got to Valdez and got ready to go. Dropped our shrimp pots on the way out and set up operations in the Cabin. The weather was clear blue skies and light winds. We hunted a few bays that first even night and saw one bear, but it give us the slip, so back to the cabin for the night. I made us both dinner and she made me take a bath and off to sleep while the oil heater glowed and we were nice and toasty. Got up the next morning and went to check our shrimp traps and discovered that one set with 2 pots was missing. This was a bummer. We had shrimp as a main effort so I wanted to go into town to buy a new set. We packed up and headed into town for a few things we wanted and to replace our shrimp gear.

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Headed back out a couple hours before dark and spotted her bear in the first bay. Wind and terrain were both in our favor and I had made this stalk before. So I get her to within 50 yards and Boom she lays the smack down on her first Black bear. 6.3 with a 19 inch skull. As I wrote about earlier the recovery was a little tricky.

    After I got her bear skinned to include all the trim work, I was exhausted. I still had the drive just not the drive train to continue to hunt. Another reason was other than the missing shrimp pots the trip had gone great. The rain set in and I wanted this to be her hunt. So I decided to head back home. While in Valdez at the RV park while we were having dinner in the RV, someone helped themselves to my new ace line haul pot puller and a couple halibut rods. This did tick me off, but with gas at almost 5 bucks it is only going to get worse. While at dinner met some hunters from the forum a father and his two sons, and shared with them some of the things I had seen and knew. Wished them luck and off they went.

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    So back at home for a week and I still have the itch, tried to put together a Yukon hunt but no takers that had been on the river. I met a Soldier on the forum and we headed back to Valdez for round 2.

    We arrive back in town and I run into the store to buy a new pot puller and we bump into the Father and his sons. They still have had no luck and we find out they are still staying were I wanted to camp, so I have to adjust my game plan. No problem, we go to another campsite and setup for the evening hunt. On the way out we drop our shrimp pots and I put the wife’s bear skull in for a soak. It is raining and everything is wet. My hunting partner is wearing his new gortex rain gear. As we prepare for the evening hunt we have some very tired kayakers paddle up and want to share the campsite. I welcome them to the beach but do explain that we are hunting. We go off to hunt and return without seeing anything. We chat with the kayakers for a bit and off to bed.

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    The next morning after we return from our morning hunt. One of the tourist ask me to look at something. I go over and see a bear foot that someone skinned out and left on the beach. Shame on you whoever you are. Anyway I assure the kayaker that it is a bear foot and not human. After this I wanted to relocate away from the tourist campsites to base from. I run over to chat with the father son at their camp and saw they had a nice bear down. It was the Fathers first bear and had a very nice white blaze. I helped them skin it and shared were they could get it sealed in town. I asked them when they were leaving so we could take over they campsite. They said they were only hunting that night and were generous enough to share the site. They headed off into town with a load of gear in an open rental boat in rough seas. They promised to be back to hunt the last evening to try to get one for the brother. We wished them luck and off they went. We returned back to our old camp and broke it down and towed the raft over to the new site and setup camp. The trio returned in foul weather for their last hunt. At around midnight I hear them approach and get out of the tent to see how it went, they were wet, dirty, bloody, cold and totally happy. They had scored on the brother’s first bear in the last minutes of the hunt in rough weather. They hastily packed in the dark and headed back to make a flight home.

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    The next rainy day we find their knife at camp and a fleece shirt and a nice pair Nikon 10x42s in the salt marsh. They are waterproof, still look good after 2 tide cycles. The Gortex experiment is over and my soldier is ready to gear up. Three days of rain and tromping in the salt marshes have left him wet, soggy and cold. We hit town and he buys chest waders, Helly Hensen rain gear, fleece some neo gloves. We are back in the game.

    Sunday night we stalk up on a breeding pair, the wind is wrong and the boar winds us and he is off like a prom dress. The sow is still there but in tall grass. We get within 75 yards and he ask me to back him up. I had a EZ trigger assist on my rifle and as I used my finger to push in the safety I hit that EZ trigger because it stuck outside the trigger guard and BOOM I had an accidental discharge over the bears back and she is gone. I felt so ashamed that I lost control of my rifle. Thank god I fired over her and no one was hurt. I removed that darn thing with my leatherman then and there. We investigated to confirm that it was a clean miss and return to our hide. Right at dark we see one that stays in the brush and we are unable to score on him. The next night we saw no bears.

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    On the one and only clear day we had, the seas we light and so was the wind so off to halibut fish we go. On the way the dolphins rode our bow wake for a while, WOW what a show. Caught some decent chicken buts.



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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    We wake up to more rain on the last day of the hunt. I do get a nice show from a baby seal and some humming birds. They were too fast to get a photo of. Did get a few with the spotting scope of the baby seal. We have breakfast and decide to break down camp, pull our shrimp gear and skull and haul a load to town and return for the last night of the season. Over the last few days I realized that I had to focus on getting him his first bear. I had been trying to give him first shot, then on to mine. I think that he was trying too hard so I could hunt. I told him it is all you. We are going to go slow and get close. I wanted to see their little brown eyes. At 10:45 pm we spot a bear, the wind is right and we have a clear approach. We get close and at about 50 yards the bear turns I say now and his Bull barreled .308 sniper rifle scored on his first bear.



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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    It was just as rewarding to see him take that bear as if I had shot it my self. So after hunting 14 days in PWS I did not kill a black bear. I did get to share the hunts of 4 other hunters and be apart of their experience. It would seem that kindness is rewarded as I have contacted the Hunters that left their gear and it will be returned today. Still have a few days to collect my own bear hide and hope to do so. I learned a bunch and I know that my soldier buddy learned that Alaska is all about gear. And that cool sniper rifle is Okay on the bench but is not cut out for offhand shooting from salt marshes. Hope everyone takes the time to take another hunter into the field. The little Jet Ranger let me hunt some places other could not and really helped during the crazy tides we had and I even kept the HIGH and DRY low and wet…..LOL

    Final total
    2 bears, one 6.3 19 inch skull and 5.5 and 17 inch skull

    3 Halibut 20 lb average

    5 gallons of shrimp

    Steve

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Sometimes you just have to stop and smell these.


    Steve

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    Member DMan's Avatar
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    I've been reading as you post. Excellent Story! These are the kinds of stories and pictures that keep me coming back to the forum!

    Thanks Steve!
    ... aboard the 'Memory Maker' Making Memories one Wave at a Time!

  11. #11

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    Sounds like you had a great hunt with your wife and soldier buddy, congrats!!!! Sometimes the best hunts are the one's where you don't kill a thing but are lucky enough to experience it with good friends and family.

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    Thanks for sharing your hunt. Great pics!

  13. #13

    Default Thanks

    This post is why I read this forum constantly. You took me along on your hunt, Thanks for taking the time to share and for who you are. Thanks for helping new hunters out. I am sure they will be forever grateful. Hank

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    Steve, thanks for sharing your story. I was in PWS also, 6-1 to 6-5 out of Whittier. It rained all five days nonstop. I wasn't as smart as you, I used gore tex rain gear like your buddy had. I did have three sets so I could rotate. We saw one bear from the 50' boat, a sow with cubs. That was it. We glassed for the boat, went on shore, into the bush and climbed hills. No luck. We did catch a few cod and a couple small halibut off the back of the boat. But the best part of the trip was the two other hunters on the boat, a father/son team that we became fast friends with. We hung out later after the boat trip and will stay in contact. We did see some beautiful scenery although sunshine would have made it better. Thanks, Mark

  15. #15

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    Steve,
    That is one of the best hunting stories that I have read (or seen – nice pictures)! Thank you for sharing. I know you must be a little disappointed that you haven’t got your bear but I gotta tell you, I’d give just about anything to have those same experiences. Wife, soilder, new friends, all getting a trip of a life time with your help. I know I am a bit of a girly man but your story brought a little bit of moisture to my best eye. It made me feel good (becasue of your kindness) and anger (because the thieves). Oh, and great set-up too.

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    Member Phil's Avatar
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    Default Story

    Great story - thanks for sharing with us.

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    Some folks go a lifetime without getting it, you certainly do. Congratulations and thanks for sharing your story and pictures.

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    Member Montana Native's Avatar
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    Default Skull in shrimp pot...

    Stid~ please elaborate on the outcome of the skull in the shrimp pot. I see from the pic, it does look a little "fleshed" but just curious trying to see how the "Oceanic Beetles" work
    Respect what you do not own but are privleged to enjoy, Mother Earth thanks you...

  19. #19
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    They work great for getting off the flesh and the brains but that tough connective tissue is too hard for them, did make it easier but I lost sleep afraid that I would loose that skull and the wife would have my head in the shrimp pot. On a side note did see more shrimp while it had flesh on it. Bait Maybe.




    Thanks for all the kind words...


    Steve

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    Member Queen of Kings's Avatar
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    Default As every one else said

    Great story and thanks for shareing, it was liek we were there
    2003 220 Hewescraft Sea Runner 115 Yam'y, Soft Top "Schmidt Happens"

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