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Thread: Lost Bear

  1. #1

    Default Lost Bear

    This is hard to confess but I need some perspective. I shot at a blackie on POW the last week in Sept. He was quartering towards me not 40 yards away standing in the water on the far side of a salmon stream. In retrospect, I rushed the shot and should have waited. The bear at first showed no reaction and around 1 second after the shot 9there was definitely a gap) there were splashes in the water to his side about 10 yards away from him. My first thought was that it was blood or hair/tissue landing in the water. Now I think it was debris from the bank behind him. He waited about 3 seconds after the shot before he ran across the river upstream from me behind a blowdown tree and up the bank of the other side. I was thinking that the shot went completely through and I would hear a death groan soon. I waited, but there were no more sounds as the water made it difficult to hear. I searched the jungle of spruce and cedars for two days. The long story short was that I never found any blood, tracks, or bear. Judging from his reaction was this a complete miss? I was shooting a 338., 225 grain. Could the bullet have shaved off only hair and it was a near-complete miss? Its what I think, but don't know for sure and probably never will. I checked the gun at 50 paces and it shoots about 2" high. I've been sick to my stomach ever since. Has anything close to this happened to anyone else. Thanks for your input.

  2. #2
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Palmer, AK


    I would expect a solid impact from a 338 would give some visible evidence of a hit. Given your timeline the things I think you should probably change in the future is to practice and implement a quick accurate follow up shot and to be a bit more patient in waiting for a good shot opportunity. If you didn't find any blood sign in two days of searching and there was no obvious reaction to the shot it is possible you pulled the shot and missed.
    In the end honestly there is just no benefit in punishing yourself for a mistake, learn from it, make changes to prevent making the same mistake again then go to the range and practice quick follow up shots until it is natural.
    The good thing is that you respect the animals you pursue enough to be upset at the thought of wounding one.

  3. #3
    Member Vince's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Fairbanks most the time, Ancorage some of the time,& on the road Kicking Anti's all the time


    attempt # 2.....

    alder, my guess is that you missed.. of the nearly dozen bears i have taken over the years and other literally Dozens i have seen taken they for the most part have one thing in common when shot... be it with rifle or bow...they react in a manor that would make an Olympic gymnast look on in envy... and they do it instantly... the reflexes of a bear are astonishing to say the least..for a bear to stand there 3 seconds is as i see it a clear miss.

    i Understand FULLY your feeling of dread and emotional sickness in wondering.. years ago i too lost one that was in fact hit.. One of my first hunts in Valdez, seen him fall and roll down the hill only to get up an take off over the ridge. we searched for three days with a dog even to locate him and never did in the heavy brush.

    take some comfort in that he is still there and learn as i do from every miss as i have. Blackies are not as hard to kill as people worry about they are however tenacious in attempting to get away while dieing.

    good luck on the next one and i hope this alleviates some of your concern

    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

    meet on face book here

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2006


    Well since we are in confession mode .... Yes ... And on video no less.
    Won't go into the whole story, but shot at a blackie at about 25 yds with my Dan Wesson 44 mag revolver. Absolutely no reaction. Just hept his head down eating. Shot again & he scatted. Friend had been videoing. 3 of us looked for the bear for hours. Knew just where he entered a small island of trees & scoured it. Started raining & had a downpour that lasted for hours. Two of us looked again for several hours the next day. Not a drop of blood, hair, etc.
    I shoot handguns a lot & couldn't believe I really missed. Got home (this was a canoe trip, not a hunting trip) & 1st stop was the range. At 25 yds shot completely over the target. About 12" high. Sights had suffered some malady.
    Reviewed the video, & on the 2nd shot saw the hair above his back above the shoulders move. I was using hardcast bullets & going for a shoulder shot. Missed both times but 2nd shot was close enough to get his attention.
    I'm guessing you simply had a clean miss. Things happen fast that close.
    Vance in AK.

    Matthew 6:33
    "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."

  5. #5
    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Paradise (Alaska)

    Default missed.... bears usually show some type of a reaction to a bullit strike. If hit in the heart or hit in the paw, they react immediatly that something hit them...usually.

    This reaction would have been clear if, at only 40 yards, you had hit him with a .338.
    Sounds to me like you "jerked the shot". It happens. But you did the right thing by following up like you did and looking for the bear for two days.

    So go out again and get a bear! my experience...few bears do that death moan deal. Some do, most do not.


  6. #6


    thks for the suggestions. Seems likely that another trip to POW is due to make good on some of the ideas re. not rushing the shot. Good hunting to everyone.


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