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Thread: Text Book Bear Hunt

  1. #1
    Member Blue Thunder's Avatar
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    Talking Text Book Bear Hunt

    I flew out of Kenai on 5-9-10 to be ready to hunt the next day when the season opened. We had planed to hunt in the high snow and catch the bears coming out of their dens, but the snow got too soft for snow shoes and there may have been a problem of landing on the snow. Found an area on the costal flats that had the only green for many miles, so landed on an old strip and set up camp. On the way in flying over the snow where we were going to hunt there was bear trails in the snow that looked like a herd of moose had went through the area. We flew low enough to verify that the tracks were differently bears. Had to believe that many bears, but no doubt. We made a big circle over the tide flats and there was bear track every where you looked. Saw one lone sow crossing the flats. Unloaded the plane and watched him take off and we were all alone with the bears. Got camp set up and then went down on the beach to glass the flats for any wondering bears. We saw 2 about 3 miles off and watched them feed on the sedge grass. Watched for about 2 hours. Got up the next morning and hit the beach and only saw one lone sow. Same story, eating sedge grass and then wondered off. Back to camp for breakfast and camp coffee (Bailey Flavored). Went back out mid afternoon for another look. The wind had picked up about 40 knot. We finally spotted 2 bores (one over 8' and the other over 9') that came out about 2.5 miles away. The wind was not our friend so we just sit tight. About an hour later the wind let up some so we started our sneak. Got about a mile from them and the wind started again, so just hunkered down as they were grazing in our direction. Wind changed again so off we went. The first time I checked out their range they were about 700 yds. We kept working towards them as they grazed in our direction. The next range was 350 yds and that is when they winded us and walked off into the bush. They can not see good but have an amazing nose. Went back to camp and called it a day. Went out the next morning and spotted 3 bears. I think they were a sow and 2 older cubs. They grazed a while and then walked off away from us. The wind was still bad and it was a slow rain. About 3 PM the wind died, but it was still raining. We spotted a big bore all by himself a little over 3 mile from us. Watching this bear through the spotting scope we figured it was a good 9.5 bear. The wind was finally our friend and with the rain we started our stalk. The bear just kept grazing around the head of the bay in our direction. We kept checking the wind with our squeeze bottle and it was perfect. We closed the distance down to about 1 mile and he was still working in our direction, so we hunkered down and waited. After a while we had a chance to move closer. Checked the range and he was 500 yds. Watched him shake the water off and it just flew, what a sight. Wind was perfect and he was still coming our way. Next range was 300yds and still coming slow. Next range was 195 yds. Perfect broadside shot. Good heat shot that spun him around 45 degrees and then Norm took both his hind legs out to make sure he did not run. He was not going to run as he dropped in his tracks to never move again. I love my 375 Ruger and hand loaded 300 grain Barnes TSX. Now the work begins! Wet bear in the tide flats with all the mud and volcano ash, a real mess. I have a Havalon scapula knife that works really good but the ash took the edge right of and had to change the blade many times. After we got it all skinned out we all said this is going to be around a 10' bear. Just think of a bear this size all wet, full of mud and ash. There was 3 of us and we could verily pick it up, let alone carry it. We ended up putting the hide on a tarp, tied ropes to everything and pulled it across the mud flat back to camp. This took several hours. Slept good that night. Spent part of the next day fleshing the hind and then salting. Called the plane on the sate phone and he would be in as soon as weather allowed to haul out the hide. When Doug came to get the hide he had a super cub with a belly that we tried to put the hide in but it would not fit in the belly. Ended up had to put it in the second seat and that was a job. Will now we have 2 more bears to get. Over the next several days we saw several bears every day and made a few stalks but they did not work out. One evening we were looking west when we should of been looking east. We had a young bore 7' walk up behind us. When we finally heard him he was around 150' from us and still coming. When he got within 50' we yelled at him and he just looked at us for a few seconds and then walked up the bank and left. Needless to say I started looking over my shoulder more often. Then late one evening (remember in Alaska it is light till midnight) we spotted 2 big bores, with one bigger than the one I got. We stalked them for a long time and finally got to the smaller one (9') at 175 yds and the larger one (10' plus) at 275 yds. These 2 bears had been sparring off at each other for over an hour and made it a little easier to stalk them , as they were only interested in fighting each other. Just as Tom was going to shoot the closest bear a third bear (sow) came running into the show. Guess she was wanting a little action to. Since I had already shot my bear I had the video camera and my very little 44mag. Never leave camp without a big gun. Tom got 3 shoots (375H&H) into his bear while Norm got 2 (416) into his bear. Now Toms bear is mad and is coming straight at us, Tom is reloading, Norm turns and puts his last 416 in Tom's bear and drops it 40' feet from us. Norm's bear is running away as they reload. Norm gets 2 more 416 in him and Tom get 1 375. Now the bear is 500yds out and still moving but not very good. We go and skin out Tom's bear, 2 hours. We are tired and still have to go and look for Norm's bear. By this time it is around 1100PM. We find the trail and follow it for over an hour. The light gets bad and we are in thick alder brush, can only see around 30' and looking for a 10' wound Coastal Brown Bear. Time to regroup and start tomorrow. We are over 3 miles from camp. Walking the beach about a mile from camp we hear something in the bush up the bank from the beach. We make a lot of noise but it is still there. We keep walking and it finally leaves. Back in camp at 300AM. Next morning going back up the beach we found where another bear had come down off the the bank in the same area we heard the noise the night before and followed our tracks for while. We had called Doug and he was going to be able to land his cub in the area of Tom's bear, so we did not have to pack it out. Me and Norm go looking for his bear while Tom waits for Doug to come and pickup his bear hide and then comes and helps us look. Doug flew the area we were in, in hopes he could spot the wounded bear, no luck. We followed the blood trail for several hours and never did find a spot where he had laid down, which I thought was very rear. Talk about an adrenalin rush, knowing at any time you might walk right up on this wounded bear and at times you could not see 30'. The hair on my neck has still not laid down. We finally lost all sign of blood and track going straight up a mountain. We spent an hour in this area looking in all directions with no luck. It is a very hard thing to do but we had to let this bear go. My only hope is he survived to be hunted another time, as we have already planed to look for him another time. We saw 27 bears total in the time we were there. 3 hunters with 3 bears shot, not bad. My bear squared out at an even 10' and the skull was 26 15/16". I feel very privileged to have been this lucky. I do not have the square on Tom's bear yet, but I would say around 9'. I have a lot of pictures that I hope to post as soon as I can figure out how to do it.
    Retirement Plan - Having Fun and Still Learning

  2. #2
    Member Roland on the River's Avatar
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    Default Blue thunder

    Holy Scmoly, what an exciting read. congrats on a great hunt.
    Can't wait to see the pictures, maybe even the video.

  3. #3

    Default Curious

    What, if anything, would you do diffrently to reduce the chances of woulding that one animal?
    Nothing "textbook" about wounding an animal.
    Joe (Ak)

  4. #4
    Member Blue Thunder's Avatar
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    Talking Meaning

    What I meant was my bear was text book perfect. Stalk,wind and the kill. Yes we did not like losing the one bear but we done everything that we could to find him. As I stated we hope that he survived so that we can hunt him an other day. I'm sure that anyone that really hunts has lost an animal at some time, it happens and we do everything that we can to not lose an animal.
    Retirement Plan - Having Fun and Still Learning

  5. #5

    Default

    Wow, seeing two 10' bears is one big accomplishment. I'd be keeping those gps coordinates a secret.

    I'd be sick if I wounded and lost a 10' bear.

  6. #6
    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Default

    " I'm sure that anyone that really hunts has lost an animal at some time, it happens and we do everything that we can to not lose an animal. "

    I am sure you are wrong on that one.

    Good write up and congrats on the two bears.
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Thunder View Post
    "...it happens and we do everything that we can to not lose an animal. ..."
    ??? - I guess has to be one of a couple of things - either that "write-up" was fabricated just to irritate people - or - a description of what has to be one of the the most depressing description of incompetency when harvesting (or trying to) two bears I've ever read or heard. Probably too much to hope the former is true.
    Almost as bad as "losing" the animal is the fact you seem to have learned absolutely nothing from the experience.
    Joe Want

  8. #8

    Default

    Seems a fair question to the OP, as Joe originally asked:

    What, if anything, would you do differently if you could do it all over again?

  9. #9
    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Default

    Wish the whole state was like the S.E.,you draw blood thats it for four years
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

  10. #10
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Default sure makes you wonder

    Quote Originally Posted by wantj43 View Post
    ??? - I guess has to be one of a couple of things - either that "write-up" was fabricated just to irritate people - or - a description of what has to be one of the the most depressing description of incompetency when harvesting (or trying to) two bears I've ever read or heard. Probably too much to hope the former is true.
    Almost as bad as "losing" the animal is the fact you seem to have learned absolutely nothing from the experience.
    Joe Want
    As much as I hate to criticize someone's hunt post, rereading that write-up it just seems such a major stretch?? Feels to me like we're being baited here but if not,
    That is some serious shootin' guy and congrats on the Bears you harvested but,

    Can I suggest this much, "Shoot at one animal at a time?"
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

  11. #11
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    Default

    IMHO this 'textbook' story is the kind of fodder that 'anti's love to have.

  12. #12
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    Default Congrats on your Bear

    Its funny on how some individuals can always find a negative to post on a pretty exciting story or hunt. Yes they should of only shot at one bear at a time. Plus his bear was Text book, now one of his buddies is in a boat all by himself. I dont condone taking a questionable shot, but who here other than the 3 of them can say the shot was questionable unless he posts the video for the rest of us to judge. And since he wrote about it here on the forum states that he is an ethical hunter. He could of very easily wrote about the 2 bears and left the part of the 3rd one out and all the nay sayers here would of been preparing a party for the successful hunts. Its a shame there is a bear out there wounded or dead going to waste, but that does happen here in Alaska, we as ethical hunters do everything in our power to ensure it doesnt happen to us. Even though it wasnt stated in the original story, Im sure they filled out their tags properly and did the right thing. The Bad part other than the bear out there going to waste is that the hunter only has a story to show for his hunt, no trophy. Again Congrats on the Hunt and to see that many bears.

    350 SD

  13. #13
    Member Blue Thunder's Avatar
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    I can not believe all the negative. Who am I sitting up and for what. I would love to meet the negative ones on here face to face and discus this hunt and anything that you think we done unethical. I have all the photos and video if some one wants to see. I had a once in a life time bear hunt that I shared and some one has to slam it. I still do not think we done anything wrong and we sure tried to do everything right. If anyone has any more negative commits I would love to meet you face to face to talk about your negative feelings. No fight just talk and may be you can make me see your point. Fear enough. I will travel

    I have to leave the computer for the rest of the day but will check back
    Retirement Plan - Having Fun and Still Learning

  14. #14
    Member Trapak's Avatar
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    Default

    Blue Thunder, thanks for sharing your story, both the good and the bad.

    That's life, but it seems lately that there are those that can't wait to tear apart what a fellow hunter has shared, or pontificate on what they would have done, or give vague criticism. I was hoping that this would lessen as spring rolled around, 'cause it was in high gear during cabin fever time. Yeah, yeah, I know, some will say that we can all learn from this. But folks, I'm sure there are less and less hunters willing to "tell all" about a hunt, due to the arm chair quarterbacks, etc. Soon, this forum may turn into a mutual admiration society or only the stories that are picture perfect will be posted. I knew from the time I read his story just after it was posted, that the thread would go this way. Sad.

  15. #15
    Member Smokey's Avatar
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    Default

    Congrats Blue Thunder on a nice kill and a real life story.
    Loosing any wounded animal is something nobody wants to have happen for sure.
    In a perfect world we all would be great shots and make perfect decisions - that's not real life though. None of us were there in the shoes of the shooters and shame on us to be judge and jury.
    It sounds like you guys put in a considerable amount of effort to find the wounded bear and that was commendable and what should happen.
    You guys took 2 nice bears and that is great!

  16. #16

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Thunder View Post
    I can not believe all the negative. Who am I sitting up and for what. I would love to meet the negative ones on here face to face and discus this hunt and anything that you think we done unethical. I have all the photos and video if some one wants to see. I had a once in a life time bear hunt that I shared and some one has to slam it. I still do not think we done anything wrong and we sure tried to do everything right. If anyone has any more negative commits I would love to meet you face to face to talk about your negative feelings. No fight just talk and may be you can make me see your point. Fear enough. I will travel

    I have to leave the computer for the rest of the day but will check back
    Unethical? The wounding and loss of that one bear would only be "unethical" to those that believe there is moral obligation not to wound and loose an animal - from your description of the hunt and the responses of several individuals that pool certainly appears to be shrinking.

    There is a reason that within some segments of the guiding industry, as a general "rule" starting shooting distances range from 75 to 125 yards (though, unfortunately, the "industry" also has a segment that has the same attitude towards wounding demonstrated in your post); efforts are focused on securing one animal before the harvesting of the second is attempted, and, if an animal is wounded, it becomes the focus of all efforts until secured, (not spending several hours skinning one while another is "wondering" around wounded).

    As having "...a once in a life time bear hunt...", I sincerely hope so. No animal deserves to be wounded regardless of how inexperienced the "shooter" might be.

    "...I would love to meet the negative ones on here face to face and discus this hunt...". Great, I live in Fairbanks, my e-mail is wantj43@gmail.com and my phone number is 907-457-4736.

    Hopefully others, after reading your account, will have a better understanding of how to reduce the potential of wounding and loosing an animal. Can wounding ever be totally eliminated - probably not - however, that does not our obligation to make every effort to minimize the loss of animals we hunt.

    Joe Want

  17. #17
    Member sniper3083006's Avatar
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    Default Awesome

    Congrats on the success.
    One of the great things about the story I liked is the fact that you could read and understand it without having read a little bit then back up and try to make sense of apart.
    Seriously I am glad you and your buddies had fun and a mostly successful hunt.
    Rich

  18. #18
    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    It boils down to shooting bears over hunting them. One will always say the closest I could get was 250 yards and I say pass a find another bear. Its different strokes for everyone but I prefer to go home empty and with stories than take a chance on a poor kill. Eight foot on the wall at 25 yards means more to me than ten foot at 200yards. Any negatives I've seen on this forum have always came from wounding game with long shots. Takeing game clean with a long shot is not my cup of tea but if its done great and I'll say nothing bad but screw it up and I'm there as the game deserves better. If you travel I'm at 120 Front street Wrangell,ask for Will
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

  19. #19

    Default

    Congrats on your bear.
    I would say far from textbook though. I am wondering why would a hunter spend time skinning instead of going after a wounded animal. It seems to me that animal deserves much more time spent hunting for it after you last saw sign. Maybe you did spend more time, it just reads like the towel was thrown in pretty quick.

  20. #20
    Member Blue Thunder's Avatar
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    Default

    Now I'm being attacked for not chasing the wounded bear immediately. I do not know how much hunting or experience you have but from my experienced a wounded animal will go until it thinks it is safe and then lay down. It will stiffen up and die if wounded severe enough. If you immediately start chasing a wounded animal the Adrenalin will keep pumping in the animal , making him travel further than if given time to feel safe and lay down. It looks like no matter what I say some of you are just looking for a reason to PISS on my hunt. I see a couple of you critics have given me a way to contact you and discuss your opinions on my hunting ethics, which I plan to do, I hope yet tonight. Also if anyone would like to talk with me
    Dan Estes PO Box 669 Anchor Point Ak 99556 Cell # 307-899-4917 email harte@vcn.com I would love to talk with any of you to see if I can under stand where you are coming from. As I stated I have video (22 min) and over 100 photos, I do not know how to post all of this but I will make copies and send to anyone that wants one and maybe it will put an end to this attack on my ethics and hunt!!!!!
    Retirement Plan - Having Fun and Still Learning

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