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Thread: Fathers Day Black Bear

  1. #1
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Default Fathers Day Black Bear

    Definitely, my favorite part of checking out the Forums is reading the long posts on hunts, pretty inspiring and fun to go along, so here's my shot at doing my part here, get ready, long story, lots of pics, we had a great time.
    So my spring Black Bear hopes seem to be fading into busyness and breakdowns, weather delays and all. As May becomes a memory, thinking I may have lost out on the "Tasty Spring Bear,"
    But No, rather I am encouraged by several Forum members, "It's not too late" Thanks guys, I needed to hear that right then. Also, it's June, so I get a chance to bring my 8yr old son along as school is out and he is now free to go anywhere Dad goes!
    We stop by the fish plant and take on ice for both increased stability and our own cooler/meat hanging locker, planning for success.
    This is Keegan down in the area we hope to hang Black Bear at 35F for the duration of the hunt and return. We're primarily Meat Hunters so we're pretty big on this end of the deal.
    "
    We head out for area 15, South Kenai Peninsula eyeing that "Two Bear Limit and No Closed Season". Finally, June 17th, we get a weather break and toss the lines departing Kodiak for Homer on Nice Forecast, well SW15 for the day and coming up to 20 that night. That's only "kinda nice" for a 38ft boat needing to cross the Barren Islands area.

    It starts out real nice, the benefits of our own boat paid for by comm fishing, and a diesel engine throttled down to be cool on fuel, brings the entire hunt to a reality expense wise and is pretty comfy as well. Even comes with DVD laptop and "Man, how many times have you watched Big Red One now anyway?" Cruising easy there's lots of time to kill.

    We barely squeeze through the weather window though and as is common the Barren Islands current mania throw some twists on us and even though we had the tides/currents all planned out it was tough on the boy for the last stretch, SW turned to become SE weather and we were running in the ditch for several hours, middle of the night as Keeg is leaning into the sink removing his dinner I hear, "this is the worst day of my life." That's not easy on Dad believe me, I toss fuel economy out the window and throttle way up and get it over with as quick as possible. Those Barrens cannot be respected enough is all I can say about that. What a Crazy Area!
    We pull into Homer and sleep deeply in the harbor, after a day of boat biz we spend a day taking my sister and three kids chasing halibut, we enticed them to drive down for fresh halibut and they arrived shortly with our new Mad River Canoe on top of the car. Yahoo, had it ordered through REI and shipped to Anch, just had to figure out how to get it to the boat. What a deal, next day they drove north with 78lbs of Fresh Filets in the cooler and we depart with the new "Shore Recon Rig" tied down on top of the boat. Lets Go Hunting Bear !!
    That evening we pull into Chrome Bay, drop the anchor in weather like this, AAAAWWWWWwwwwwwww
    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 !

  2. #2
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    2am and up with my two week old son, it's great reading of what is to come in 8 years or so. Very cool.

  3. #3
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Default First eve, New Canoe !!

    Loving Canoes for years, my imagination always brings me back to being a Mountain Man packing Beaver traps when I work on my j stroke. Keegan had never been in a canoe so this was the perfect weather and place to start him out. This was an amazing rig, two of us could make it just Fly. Mad River Explorer 14 was just the right size for the two of us all I can say is it Felt Great to paddle. So we explored the bay and slough, like Heaven on Earth that day.

    From the boat keegan saw what we thought was a bunker in the hill so we headed right there, Instead it is an Old Mine. So as we close in on it I proceed to go on and on for several minutes about how, "that would be the craziest thing ever to go inside something like that, see those rotten timbers holding up the entrance, make sure you don't ever go inside something like that." You know, like a Dad who maybe has done it before and knows better now?

    Then can you see the wheels working, the pressure mounting, the curiosity peaking as Keegan tries to see inside a pitch black mine with the binoculars? Can you really Feeeeel Ittttt???

    Yes, there we were 200 feet inside, saying well the walls look really solid, we'll just go a little ways further. Does he look he's trusting there? or wondering? When I hear a little whisper behind me, "Let's Get outta Here!" I am in total agreement

    As we look back at the pictures I wonder how am I going to explain these to Mom? Funny thing, she just laughed when seeing them back home in kodiak, Boys Will Be Boys? I guess?
    Back to the boat and glassing as we go but Next Day, Fathers Day, the hunt is on hard core
    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 !

  4. #4
    Member Trapak's Avatar
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    Ok, ok you've got me sitting on the edge of my seat. Keep your story going....lol. Loving it so far!

  5. #5
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Default A bit of training and Experience

    We hit it hard Fathers day morning, traveled the shores for a few hours at an idle glassing as we went early on and found some sign of fresh Bear in the grass at the head of the bay.
    Gotta mention that Yet Another Forum Member had responded to my PM question about the timing of hunting near his home area not looking for areas just advice on being too late and he responded with a fair amount of detail on areas he thought would be good, way over the top helpful, and yes, saved us some serious fuel and as you'll see found Bear there as well, Very Cool, we're very Grateful

    More Beautiful area, better than I would have imagined for protected waters, etc. Let's drop the hook here for while and get in the woods!

    We hunt all morning then it's time for some fun in the Survival Suits, Great practice and essential for a Father who is alive today as a result of knowing how to get Very Quickly into a suit as well as being comfortable in the water and trusting the suit and gear he has to survive. Keegan thought, "This was the best day of his life," (nice turn around there, eh?) and couldn't wait to get into his very own Child/small adult size suit and in the water


    I can't emphasize enough that if you have these on board but have not been actually in the water in one you are in for a surprise that you can't afford. Keegan is a good and strong swimmer but it was hard for him to get the idea of trusting the suit completely, he insisted that he had to stay on his belly and arch his neck up to keep his face out of the water. a Very Exhausting practice that would not work for long so I rolled him over and held him until he could relax, notice how close the water is to his face but at this point he is saying," I could take a nap like this." A key to survival in these suits, trusting them to float you completely.
    We also practiced capsizing the canoe so we would know how that would feel and what it would take to get it over. Absolutely amazed at the secondary stability of this rig, but also crucial thing to know how far it will go and still come back. Learned that from my Dad who would not let us cross a lake without having gone through Capsize Experience Training. Didn't seem as cold back then in the Colorado Rockies, and of course we didn't have the suit up option.
    It was a Good and Really Fun afternoon for both of us.
    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 !

  6. #6
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Default Black Bear Down !!

    That evening, we head out to explore another slough area, Keegan loves the beachcombing thing as a Kodiak Boy he'll do the beach biologist deal all day long so we paddled way back into an area and found a great place that I could sit a stand, up against some tidal flat dead trees and glass a large area at the max of the low tide. While Keegan found a few sinkholes that he just had to explore in detail.


    I love sitting ambush on animals as I have often seen them come so carefully to an edge and look for movement that I feel I may never see the best animals trying to walk up on them. So there I am in Kodiak Camo, (that's a Fuel Dock Sweatshirt, Gray and Wool Hat, Black) leaning up against a bleached out tree at just after low tide thirty, the breeze coming from my left and up the slough but I have the entire other side pre ranged at around 200 yards, the treeline that is, down to the beach is close to 150.

    And I am Not Moving, Keegan just behind me engrossed in his tidal mud hole and out of sight for over an hour, silently engrossed I should say. His patience at sitting with me needs a little work yet, but then so does mine. Shoot I was Just Praying for more patience, thirty seconds ago and thinking, "I know this is a good Ambush, I need to sit here longer......... when there's movement, right in front of me, I was looking directly at him when he stepped cautiously out of the treeline,
    First thing He does is look Directly At Me, scanning the entire other side of the slough, Doesn't see me and somehow I know that is my Bear, no question about it. Looks Solid, looks like he carrries authority and wisdom, like a Boar should look I think. Then he gets comfortable and goes down with head to grab some grass. I take the chance to slide back into grass and into a prone position. Can't believe he isn't detecting anything, wind is perfect, wow, he's even stretching in the sun now. As I crank my scope up from 4x to 8.5. He fills the view now and I can take any shot I want, it's been a minute or so, definitely no cubs around. He's alone for sure.
    I range him at 212 yds and am perfectly prone, had left my pack in the canoe so actually have to take the time to stack my hat on top of my binoculars and rangefinder to get the barrel high enough out of the grass, but I could not be any more invisible I am so low in the tall grass.
    What happens next as I decide to fire is an incredible feeling of confidence I have never known as a hunter/shooter.
    This is my first handloaded ammunition hunt. Just got started this winter but have run more than 700 rounds through this one rifle Sako 85, in 270wsm and am using my very first refined bullet the Speer 130gr BTSP and I know both this rifle and this round in the chamber so well it is as if I reached out and touched the Bear in the side Exactly Where I Wanted To. Hard to describe but it was an amazing feeling to have the rifle become an extension of my eye and finger versus a tool that I am pointing and trying to pull carefully. Maybe you gotta be a Reloader to understand this but it was really Cool.

    I took the shot and saw the Bear clearly hit before watching him whirl into the woods a few steps away.
    I'm just amping at the experience when Keegan says, "Did you get one?" He had come out of the area he was in just before I fired, and saw me laying down so knew I was onto something. Silently watched me fire then walks up and says, "Did you get one Dad? Look at these critters I found."
    Wow, natural born Alaskan I guess, so we jump in the canoe and cross the slough. Find bright red blood on the grass and the point of impact. Teaching Keegan what we were seeing in Bright Red with little froth, a good hit in the lungs, I started carefully up the main trail I could see and after a little while lost the trail. Back where we started Keegan spots blood red spot back in the shadows then the Black hide emerges in front of us, he'd run 22 yards, the air taken right out of him by that touch of the finger.
    Black Bear Down, love those words, we are a happy Dad and Boy


    Keegan, My Tracker Aid, his Mom later heard him tellin Granma, "he never would have found him without me." We both consider it "Our Bear" and I can hardly believe I could have all those delays turn out so well for us together



    We drag him to the beach and leave the entrails there, actually pull the canoe up to the Bear, wanting to preserve the hide which seemed to be a little thin and shedding heavily,but not a rub on him. We load him in and push off for the hour and a half return cruise. Bear loaded Canoe rode well, like a tanked down Crab Boat.
    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 !

  7. #7
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Default Return Home in "Favor" Seas and Skies

    Back at the Boat we pull a couple buckets of ice out of the hold and pack the body cavity with ice, amazing how quick that stuff works, the outside of the body was cold to the touch before finished skinning! My first Bear hide went ok, but next one will be better for sure. Hide with Skull and Paws still in 35 pounds, bone in carcass 98 lbs total. I measured the green hide myself (not stretched) at 6'6"claw to claw and 6' long. The skull at 16 3/4 (later sealing number was 16 9/16) so we felt this was quite a trophy bear. We aren't from trophy heritage so trying to figure out what to do. Mom will definitely not have animals hanging in her house so we'll do something cool with a tanned hide in the shop. That skull is cool tho and will be a boys room memory for sure.
    So to finish this long read, hope you're still with me, we did have a Two Bear Limit, so we spent a few more days cruising that incredible coastline down there off southeast Kenai Peninsula. Planning where we'll hunt next year, and didn't see another bear until literally three minutes from my last turn away to head west.

    As I am teaching Keegan how to read the Fish&Game regs book to see what he can hunt with his .22. he is realizing nearly everything is closed this time of year. I had just tried to explain to a boy now full of Love for the Hunt that they have to close everything down around this time of year for the newborns, even wolves, not so easy to understand until we spot a Sow Black Bear and her two cubs way down in the tide zone, we pull up close and watch for a while and watching those cubs and their mama is like a lesson no school textbook or DVD movie could ever match.

    I think he got it. We headed home for Kodiak,



    We jumped on a good forecast and got one of the best rides I have ever had through the same Barrens that had worked us over so hard a week before. Red Sky at Night, Sailors Delight, is the message of Favor on our Future, and with calm water like that, well, we recieved it with Great Thankfulness
    And did I mention we decided to take the long way home, via a couple days on Shuyak Island and Afognak, Jewels of the Kodiak Archipelago?
    Here it is, morning after wake-up on Shuyak


    and the next evening found us in Blue Fox Bay just over into Afognak Island, to say this is cool country worth exploring.... kinda understated.
    This is our idea of Hunt Gourmet, No Limit on Marshmallows, well after at least one dog. (that's for Mom to see)



    and one more shot of the new Shore Recon Rig, Oohhhh we like her



    Hope that was fun to read, again Many thanks to many forum members who kept me encouraged through the wait, keep reminding me of the priority of my sons in the entire hunt, and for extreme helpfulness over and over from handloading patience with goof questions to offering up good hunt grounds near your own home area.

    Fiery Sunsets at Night on the Calm to you folks
    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 !

  8. #8
    Member hoose35's Avatar
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    awesome story for sure, congrats.

  9. #9
    Member Bighorse's Avatar
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    Default You Betcha

    That was fun to read. Your a fine story teller, dad, and hunter.

    I hope your patience, skill, and integrity wear off on that boy of yours.

  10. #10
    Member Roland on the River's Avatar
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    Default Hey, Kodiakrain

    That was a fine read with my morning coffee. Great experience for the "new " hunter/explorer. Wishing you many more fine trips with the canoe and the boy.

  11. #11
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    Al, What a great story. Awesome to see a father and son getting out and enjoying time together outdoors. Absolutely wonderful photos and story telling. Cherish your time with him, he will be grown before you know it.


    Happy belated Fathers day.

    Steve

  12. #12
    Member RANGER RICK's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    That was a great story with pictures to boot .
    Congrats to both of you .Your son will never forget these hunts with Dad.
    Thanks again.

    RR
    Practice does not make perfect !!!!!
    Perfect Practice makes perfect !!!!!!!!!!


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  13. #13
    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Thank you for taking the time to share your story with all of us, it was a great read and put me right there with the two of you! Congrats and Happy Fathers Day!!!

  14. #14
    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Hey rain,,, great read bro, wonderful photos a trip he will remember for ever...sometimes, it just takes time... to take the time. good for you!
    "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

  15. #15

    Default Great story!

    AWESOME, AWESOME story! Congrats! Loved reading every word!

  16. #16
    Member frankd4's Avatar
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    Default Thank you

    Kodiakrain thanks for keeping the dream alive for me, It gives me hope when i'm ready to give up.
    Ted Kennedy’s car has killed more people than my gun!

  17. #17
    Member blasterak's Avatar
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    Awesome! Congrats on the great trip you and your son had. Living the dream, perfect. Thanks for the great story!

  18. #18
    Member jmg's Avatar
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    One of the best hunt stories I've ever read on this forum. Awesome!!! Congrats to you and your son.
    Never count your days, but rather, make all of your days count.

  19. #19
    Member CGSwimmer25's Avatar
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    Excellent story, your boy is hooked for life now I bet! Congrats on a great hunt.

  20. #20
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    Default Awesome

    I loved the write-up. great pictures, great writing, and a great father's day. This is only the beginning for you and your son, many great memories to come.
    I'd agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong.

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