Tiniest bear I ever shot

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  • #16
    Part 1

    So I'm lately exploring some new areas near home. As some may know I have been pursuing (mostly) the predators in my area. Too many wolves, coyotes and brownies. Not enough moose and other game. Last thursday I found myself in the toolies till late evening blowing rabbit distress and canine pup calls. A glimpse of a large moving animal in the swamp edge spooked me a bit as I realized I was undergunned with my 223 I usually carry. I realized the Brownies might be around and I felt quite vulnerable. It turned out to be a spooked moose but caused me enough concern to change tactics and weaponry.
    Then Friday a friend and myself went on a 2 mile walk-in to scout out some new (to me) area with pack and rifle. Upon access to a river bottom, much to my delight we discovered tracks from all 3 noted predators on a 100 yard stretch of riverbed. We had a long slog back uphill in mud and ice and it pooped me out. I left that night encouraged tho and couldnt wait to expore more.
    Saturday about noon I left home with my wheeler and ventured to another new area to me a bit farther out. I had a spot on the map I wanted to look at logistics for a future adventure and noted various fabulous vantage points to call from on my reverse trip. Several of these vantage pts allowed good views of much riverbottoms. The wind was quite strong. Something that I always love when hunting. At about the 5th vantage pt stop I glassed the bottomland first as I always do before calling. Low and behold a large brown object appeared to be sleeping about 1000 yrds upvalley on the riverbed. After glassing the bottoms for about 10 minutes sure enough he got up and started tearing at the ground. He pulled up a piece of what appeared to be a pretty large chunk of red meat. It was about 6 pm and I retreated to my wheeler 150 yrds away to retrieve my daypack with spotting scope, knives, water, and a few other meager items. This was more than I bargained for but the wind direction and strength, coupled with the perfect stalking terrain caused me to further investigate the possibilities.
    I was by myself. The wife didnt know I was out hunting. And although I tried, I couldnt get cell coverage to her or a buddy. But this opportunity was worth investigating. I told myself if it wasnt right, it wouldnt happen. If all was right with my world this could be an oyster.
    I approached an overlook with pack, newest rifle (30-06 Seka Lite), and some trepidation. I was now about half closer and started downhill using some lovely prominades half way down the put there just for this purpose apparently. At 458 yards he again rose from a nap and fed for ten minutes and again laid down. So far, so good. As I angled my way downhill I noted 3 or 4 spruce trees ranging from 10 yrds out to about 50 yards from the edge of the riverbank. The bear appeared to be across the river about 50-60 yards beyond the other side on the gravel bar. I now ranged him at 258 yrds. About the only thing I had left as cover were some weeds, a bit of scrub brush with no leaves and those lovely 3 or for spruce. Apparently put there just for this purpose. So far, so good.
    Staying low and using the available cover I slowly slowly crept closer. Several times I lost sight of him for a few minutes and it caused some concern but I always got him back in my sight, right where he last was---still napping. Looking like this COULD happen! A few more failed phone tries and onward ho.
    Finally I'm behind the spruce tree only yards from the edge of the river. I survey my shooting set up and decide I must move about 20 yards to the left to shoot thru an open area in the brush on my side of the river. So I crawl thru the weeds with my pack in front of me, lay it out and place the rifle on it. I look at my watch.... 7pm. I range him.... 104 yards.
    I watch him for about 5 minutes, in a way hoping he would get up so I could see if he was as big as he looked from 350 plus yards away when I last saw him up. He never did again.
    Attached Files
    Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine! :whistle:
    WWG1WGA! QANON

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    • #17
      Part II

      I'm looking at my watch. 7:15 pm now. Time to make a decision. The pic in previous post shows the live bear snoozing next to his prize. The only time he moved during the 15 minutes was once to raise his head for ten seconds in my direction. I worried that the wind might swirl. I dialed my Luepold 4.5 x 14.5 to full power. Thats what I had been practicing at 200yrds the week before. I made two pretty decent 'heart' shots and a perfect head kill shot on my bear target that day. I felt confident but had to look thru the scope numerous times before I felt confident ENOUGH to try this head shot. I wanted no part of a wounded big brownie-especially alone. At this point I wasnt sure just how big he was.
      It was a pretty clear look at the bear with the exception of just a few brush pieces near the bear that I figured were about an inch round at the biggest. Unfortunately there was one of these right across the back section of his head. (In the pic the bear's head is actually facing the right. U can see the small brush that I speak of I think.) It caused me to analyze shot placement and penetration if I hit the branch. I finally figured there was just enough margin to place it where it would work.
      When he looked sure and large in my reticle I pulled the trigger and sent the 180 grain factory Federal load on its way. The recoil briefly caused my to lose sight of him, of course. But before I even chambered a round I peered again thru the scope. He appeared to not move at all. I watched for a few more minutes and eventually rechambered. After about 5 minutes (I guess) of watching thru the scope blood started pooling in front of his face. BINGO! It looked good so far!
      At 7:30 I approached the river's edge. I gotta see this guy. I take a never used xmas knife gift from my pack and a small saw to cut some walking sticks to cross the river. Should I take my neoprene much boots off or leave em on. All of a sudden simple decisions became difficult. I decide to leave em on. I take two step into the river and dont even go over my boots yet. But the next probe with my walking stick and instantly sinks 3 ft.... Oh, oh. And I've got twenty five yrds of water to cross. All of a sudden I question my decision to cross, alone. I gotta see this bear close up I tell myself. I move lower down in the river. Out I go. Hey, this water aint bad. I make it across never quite getting my crotch wet but wondering if I would soon be peeing my pants. I approach the bear to about 20 yards and analyze... He looks dead. I snap a photo with my Iphone so they have record of why they found my Iphone in a pile of bear scat...just in case. Here it is ....Click image for larger version

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      Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine! :whistle:
      WWG1WGA! QANON

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      • #18
        Wow...unreal. Excellent telling of the story, sir, and very well done on the hunt! Thanks for taking the time to share this.

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        • #19
          Very, VERY nice bear and what a great story. Karma sure came around and made up for that wolf, um, hunt, earlier this season.

          Congratulations!
          “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.” ― H.S.T.
          "Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you."

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          • #20
            Awesome bear cod! Cns shots are the way to go with bears. One shot and no tailing through alders. Good call.
            “I come home with an honestly earned feeling that something good has taken place. It makes no difference whether I got anything, it has to do with how the day was spent. “ Fred Bear

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            • #21
              Part III

              So u can see his prize buried moose pile and some red meat in the pic. I poke him a bit. Please dont wake up now!. The next pic I took was the one first posted with the rifle on it. Looks like no hero pic for me. Oh well, more important I got rid of another moose muncher.
              I examine the entrance wound about 3-4 inches behind the eye. Beautiful! He had his head tilted slightly toward me and was nearly broadside when I pulled the trigger. No sign of an exit wound that I could see at this time. It appears my shot was placed right where I wanted it.
              Now what? Looks fair size. I spread my hands from his tail up towards his nose. Well, he's bigger than a six footer I tell myself, still not knowing just how big he would turn out to be. Maybe seven, perhaps even a bit more!?
              I find an old moose scapula and try to lift his head out of the blood to get a better pic...Nope. He had a 2 hand head. I think I walked around him for better than 20 minutes trying to make another rather simple decision. What to do now. So I start skinning just like the usual little animals I've often done. Cept this one aint to easy to position. I thank myself for bringing a ten foot strap just long enough to reach the only sizable tree close enough to assist me. Put there apparently just for me. I tie it on his massive front leg and roll him more on his side.
              I'll try and post pic of evident bullet entrance.... There is a small light colored spot next to itClick image for larger version

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              Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine! :whistle:
              WWG1WGA! QANON

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              • #22
                Nice write up, I bet the neighbors are happy he's down! Thanks for sharing the pictures, very cool!

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                • #23
                  Nice bear! Great story too!
                  "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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                  • #24
                    Sweet! Nice job and fantastic write up! What a great bear!

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                    • #25
                      Great story and hunt. Looks like a beautiful hide on that bear. Sneaking up on a brownie on a kill by yourself; not for the faint of heart. You might get a second chance at those wolves just yet, good chance they will find that bear and start eating it. It's about time there was a good bear story posted.

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                      • #26
                        Great recounting of the hunt. An awesome coat on that bear.
                        ALASKA is a "HARD COUNTRY for OLDMEN". (But if you live it wide'ass open, it is a delightful place to finally just sit-back and savor those memories while sipping Tequila).

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                        • #27
                          Part IV

                          Funny how simple decisions can seem difficult when the pressure goes away. You just skin him like any other animal, right? Why was I having such a hard time figuring out where to start? Oh well I tell myself. You're not here for a trophy. You're here to have gotten rid of another moose muncher. Still..... I dont want to butcher this pelt. I do the best I can with my new xmas tools - never used- and now about ten yrs old. Boy, not what I hoped for. One medium knife and a zip cutter. I also had my usual pocket knife but never pulled it out. I quickly realized that the zip tool was of little help. There was little to NO 'zipping". Hide too thick. This bear had plenty of fat on him too. This was one healthy bear. Moving him much was not gonna happen. The bear didnt have any rub spots at all that I could see. In retrospect I only remember seeing two spots nearby where the bear had shi* in the woods, so to speak. Maybe I caught him shortly after his discovery of the moose carcasse? Dont know. So far, so good tho.
                          I'm careful not to cut myself as my woefully inadequate utensiles do their work. I make obvious mistakes cutting up the wrong section of the rear leg. Hard to hold it up in place and cut. Oh well, I tell myself. Get to work. After an hour and a half I have the upside done up to the neck. Still have the two under legs to do.
                          Getting late and I still have quite a ways to go to the wheeler, uphill, and have to recross the river. Wife still not knowing where I went. Nor anyone else. I decide to call for reinforcements in the A.M. and call it a night.
                          I have to decide how to leave the carcasse. Clothed? Unclothed? I decide unclothed to keep cooler and in case someone else beats me out in the a.m. and sees my 'sleeping' brownie below. Afterall, its gonna be late before I get a call out and the A.M. will be a Sunday morn. ...Not good.
                          Long story short(er) and winding down.... Took a while to get to sleep that nite and wife was a bit unbelieving when I told casually that I shot griz as I headed for the shower. Check my ph for pics I told her as I climbed in the shower.....Oh, wow.
                          Climbed in bed about midnite and was up at 630. Ate, got some better gear together and at 8 rounded up the necessary help. Back home by mid afternoon, tired and pleased. Wasnt until others saw the bear that I found out it was a good one.
                          One last pic for tonight is the 'backside' of the skull where the bullet should have/would have come out. When we skulled him, there was the remaining copper jacket of the 180 grain bullet just barely under one layer of skin. Absolutely zero lead left in it when removed. The lead must have remained entirely in the skull. I am looking forward to having the skull back, I think, than the hide. Cant wait to see the damage. It will be a great reminder of this hunt. Looks like just a tanning of the hide for now. Definitely no room in our little home. (twelve foot wall in the garage tho.) I'll take a photo tomorrow of the removed copper jacket and post. Here's the pic (hopefully) of where it was lodged in the skin, backside of bear head. All I did is scrape the very thin membrane off to confirm thats what it was. Note it just a couple inches to the right of the rivet in knife. Looks like serious bruising in there!
                          Cheers to all. Hope u enjoyed!
                          Click image for larger version

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                          Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine! :whistle:
                          WWG1WGA! QANON

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                          • #28
                            I'm going to send you down a havalon for Christmas... When you get one of those wolves you'll be glad to have it!

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                            • #29
                              Is that a Gerber folding filet knife? I have one and love it. Thanks for pics and great write up, nice bear.

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                              • #30
                                That's an awesome bear and a great write up!
                                http://i123.photobucket.com/albums/o...0junk/reag.jpg

                                "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." - George Orwell

                                Before taking any of my advice for granted on here research the legal ramifications thoroughly I am not the Troopers nor am I the Judge that will be presiding over your case/hearing. Please read the hunting and sportfishing regulations and feel free to interpret their meaning on your own.

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