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Big Brown Down...

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  • Big Brown Down...

    No s**t there we were knee deep in rotten snow and pondering why we actually wanted to even attempt a hunt like this. The planning for the hunt started last fall while a buddy of mine and I were talking about wanting to get out and try a early den hunt over in 16b for Browns. I've been fortunate enough to harvest them in the fall up on the berry fields or streams and just couldn't figure out how much harder a spring hunt really could be.Boy was I waaayyy off on what I expected.
    The two of us took off from Anchorage Sunday morning bright and early with the truck destined for Nikiski. I have been talking to an air taxi down there for a while, and with the warm weather holding up for the week we figured it was time to give it a try. I took off first from Nikiski in search of a nice sized bear.
    After 4 hours of flying we found a long ridge that looked to have the best chances of spotting a bruin and I told the pilot to set her down as soon as possible for the motion sickness had taken hold and it was time to get the h**l on the ground and out of the plane.The plane landed and the pilot had gone back to get my buddy.The area we had chosen to be dropped off was along a river bed and at the base of a long range of hills and ridges with great exposure to the sun. Once camp was setup in the tree line and all the essentials where down loaded that's when the great feeling of "Oh I know what we forgot" sayings began.The forgot list included items such as: latex gloves, paper towels, hand sanitizer and soap, not good but doable without. Monday morning dawned to a beautiful morning with no clouds in the sky. We decided to take a trip up to the ridge of the highest hill in front of us and look around. Now the point where we wanted to be, looked to be maybe a mile or mile and a half away so we thought an hour travel time max. Well 3 hours later we were on top of the hill. The snow was still hard that early in the morning and the traveling was just slow. Cont.
    "A vote is like a rifle: its usefulness depends upon the character of the user." T. R.

  • #2
    As we were up on top I kept glassing across about a mile and spotted a fresh set of tracks in the snow, looked a little longer at the tracks and eventually found the creature making those tracks. We watched the boar slide on his back down a hill about 50 yards and stop for a nap. We hurried down off the big hill as best we could but it still took us a while to get to the next ridge that we thought might provide a better look out spot. Once we arrived on the rim of the ridge the watch said 12:00 on the head. Not bad I thought after about 4 hours of snowshoeing. When we came up on the rim I began to glass and within minutes found the boar lying on his back across the valley. I got my snowshoes off and slide up for a better view and to try and get a calculated range from my rangefinder. After about 10 minutes of trying to laser through the tree branches I received a reading of 237 yards which I believed to be accurate. Somehow he heard me from that distance walking backwards and sat up on his front legs and just stared at us. It took awhile but he settled back down but was facing directly toward us. I figured I would just inch forward until I could get a clear shot through the thick willow tops. As I inched forward he heard or seen me somehow and stood up. I figured I had to keep sliding forward on the snow to find a clear shooting lane. I finally found a 10" hole and settled down on my shooting stick. With him sitting up facing me I got the crosshairs to settle down right on his nose and touched the .458 Lott off sending 500 grains of hurt directly into the center of his chest and out the back. Down he went without issue but for safe measure I put another round into him but wasn't needed. We made it over to the bear around 12:30ish and by now the snow turned rotten and we where waist and knee deep in the alder thickets trying to skin a bear out that is in a 2 foot hole he had dug out. It took everything we had to get him to slide down the hill only to land in another position that would prevent me from starting the skinning process. So after another push he finally ended up on his back and I went to town. Cont.
    "A vote is like a rifle: its usefulness depends upon the character of the user." T. R.


    • #3
      I have done a few skinning job on bears and figured it would take me an hour max. WRONG, 4 hours later and several not so nice words the job was complete. We got the hide put in a super sized game bag and slide it down to the bottom of the hill. The intent was to put him on the pack frame but when we did neither of us could even move the pack. After deliberation we decided to keep the hide cool, head back to camp, get on the satphone and send in a request for a sled. Now starting back to base camp we found we ran out of water 4 miles from camp and with every step we sunk up our knees. Hell is the only word that came to mind, NOT good in anyway. Base camp might as well have been the Fairfield suites because we were dead tired and sore. Tuesday morning dawned clear and we headed out early to take advantage of the frozen snow. We met up with the plane and the pilot brought a sled that I would have bought from him at that point for about $500 cash but he was good with just borrowing it to us. The plane took off again and just when we started to head the last 1/4 mile to the bear the plane landed again and the pilot jumped out, put on his snowshoes and said "I got some time, I'll give you a hand". WOW!! We got the bear and made it back to the plane in about 30 minutes!! It was great that he took his time to lend us a hand when he didn't have to. After he got the bear flown out we headed back to base camp and began to pack up. About 3 hours later we were out and back to civilization once again. It was ALOT of work making it happen out there but as hunters I don't think we would have it any other way.
      The hide was beautiful without any thinning areas what so ever. The local taxidermist in Nikiski measured the skull at 26" raw. He was alot bigger then we had expected in every way and am proud we had a chance to get out and experience a hunt like this.

      B&C 04

      "A vote is like a rifle: its usefulness depends upon the character of the user." T. R.


      • #4
        Click image for larger version

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        "A vote is like a rifle: its usefulness depends upon the character of the user." T. R.


        • #5
          Click image for larger version

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          "A vote is like a rifle: its usefulness depends upon the character of the user." T. R.


          • #6
            I will post the pics of the bear after we got him skinned out this afternoon some time.
            "A vote is like a rifle: its usefulness depends upon the character of the user." T. R.


            • #7

              I''m stoked to see this, you just set the bar! Way to go!

              It's hard to get motivated to get out in the slop, I'm glad it paid off for ya man, friggin' awesome.

              I'm officially chompin' at the bit. Thanks for posting!
              "When the time comes for a man to look his Maker in the eye, where better could the meeting be held than in the wilderness?"


              • #8
                very cool write up, and CONGRATS OF THE HIGHEST ORDER,for such a hunt,

                Looks beautiful, what a nice hide color, etc.
                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 !


                • #9
                  Congratulations on a well earned bear.


                  • #10
                    B&C 04,
                    Great write-up, of a great hunt, for a great bear.
                    Thank You for letting all of us "participate" in your adventure.

                    While "discussion/opinion-item-threads" are important here on the forum, sometimes a huntin story just hits the spot!

                    Imagine (It's easy if you try)
                    …miles and miles of mountains…wide expanses of tundra...remote wild waters…
                    (Whisper words of wisdom) Let It Be


                    • #11
                      Bear huntin is just plain cool.

                      In 1492 Native Americans discovered Columbus lost at sea

                      If I come across as an arrogant, know-it-all jerk, it's because I am


                      • #12
                        Way to kick off the Alaska hunting season!!! Great hunt!
                        I'd agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong.


                        • #13
                          Thanks a lot for the story and a great trophy. Deep soft snow is a workout w/o a bear hide to haul out. I'll be watching for your follow-up story and photos. You earned that one!


                          • #14
                            Great looking bear and congrats on a fine hunt.

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

                            USS SARATOGA CV-60



                            • #15
                              Great Read, Thanks, nice photos, well done.
                              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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