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Old May 15, 2007, 11:18 PM   #1
taylorce1
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Join Date: November 18, 2005
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AK Black Bear (Very Long Post)

Had a great time in Alaska as some of you might know from some of the pictures I posted. Any way I promised to report on the hunt as soon as I got back home. It was a very short but satisfying hunt to say the least.

We arrived in Petersburg on Sunday the 6th of May. We picked up some provisions and our skiff and went to the cabin. After we settled in at the cabin my friend Todd and I grabbed the guns and headed out to scout about and confirm zero on our rifles. Todd had hunted for bears in this area over the last two years and had failed to get a bear, but he new the area very well. After confirming the zero of our firearms, luckily it only took one shot each, we headed back to the cabin for some sleep before the hunt the next day.

Monday we headed into town in the morning to purchase our bear tags and poke about a bit to see if we could find out if any bears had been spotted or taken recently. Without any good local intel we headed out that afternoon from the cabin heading south through the narrows going to some honey holes where Todd had spotted bears before on previous hunts. It was a beautiful day probably in the low 50's with no rain and lots of sun.

We spent a lot of time glassing from the boat but not spotting any bears at any of the places that Todd had seen them before in the previous years so we decided to push further out and headed down towards Kah Sheets Bay. We glassed from a little island point at the mouth of the bay for a little over an hour and had some pop tarts but didn’t see any bears from our vantage point so we decided to cruise into the bay a little to check things out. It didn’t take us long to find a bear after we moved a little deeper into the bay.

We put ashore a few hundred yards down wind of the bear and out of sight. We followed the shore line until we could get a good look at the bear. Todd felt that this was a good bear and that I would get the to shoot the first bear. We started our stalk trying to hug the tree line and the shore the only problem was that there was a lot of kelp that had been left on the shore by the receding tide that sounded like walking on bubble wrap. So we moved into the forest which really slowed our stalk down but we were able to move a little quieter. We came out on a point about 135 yards from the bear but he was acting alert with his head up looking for trouble, I don’t think that he had winded us at this point but had heard us coming out of the trees.

We set up for the shot I was wanting to use my shooting sticks and as I was setting up Todd ranged the bear for me. I couldn’t get a good shot as I was trying to shoot through an opening under some tree branches and over a slight rise. I moved over trying to steady myself against a branch on a branch of a windfall or tree that had drifted in. I fired at the bear and he spun and disappeared into the woods. Todd said that the bullet either went straight through him or just over him, I said that I felt I shot over as I was aiming for a high shoulder shot but felt I pulled the shot.

We sat about a half an hour just in case I did connect with the bear and then went down looking for a blood trail. During that half hour we talked about how excited I was and this being my first ever shot on a bear I think that I let my nerves get the best of me. Anyway we spent about another half hour looking for any kind of blood or hair to indicate a solid hit. After not finding any blood, only claw marks and broken brush we decided that I hadn’t even wounded the bear and went looking for another.

Todd had better eyes for spotting bears than I did plus a little higher powered binoculars that allowed him to see the bears at longer ranges than I did. He spotted another bear a ways off and we both looked at it all I could tell was that it was moving through my binoculars. We were able to put a small island between us and the bear as we moved across the tidal flat too get closer. We came out of the island and could see the bear just grazing the grasses and used our range finders and had a gap of over 500 yards to close. We moved back into the trees and tried to cross at a location where the bear was less likely to spot us and then moved to within 300 yards of the last place we had spotted him, and he was gone. We waited a long time hoping the bear would come out of the trees but never saw him so we decided to head back to the island we had watched him from to see if we could spot him again.

We took the shortest route back to the island since we both thought the bear was gone and walking back I thought I spotted a bear and stopped to glass it. I decided it was just part of the roots on a tree that had blown down and we continued our walk back to the island. We were out in the middle of a big open area when both Todd and I looked back towards that tree I glassed earlier. Todd looked at me and said “What the he!! is that?” All I could say was “That is a Bear!” We dropped to the grass and ranged the bear which came back as 202 yards. I set up my shooting sticks the whole time Todd is telling me to be calm because the bear doesn’t even know we are here.

I put the scope on him and all I have is a TX heart shot, I turn to Todd and say “That is a big Bear!” He tells me not to worry about it and watch the bear. The bear gives me a quartering away shot and I aim to take out his far shoulder, I go to squeeze off my shot but instead I jerk the trigger hard. “Bear Fever” had taken over again luckily I had forgot to release the safety and all I do is jerk the rifle. This gives me a moment to calm down flip the safety off and take aim, the bear turns just a little bit more and gives me a full broadside shot. I put my cross hairs on his shoulder and this time I do squeeze the trigger, and my bear spins and drops like he was hit by lightning. The bear is still kind of moving so Todd has me shoot again to make sure the bear is down.

Todd says “First trip to Alaska, first day of hunting, first bear ever!” “Does it get any better than this?” I can’t really say anything as I’m still in disbelief and nothing but smiles. I couldn’t get over how big this bear was, I’ve seen bears before here in Colorado but this spring bear was as big as most of the fall bears I’ve ever seen. I’ll have to agree with Todd, it doesn’t get any better than that.

We got to work and skinned out the bear and quartered up the meat to haul back to the boat. We got the first load hauled back to the boat to find out that we had gone dry and we were at least 100 yards from water. We had tried to land the boat on a shore that dropped off enough to let the boat ride the tide out, but it wasn’t steep enough. Anyway we went back and got the final load of meat and the hide and came back, with no desire to spend the night on the beach we tried to drag the boat to water. With that being a total failure I spent my second night in Alaska on the beach, luckily we were blessed with a beautiful rain free night. We even managed to get a fire going and other than being hungry we had a pretty comfortable night on the beach.

We totally forgot about a Forest Service cabin that was probably a half a mile from where we were until about 2 a.m. and by then we were comfortable enough that it didn’t matter. If we had gone to the cabin though we couldn’t have made it back to the skiff if we fell asleep and didn’t beat the high tide back. We got back to the cabin about 5:30 a.m., the tide came in much earlier but we couldn’t see well enough to navigate until around 4 a.m. We were pretty tired when we got to the cabin so we took care of the bear and went to bed and slept until noon.
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Old May 15, 2007, 11:19 PM   #2
taylorce1
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Part II

We ran my hide over to Green Rocks Lodge to get their taxidermist to skin out the fingers and skull and we headed out to hunt again. We couldn’t pass up another beautiful day to hunt as we had almost the same weather as the day before. We headed down to Little Duncan Canal to look for more blackies. We were checking all the little coves around but were afraid we would go dry again so we pulled out into the middle and glassed from the boat.

Todd spotted a bear tucked back in a little cove so we went for the shore out of sight from the bear and that would put the wind in our favor. We skirted the beach again but this time we had plenty of grass to quiet our footsteps. We ran out of cover and had to stop about 350 yards from the bear Todd was pretty sure that was out of his range as he was using a .358 JDJ Contender. So we backtracked and ducked into the woods and tried to get closer but we still came out over 250 yards from the bear when we ran out of cover again. Backtracking again we cut over to a small creek that would lead us to the bear an stayed low and got to a bend in the creek that gave us a good view of the bear.

I crawled up on the bank and ranged the bear at 173 yards Todd was pretty confident that he could make that shot so he crawled up a little in front of me and set up for his shot. I ranged the bear again and realized that the 173 yards I was reading was in meters, I got Todd’s attention and flipped my range finder over to yards and came up with 205. I told Todd I thought we could get closer, but Todd said he felt good about his set up and thought he could make the shot.

I don’t know if I was helping him but I told him to hold off shooting because the bear was only giving us a full frontal shot and while Todd was looking back at me the bear had laid down to graze on the grass. Todd didn’t know that and when he looked at the bear again he was asking me if the bear was in a hole, I told him to wait until the bear stood up then he should have a clear shot. It was probably only a few minuets until the bear stood again but it seemed to take forever for him to move. Todd was ready and when the bear gave him a quartering shot he dropped the hammer and the bear just collapsed. This time the bear tried crawling off and Todd followed up with two more shots stopping the bear.

I took the opportunity to run back to the boat to make sure we were still wet, we didn’t want to spend another night on the beach if we didn’t have too. This time we only had about a third of the boat dry and I was able to move it back into the water and move it closer to where we had shot the bear. I went back and helped field dress the bear and we were able to drag it and load the bear in the boat so we could spend the night in a warm cabin without worrying about missing the tide.

The next day we took Todd’s bear to get skinned out and he got a nice souvenir, one of his Accubond bullets had stopped under the hide against the skull. We figured it was probably his last shot at the bear as it was crawling away as that bullet looked like it had entered between the shoulder blades as he was crawling directly away from us. We got both our bears sealed that day and my skull measured in at 19 and 1/4 inches and his was 18 and 13/16 inches. We decided that the only thing better than a first Alaskan black bear was two first Alaskan black bears in two days.

I really have Todd to thank for such a successful hunt, without his knowledge of the Petersburg area I really doubt I would have brought home such a nice bear. Todd not being much of a fisherman volunteered to go out and be a third set of eyes for another group of hunters and helped them to bring back a bear that measured in at 19 and 7/16 inches on our last full day in Alaska. He said it was as much fun as if he had shot three bears himself getting to participate in three successful hunts in one week.

I guess I’m not much of a fisherman as well because I couldn’t even catch a little herring after two days of fishing. I had one great experience and I’ll be back next year if at all possible. Sorry for the long post.

Chad

My Black Bear!


Todd's Bear!


Last edited by taylorce1; May 16, 2007 at 07:34 PM.
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Old May 16, 2007, 08:10 AM   #3
22-rimfire
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Congratulations. Great story and great hunt! In envy you. Thanks for sharing. Todd was using a Contender, what gun were you using to make your shot?
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Old May 16, 2007, 09:10 AM   #4
Fremmer
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Great report! Those are nice bears to take. Please post pics of the hide; gonna put it in your living room?
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Old May 16, 2007, 12:45 PM   #5
taylorce1
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I used a plain old .30-06 in a Rem M700 ADL. I hand loaded 200 grain Nosler Partitions pushed by 52 grains of H4350. After seeing Todd use his Contender it kind of has me wanting to try a little pistol hunting.
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Old May 16, 2007, 02:39 PM   #6
Desertfox
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Congrats to both of you. Nice bear and better story. Nothing like hunting with friends and seeing new territory. I am jealous as well.
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Old May 16, 2007, 03:10 PM   #7
Charles S
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Great story, thanks for sharing the experience. Congratulations.
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Old May 23, 2007, 08:36 AM   #8
Dirty_Harry
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I want to go too....
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Old May 23, 2007, 12:52 PM   #9
USNairman
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That is a great story and sounds like you really had a great time. That is my dream hunt and hope to do it soon myself. Congrats on the great bear!!
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Old May 23, 2007, 03:34 PM   #10
Hans
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Great story, and nice bear! I thouroughly enjoyed reading it.
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Old May 23, 2007, 04:15 PM   #11
jhgreasemonkey
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Nice!
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Old September 20, 2007, 09:58 AM   #12
hunter33
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nice i cant wait until i get my first bear!
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