View Full Version : Reflections on Black Bear Hunt

Rich Lucibella
June 19, 2004, 12:49 PM
I had occasion to do my first Black Bear hunt a couple of weeks back. I was invited up to Saskatoon, CAN by SOF Publisher, Bob Brown and TV Hunting Show Host, Bob Walker. I was informed that the hunt would be over feeders, at short distance, from tree stands. The camera's would be rolling for an upcoming show.

I headed up there with my trusty DRC Custom in 50 Alaskan and a pocket full of Buffalo Bore 450 grain JFN's. We arrived Saskatoon on a Monday and drove the 5 hours to the hunting lodge. Next day, at 2:30 we headed out to the stands. 20 minutes later we glimpsed the first bear and within 90 minutes a good sized female showed up. Given that we'd booked in for 5 days, I was in no rush and spent some time shooting photos and just observing. She made off with a goodly sized piece of meat and Paul, the camera man, reminded me that this might be the largest one I'd see.

Large? Well, these beasties are just coming off hibernation and "large" is defined as 180-200 lbs. Slight yawn.

This particular bear made the mistake of returning about 30 minutes later and that pretty much sealed her fate. One of the 450's entered high on the right shoulder at a quartering angle, exited the left lower ribs and plowed a 14 inch furrow in the earth behind her. She fell over, got up, ran about 30 yards and died within about 15 seconds.

Too Much Gun:
I've never believed in this concept of "too much gun" unless you're out for pelts. I like large entry holes and large exits in all cases. However, if I had it to do over again, the .50 AK would not be the weapon of choice. It got the job done neatly enough, but I'd suspect a good expanding 180 grain from a .308 or even 117 grains +P from my .257 Roberts would have finished her more quickly. The 50 sent an ounce of lead thru that bear like a knitting needle.

Hunting over feeders:
I've never much liked this practice. I understand that this is one of the most common ways to hunt bear and I have no problem with thinning the population, given the strict oversight of the Canadian govt. However, at least in this case, it was more of a cull than a hunt. In the ensuing two hours while waiting for pickup, we got down on the ground and filmed no less than three more bears at ranges as close as twenty yards.

Hunting from stands:
Most of my hunting is on foot...for hog in Texas and various subjects in Africa. I've concluded that, except for bird, I really am not partial to waiting in a stand for hours to get off one shot. Just too fidgety....I need to be doing something. At least with birds there's repeat shooting.

Turns out Colonel Brown killed his at about the same instant and we were back in the US on Wednesday night.


PS: No, the muzzle in the second photo is not covering anything I'd be unwilling to destroy. It's pointed behind my right shoulder.

Dave R
June 19, 2004, 09:42 PM
The 50 sent an ounce of lead thru that bear like a knitting needle.

No expanding bullets available for the .50 Alaskan? Sounds like you could've sacrificed some penetration for expansion in that case.

Still, a nice bear. When do we get to watch it on TV?

June 30, 2004, 01:35 AM
Maybe not enough bear to cause expansion. :p Pretty animal though.

Never done it myself and don't have a real problem with it but the past few years there's been a real outcry over the "morality" of bait hunting for blackies up here. I've tried to stalk and still hunt them before and that never got anywhere, so I can see the functionality, but I'm with Rich on the boredom factor.

I think if you were allowed to tie the bait to YOU it might add a certain je ne sais quois. :D

July 15, 2004, 07:55 PM
I have taken two blackies in North Florida, about that size. Neither needed a .50 AK. Both mine were taken while stalking them.

That is a pretty sow, congrats.

July 16, 2004, 10:46 AM
I'm with you on bait hunting. It's not really hunting.

Nice bear, though. Much better looking than the guy in the picture!


September 9, 2004, 08:25 AM
I'm going to Jocassee Gorge here in SC. Third week in October. I had this posted on THR too. We can't bait here so that's not an issue. I've heard that I need to find a really good area with acorns. I'm partnering with my long time Hog hunting partner. He will be with a 25-06 and I am trying to decide on mossy 500 or my remington 760 (30-06). Either way any stalking tips would be greatly appreciated from those in the know.

By the way PURTY BEAR!

Rich Lucibella
September 11, 2004, 09:16 AM
Sorry, but I've never stalked them, so I can't help there. I'd also be interested in any stalking tips of the species though.

Oh, I don't doubt that she'd have died quickly with any 30 cal rifle variation. I brought the .50 because.....well, because I could! :D I've never found it to kill anything "too" dead.

I've been told the episode aired on The Outdoor Channel last week. Have yet to see it though.

September 11, 2004, 07:34 PM
I caught the episode a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately I was also on the computer at the same time and almost missed your segment. Multitasking you know :rolleyes:

Did not realize it was you untill you started talking about SWAT mag with the host, that got my attention.

I have bigger blacks in my backyard, have to keep my trash under lock and key.