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Thread: First Bear!!!!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    559

    First Bear!!!!

    Finally! Bear Down!

    Let’s see if I can keep this reasonably short. I don’t post a ton but I pay attention and I really appreciate all of the bear advice offered. I have had my cabin for 3 years now and am slowly starting to get things dialed in.

    Last week, after a couple years of poking around, I finally saw a bear with a rifle in my hand. He was an absolute brute. Light was fading, he was moving fast, and I couldn’t get a clear shot. I have to say, having a monster heading across the swamp 40 yards and closing fast makes you know you’re alive. It also makes you wonder if you’re still going to be alive in 30 seconds! I told my buddy; ‘Deer hunting is exciting! Bear hunting is terrifying!’

    I poked around where I saw the monster the day after I saw him and then again the past couple of days (I was gone for a week in the interim). It’s a nice spot but it’s pretty small so not a lot of room for sitting and glassing or walking around. What I have found is that there’s a huge whitetail hanging out in this little valley – so I know where I’m going to post up come deer season. It’s a smaller valley with really thick woods on one side bordered by a swamp and easy access to a wide-open field. Perfect whitetail habitat….

    A week ago, I couldn’t get up my local FSR because there was too much snow. This week I made it up there but there’s not much green. I walked around a fair bit, but this area has never struck me as being particularly ‘beary’ even though I’ve seen sign. And it’s not really open enough for ‘sit and glass’ type hunting.

    I have another spot that I knew would be good. It’s crown land but not easily accessed. I shot a deer back there last fall and it just looked like perfect bear habitat. I’ve seen several bears adjacent to this spot – on private ranch land. They won’t let me hunt the ranch – I’ve asked. But this cut block is not accessible by vehicle because you would need to cross the ranch and they have it locked up. You can only hike in and out. It’s not really a far hike but you have to be committed to pack a bear out mile…

    I meandered my way to the block. It’s a nice valley and I took my time through the mature forest adjacent. I saw a lot of bear crap but that was it. After 3 miles or so of hoping to see something near the accessible roads – I wandered back into my little valley.

    I quietly eased into the edge of the clearing and sat down for a water break. Sure enough 60 seconds later I see ‘Black and Moving’!!! It’s at 100 yards up the incline and I’m not really in a good position. But It’s moving the right direction so I start to put in my ear plugs and think about how I might be able to get a shot. I quickly realize that it’s the sow I’ve seen for 3 years now. She’s had 3 cubs with her since last spring. They were bouncing around like teenagers, so I sat and watched them until they moved out of sight. That was really cool. And even cooler because she’s coming OUT of the valley I’m heading into. I know that there’s no chance that I’ll see a bear and have to wonder if it’s her.

    I made my way about way up the incline. It’s REALLY dry and this area is filled with dead fall and busted up leftovers from lumbering. I move slow, stop, and take a break. I sit down and glass across the valley. Nothing. The valley bends off to the left and has some nooks and crannies so I continue on with my plan of getting up to the decommissioned FSR that goes through the valley. It’s pretty exposed so I go up quietly.

    I’ve seen multiple bears in close proximity before but as I’m hiking up I’m wondering if that sow would let other bears nearby…. Maybe seeing her means that she’s chased everyone else away?

    When I finally get to the road, I stop for a second to catch my breath and look around. I’m only 10 yards or so from the crest and I want to make sure that I come up to the crest slowly so I can see down into the valley without being obvious.

    I take 10 steps and holy shit! I can see the back of a bear –20 yards away!!! It has its head down eating grass, the wind is on my nose, and it has no idea that I’m there.

    I squat down out of sight, put in my ear plugs, and bring up the rifle. I’m confident that I can hit a bear at 25 yards off hand, but a rest is always better, so I backtrack a couple yards into a depression and scoot across the road to a perfect stump. I get settled and wait for the bear to move to me. I can see it’s back and could take the shot but it’s feeding towards me and if I wait a bit I won’t have to move and potentially spook – I’m certain I’ll have a much better shot. No rush.

    I can see that it’s a smaller bear. And being 60 yards or so from the woods, no cubs. I can’t tell if it’s male or female, but I can tell that it looks healthy and I’d prefer to take a younger, smaller bear anyway. Perfect! I keep watching and it doesn’t look like it’s worried about anything – no cubs.

    She keeps moving forward over the crest and makes a turn towards her right. In 5 yards I won’t have a shot anymore as there is a pile of brush. It’s now or never.

    Quick squeeze. Bang. I see dust on the other side of her and a ‘goofy’ look on her face. There’s no way I missed. I see a puff of dust on the other side of the brush pile as she disappears. Completely gone. Shit. I have never shot a bear before, but I’ve shot a lot of other animals. I’ve never seen an animal completely disappear before when I hit them right.

    I take out the ear plugs and drop the backpack where she was standing when I shot.

    I’m a little worried. Maybe I shot too far back and now I have to tramp around the woods looking for a wounded bear? Shit. Not a drop of blood anywhere. I keep the rifle in hand and grab some water. It’s hot and I’m worried I may have lost a bear. Damn.

    No blood as I circle where it was standing when I took the shot. I moved to where I saw the dust after the shot. Nothing. I start walking towards the woods. Damn. I don’t want to scour the woods for a wounded bear. Damn. I know I hit it. Damn.

    15-20 yards towards the woods there she is in a hole. Completely piled up. Not a twitch. Not going anywhere. My first bear. She’s gorgeous. A sow. But, definitely not lactating –no cubs. Damn tough animal. Double lung shot – 3” hole on the off side – both lungs shredded. Chest cavity filled with blood. And she still made it 20 yards.

    I field dress her and drag back to the FSR. It’s warm so I peel off some hide. Then I headed back to the truck and got the dolly. It was a PITA getting her out. But, I finally got my bear!

    I skinned her and she’s hanging on my porch. I’ll butcher tomorrow and start canning! I think some roasts and the rest canned. I don't have a grinder but if there's a bunch left I'll freeze in smaller chunks and grind it later.

    I won’t be winning any prizes for her size. But, I’m so stoked. I got exactly what I wanted.

    Where do I go to have the hide made into a rug? My son is really keen on getting a bear skin rug… 

    Will post pix tomorrow.

    Last edited by jlirot; 05-27-2021 at 02:29 PM.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2020
    Posts
    280

    Re: First Bear!!!!

    Good stuff congratulations! Enjoy the yummy eats!

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Kamloops
    Posts
    1,843

    Re: First Bear!!!!

    Atta boy !

    glad so many people are getting their first this season..
    make sure you get your entry into the derby !

    let’s see if I can quit being picky and maybe get out and connect today... day 6 of living in their turf and sucking at hunting hahah
    Proud member of the Second Nations community.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Squamish
    Posts
    5,853

    Re: First Bear!!!!

    Great news! Congratulations.

    These stories are really getting me fired up for hunting season.
    Is Justin Competent, or just incompetent?

  6. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    mission
    Posts
    2,149

    Re: First Bear!!!!

    Its cool when you are so close to a bear and shoot it. Gets the adrenaline pumping.
    Congradulations on your first of many bears to come.
    Make sure you go to a good taxidermist and check out the taxidermists work first. Its alot of money to throw away if you are not happy with the outcome of your bear rug.
    Nothing is like climbing a mountain, and then feeling like you are at the top of the world.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Port Alberni
    Posts
    8,755

    Thumbs up Re: First Bear!!!!

    Congrats!
    You never forget the first!
    And methinks you will be fondly recalling those moments over some rather fine grits for the foreseeable future!

    Cheers,
    Nog
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVNNhzkJ-UU&feature=related

    Egotistical, Self Centered, Son of a Bitch Killer that Doesn't Play Well With Others.

    Guess he got to Know me

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Pitt Meadows
    Posts
    443

    Re: First Bear!!!!

    Thanks for sharing a great story. Bear meat is awesome. You will remember your first. Congrats on a great harvest
    CWTF Member
    BCWF Member

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Langley
    Posts
    5,209

    Re: First Bear!!!!

    Awesome write up.

    I can relate to many of those feelings. It's strange how animals can act like they aren't hit, sometimes just keep walking, other times bolt.

    And those ones that do make it to cover... makes you second guess yourself and wonder if it's gonna be a bad day.

    15-30 yards seems about the norm if they dont "bang flop" and double lung there is often no blood found except what you see around the mouth where it's piled up.

    Congrats on the bear and thank you for taking the time to write it up. Looking forward to the pics!

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    6,025

    Re: First Bear!!!!

    Congrats!....thanks for the write up.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    region 9
    Posts
    9,005

    Re: First Bear!!!!

    That's great congrats m look forward to the pics...

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