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Thread: big 'ol bear for a first timer

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2018

    big 'ol bear for a first timer

    howdy! so this is the story of my first bear, which turned out to be a lot bigger than i could ever have expected.

    This is my third season hunting in BC. First season was a bust, last fall got myself a nice mulie, and now there's a bear on that list. I had a chance at a beauty cinnamon bear last fall after my deer, but didn't get it. Needless to say, I was really looking forward to the spring hunt to get out into the mountains again.

    I decided to focus on a pocket in region 2 i've spent a lot of time in now. Mostly because it was within striking distance for day trips, and that helps for getting out around work and the wife. I've come to not like the thick coastal forest and steep terrain that much, but i know there are critters around based on all the sign i kept seeing. It's been a grind for sure, but I was determined to make it happen and hunt it hard. Since April, I was going every weekend to hunt, scope out for sign and check the snow levels. Saw some goats on one trip in some low cliff bands, that was really cool!

    I missed the prime-time mid May because I came down with the china virus. I had a bad flu and it put me out for about 2 weeks, which meant the season was getting shorter and I only had a few chances left to get my bear. I went out last weekend and pushed deep into the bush following a large drainage. By the late afternoon hit a beaver pond/small marsh and was getting ready to turn around back to the truck, about 6km away at this point. I had dragged my father in law along because he just got his hunting license and wanted to see what it was all about. Anyway he went to water a tree, and I was staring across this marsh and a large bear comes lumbering into view.

    At this point I loose my composure and the "buck" fever (or bear fever in this case) sets in quickly. I get my binos on this bear and see small looking ears on the side of his head, big front shoulders, and not another bear in sight. Pretty sure it's a male and I whisper-yell at my hunting buddy to stay quiet. I move to a kneeling position, shoulder my rifle, and BOOM! take the shot. Unfortunately I wasn't very steady and hit the dirt right in front of him and he took off into the woods. My father in law, with his britches half down still, was quite surprised at the report of my rifle.

    We hustled around the edge of the water to where I maybe hit this big bear. There is no sign of blood anywhere. I do some searching and start radiating out from the potential impact point. No sign what so ever. The spot was easy to look through, as it was wedge shaped: there was a cliff/scree slope on one side and a river on the other. Another advantage was all of the snow bands in the trees, which had no sign of blood in them. We kept looking for the evening and determined I had a clean miss. Further to that I replay the shot and I was aiming quite low and just behind the front shoulder, like for a deer, and I know I flinched on the shot for sure. The bear didn't show any signs of impact and I know I screwed up my shot.

    On my hike back to the truck I was reflecting on why I really wanted to bear hunt, and the ethics of hunting. Potentially wounding an animal was gut churning, so I knew I would have to steady myself, be more patient, and take better shots.

    Onto this weekend, I decided to go back out to the pond and wait for the bear to show up again. Rainy morning, but clearing in the afternoon, i was hoping that would get the critters moving around. Parked the truck at 11am, and started hiking hard to get to the spot. I wasn't even 45 minutes into my hike when as I came around a fallen tree on the trail and big 'ol bear steps out in front of me. He was maybe 20 yards away, broadside, and we had a stare down.

    I casually removed my rifle from shoulder and slowly chambered a round, not breaking eye contact with this guy. I start assessing his size and stature, and yup, he's big. He turns away from me and walks up the road about 15 yards. Not running, but just walking confidently, and turns around again broadside. He lets out a big huff as we stare down again. I raise my rifle calmly and put the crosshairs more centered on him, behind the front leg. BOOM! and the bear drops where we has standing, flattened down to the ground. I chamber another round, keeping my eye on him. Then he gets up, which really surprised me, and starts running towards me full speed. At 25 yards, as I'm squaring up my shot he makes a sharp turn off the road and goes in the woods, slightly up hill. Right before he leaves the road I put another one into him, and it cripples his back legs. This bear starts dragging himself up the hill and I get a final shot broadside into him and he drops instantly. All in all, from first to last shot it was less than a minute, and the bear went about 30 yards total.

    Wow, i was overwhelmed. I give the bear some time and I have some lunch and then go to see.

    I get to work and soon realize this is a large bear. He size kept growing as I worked on him. First I used the inReach and told my wife, I figure it was 5'6"ish. Then I get to field dressing and I feel he's more like 6'. Then we get the cape all cleaned out, and he measures to 6'6" nose to tail and 7' across the front legs.

    Thankfully my father in law came out and helped me pack this guy to the truck. Only about 3km in the woods, but we took out about 250lbs of meat, hide, head, and fat. My guess is this bear was around 350lbs on his feet, but I have no idea, these things are hard to estimate. Already had 3" of fat on his rump in the thick parts, so really looking forward to making some bear grease!

    Plans for the rest of the bear:
    Keeping the backstrap for just eating
    Some roasts and stew packs
    Lots of sausage
    Will keep a piece to brine and make a ham
    Bear grease!
    Getting the hide tanned. Might get a rug made in the far future, but for now, just want it preserved and will enjoy it as a blanket.

    So the quick story is I walked for 45 minutes and a bear stepped in front of me. However, this still feels like a bigger compilation of all the time spent out hunting and learning to get to this point.

    Thanks for all the tips i've garnered from HBC over the years, and once I get the skull cleaned out next weekend I will post up in the bear derby!
    Last edited by upperleftcoaster; 06-07-2021 at 02:39 PM.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Central Interior of our beautiful british columbia.

    Re: big 'ol bear for a first timer

    Boy, is there some dandy bears being posted here lately!! Beauty bear man!! That's a tank!! Thanks for sharing! moosin
    "A good day hunting is mud on your truck or blood on your hands"

    “Some people go to church and think about hunting……………others go hunting and think about God!”

    It's actually called the 375 "ouch and ouch"!!

    "Not asking for any spots or anything like that............................................"

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2016

    Re: big 'ol bear for a first timer

    Quote Originally Posted by moosinaround View Post
    Boy, is there some dandy bears being posted here lately!! Beauty bear man!! That's a tank!! Thanks for sharing! moosin

    I just said the same thing to my hunting partner, all the new guys are posting bruins !
    everyone get these submissions into the derby, might be a tight competition after all...

    maybe I need to get my ass back out there ! Still have a tag after all.
    Proud member of the Second Nations community.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2010

    Re: big 'ol bear for a first timer

    Good story! So how did you feel when the bear started charging you after the 1st shot?? Hope you had a clean pair of shorts to change into. lol

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2009

    Re: big 'ol bear for a first timer

    congrats great looking bear looks like some silver or grey hairs mixed in there or just the lighting.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2020

    Re: big 'ol bear for a first timer

    A real dandy well done !!!

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Williams Lake, BC Canada

    Re: big 'ol bear for a first timer

    Hmm well done.
    Bears are usually paw to paw than length.your numbers make perfect sense to me.
    Congrads thanks for taking the time to share..
    Interested in skull size ? Some are massive others are meat heads

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Horsefly BC

    Re: big 'ol bear for a first timer

    The adventure never ends. Nice bear. Enjoyed the written adventure.
    Another big black bear walked through my yard. I was washing the mud off my boat. He lived.
    The challenge of retirement is how to spend time without spending money.
    The worst day slinging lead is still better than the best day working.
    Look around is there someone you can introduce to shooting because that’s the only way we will buck the anti gun trend sweeping Canada! "tigrr 2006"

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    Re: big 'ol bear for a first timer

    Congrats on an excellent bear. I too really enjoyed the write-up. Thanks for taking the time to post up the story and pics.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2009

    Re: big 'ol bear for a first timer

    That's is a dandy.
    Congrats are definitely in order!

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