Hunting > Big Game

Little Bear … Big Bear? (Page 2)

In Alberta good things come to those who wait­—and sometimes to those who don’t.

The bear was under the skinned beaver hanging from a pole, on all fours and broadside. I raised my rifle—and the bear stood up on his hind legs. He grabbed the beaver in his jaws and pulled, dropping back down on all fours, but with his back to me.

I set the rifle back on my knees, tried to slow my breathing and waited. Waited.

The bear lifted his head, ears cocked as if he’d heard something. He shifted around, scanning the trees, and eventually went back to the beaver.
But he’d made the mistake of turning broadside to me.

I put the Swarovski’s lighted, red reticle on his lungs, slipped off the safety, let out my breath and squeezed the trigger. The bear fell over backwards then immediately jumped up and ran in a crazed slalom, bouncing off a tree trunk and barreling through thick brush as I worked the bolt and chambered another round.

But he only sprinted 40 yards or so before he toppled over into downed branches and called out three times. It was suddenly eerie and calm, the bear’s death moan gently echoing through the forest. A chill went through my body head-to-toe, like a low-voltage shock.

I’d done it—a nice bear (he later measured out right at 6 feet), one shot and done. The sun broke free from the clouds, and I felt its warmth against my damp clothing. I sat back, sent off a text with my cell phone and enjoyed big, happy thoughts.

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