At least we were going to have a rare sunny day—our next to last one—to find and get on a bear. Meanwhile Greg and company would resume the search of Stephen’s bear and leave no stone unturned.
Throughout the morning Craig and I “sat” sentry on the hot corner of a big tidal flat where numerous bears had been seen during our hunt. Apparently the corner was crossed by a short stretch of a busy travel corridor, but since the traffic was exposed to view only briefly, our best bet was to sit tight and stay ready for any fleeting opportunity. Under the bright, warm sun I could have easily nodded off, but the prospect of a bear right there, and that this could well be my last chance, kept me going. But then the wind shifted and was blowing hard up our backside. Like all bears, big browns possess near-infallible noses, and there was no way one was going to step out right into our scent-stream.
Plan A was busted, so we got into the skiff and Craig piloted it out to the mouth of the bay where we had previously spotted a few bears in open slides high up on the surrounding hillsides. If we found a good candidate today we’d have to climb for it, and while that would be tough for me, I was ready.
But, we barely started glassing when here came Greg, roaring up in his skiff, beckoning for us to follow. When we finally caught him he said, “There’s a good bear on the beach right by the boat. Hurry. Run if you have to. Run ‘til you puke, I don’t care!” (Yes, he’s wired!)
We didn’t really run, but Craig and I hustled smartly, then duck-walked, then belly-crawled through the low brush. And the bear was right there. For once, one of the big bruins had stayed put.
From a prone position at 175 yards it was not a difficult shooting scenario, even if I was still gasping from the exertion. But the bear was laying down now, his big wide head covering up the vitals. “Wait,” Craig told me.
And that allowed me to get my breath, and when the chocolate-brown beast began to rise I pinned the Trijicon scope’s glowing green single-post reticle on his chest and fired. At that, the bruin hunched and stood flat-footed until I fired again, and then it turned and scooted up a steep bank into the timber. We cautiously approached, and quickly spotted our quarry, swaying but otherwise unmoving. One more shot ended the drama.
Just like that I had my bear, and it turned out that our partners had also found Stephen’s bear earlier that afternoon, piled up some 200 yards from where he shot it.
There is no accounting for the ebb and flow of hunting luck like that, and furthermore I can’t adequately express how elated I felt as we began to skin out my bear in the warm afternoon sunshine.
(Left photo left to right) Craig Hill, John Zent, Greg Jennen. (Right photo) Stephen Bindon.