Spring Bear 2021

HodgemanAK

Beginner
Oct 23, 2020
192
68
We hit Kachemak Bay for spring bear this year. The weather has been pretty cold and spring was pretty late so the bears weren't as active as last year (which I had to sit out due to work).

The hunt plan was pretty simple, glass a large tidal flat and spot and stalk a bear as it popped out of the dense spruce forest into open to feed on the newly green grass and forbs. Last year's hunt saw 2 bears taken and a dozen more spotted with several very good opportunites.

This year, the grass wasn't quite yet green and the whole area had been under a foot of snow a week ago. We hunted the morning (4a to about 9a) and the evening (9pm until it go too dark to shot).

Day 3 was unusually hot and sunny with crystal clear skies. On the evening hunt at 1130p. a good sized bear popped out of the trees about 800 yards away and headed for a large grass patch in the center of the flat. The wind was perfectly blowing out to sea and we were dead downwind of the aft end of the bear...in short, perfect.

The tidal flat had several creeks and every time the bear fed off into one of these low lying areas, we'd stalk closer and closer. My partner had a range finder and would call off the range every time the bear appeared out of the creeks and we'd freeze and hit the deck since we were pretty much totally exposed in the wide open. Once the range went under 250 yards, I started to feel better and better.

The bear went out of sight into another creek for the last time and we turned 250 yards into 110. We he popped out of the creek, I had the rifle on a tripod set up for a kneeling shot. He turned perfectly quartering away and I eased the trigger back. A bright flash in the dim light and the impact sounded like someone thumping a melon. The bear spun and headed for the safety of the trees.

While I was pretty sure he was on a dead run, I fired a second time, but failed to connect on the moving bear. I tend to shoot bears until they're down since ferreting a wounded bear out of the thick forest un the dark isn't much fun.

Thankfully, he only made it 40 yards and started to run out of gas. He wobbled, stopped, and I sent a third round. The report was a sharp crack and the bear dropped immediately. From the first shot to the last shot was probably only 3 to 5 seconds.

The first shot hit him just behind the last rib and traversed through and exited behind the offside shoulder. The third shot hit him solidly in the 1st vertebrae, shattering the bone and severing the spinal cord, and exited. While he was in lean spring condition, he was large framed and squared 6'. But since he had a shoulder measurement of 75", I'm thinking he'd have went bigger in the fall with a lot more fat under his hide.

I'll likely get an age report back from ADFG, but he was an older bruiser with a mouth full of yellowed and broken teeth, a badly healed broken toe, and a face full of scars.

The remainder of the week, we only saw a couple of other bears but they were up high and apparently still hanging out at their den sites.

*Edited to add-
Back from the ADFG sealing station. Skull measurement is 17 and 11/16". Apparently missing book by a 1/4".
 

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JD338

Range Officer
Staff member
Nov 4, 2004
21,718
971
Congratulations on your bear. He definitely has a big frame. What rifle and load did you use?

JD338
 

DrMike

Ballistician
Nov 8, 2006
34,985
1,357
That is an excellent report that allowed us to make the stalk with you. Looks to be a fine bruin. Bear hunting can certainly get into your blood!
 

HodgemanAK

Beginner
Oct 23, 2020
192
68
JD338":g17mynei said:
Congratulations on your bear. He definitely has a big frame. What rifle and load did you use?

JD338

I used my Nosler M48 in 300WSM. I've got a hand load with 64gr of Hybrid 100V under a 180gr AccuBond that clocks in 2980 at the muzzle.
 

AFG270

Handloader
Aug 26, 2013
801
122
DrMike":33ba7uym said:
That is an excellent report that allowed us to make the stalk with you.
+1 Great report!

Congratulations on the fine bear.
 

Alderman

Handloader
Apr 5, 2014
1,099
47
Good job and excellent write up on the hunt. Made for a good read.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

HodgemanAK

Beginner
Oct 23, 2020
192
68
SJB358":28kqgvpu said:
What’s your favorite bear meal?

I like bear a bunch of ways. Breakfast sausage is tough to beat but I've had cured and smoked ham from a bear last year that was wonderful. I had to debone this one in the field so I passed on a cured ham.

This one is in the process of getting turned into corned bear loin, bratwursts, breakfast sausage and Italian links. Results pending!
 
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