Alaska Adventure Journal



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Prince William Sound Black Bear Hunt

June 2005

Warning:  This is a hunting story.  If hunting is not your thing, don't continue.  

If a blood trail excites you, carry on!!

We set up our black bear hunting camp in a remote cove in Prince William Sound.  Tarps were used as rain flys for addtional protection.

You've heard the saying, "third time is a charm," well, this was my third attempt at a spring black bear hunt for 2005.  I got the time off work at the last minute.  My wife and hunting partner, Shanna, had work obligations; this was the first time ever she had to miss a trip on the boat.  About 5 days prior to departure, I called my friend Greg, described the hunt and asked him if he was interested.  He said, "I'm IN!"  He flew up from Texas and the hunt began.  
It was the first week of June when we launched the boat from the port of Whittier to hunt in the Chugach National Forest.  We had such a load we had to drop the kicker motor to get the boat on step.  We had 35 gallons of gas in the on board tank in the floor of the boat and an extra 22 gallons in cans.  On the first hunt of the year, we spent hours motoring around at top cruise speed to get to a recommended hot spot for hunting; more time was spent traveling than cruising slow and glassing for bears.  The second trip camp was set up too far away from the area we planned to hunt.  However, this time we set camp up right in the center of the area where we wanted to look for bears.  

We set up camp at an abandoned cache of shrimp pots situated with a small cove on one side and open water on the other.  When the wind came up, we could park the boat on the cove side.  We adopted the bears' schedule and woke up just prior to first light.  We cruised the shorelines until noon, then returned to camp to sleep and eat a meal until it was time to start cruising the shorelines again around 5:30 PM.  By 11:00 we were back in camp for the night.  This schedule proved to be very productive.


Tide changes as large as 15 feet are common in Prince William Sound.

Success came on the third day.  We had just finished stretching our legs by hiking up a hill on the lookout for bears and had returned to the boat.  It was several hours into the evening hunt, right at 7:00 PM.  We were cruising away from the beach when I looked back toward the shore line we had just left.  That's when I saw him, a beautiful, jet black, hefty looking bear walking along a brush line.  I immediately turned the boat around and headed back toward the shore.  I pulled the boat behind the same hill we had just climbed, for cover.  Quietly, I stalked my way up toward the top of the gravel slope as a light mist was falling.  There he was.... grazing on grass in the middle of a large field, in the open!  He had no close cover.  I laid down at the top of the gravel slope with my rifle barrel sticking thru the grass line.  I carefully extended my bipod legs and looked thru my scope.  The crosshairs were rock steady on the bear's chest.  I clicked the safety off and as I did the bear immediately looked up and toward me.  He then went back to grazing.  I carefully squeezed the trigger and never even noticed the blast of my Ruger M77 30-06 firing the 180 gr. nosler bullet.  The bear was immediately on his back with his paws in the air.  I gave him one more shot and he never moved again.  I was PUMPED!  This was my first successful hunt ever!  For anything!  We hiked the 140 yards to my bear and determined he had expired.  Neither one of us had ever skinned a bear before, BUT.... we had watched the video over and over, so I went to work.  In the process, I  poked my little finger with my knife and just barely cut the skin on my index finger, so shallow it didn't hardly bleed.  These cuts would come back to haunt me.  My bear was a beautiful, unrubbed  boar that measured at just over 6 feet.  

John's bear was a boar who squared out at approximately six feet even.

NEXT Greg Gets His Bear CLICK HERE to continue


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