Alaska Adventure Journal



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Prince William Sound Black Bear Hunt

June 2005


On the way back to camp that evening, after the sun had set, we saw something in the water ahead of us.  I thought it was a log at first, but then I saw a wake coming from it.  As we approached, I saw that it was a bear swimming across a 5 mile section of open water.  We watched from a distance and considered setting up for him on the shore.  It was just too late and too dark.  He came ashore at a steep cliff and scooted straight up with rocks crashing down behind him, well aware of our presence.

Greg's bear measured 5 1/2 feet from its nose to it's tail.  Standard size for a PWS black bear we were told.

The next day it was time to recommit myself to the hunt.  I got mine, but for the hunt to be a complete success, Greg needed his bear too.  We started out once again early in the morning and saw no bears.  For our evening ride, we went back to the same bays we had cruised over and over.  Greg glassed a particular cove and was moving on to check a new location.  I then reglassed the area he had just looked at and saw exactly what we were looking for.  A bear was emerging from the woods for a snack of fresh green grass.  The bear looked right at us and watched as we slowly motored past.  We went past a rocky point until we couldn't see the bear anymore and it couldn't see us either.  I guessed correctly that this bear was hungry and was not going to disappear if it thought we were gone.  Upon passing the point I motored straight for the shore.  Greg left the boat with his rifle and crawled to a point in the rocks where he laid down in the wet seaweed.  He then froze, didn't point his rifle toward the bear, didn't move!!  Come to find out later the bear was looking straight at him and was sniffing the wind for our scent.  The wind in this location was favoring the bear as it blew toward the beach.   Quickly, Greg put his rifle into position and fired.  He immediately stood up and fired again as the bear was fleeing the beach.  The bear was gone; it disappeared into the woods.  We decided to go back to our camp and wait an hour.  We spent lots of time discussing how sure he was that he had made contact.  Greg thought he saw a limp, but I wasn't as sure.  We returned to the beach.  Greg took the lead with his semi-automatic pistol drawn.  I had my .44 magnum holstered and my bear spray ready to go.  We immediately saw blood on the beach, lots of blood,  I was ecstatic, (remember this is still part of my first ever successful hunt). 

Greg followed the blood trail into the woods as I marked the way with surveyor's tape.  Only about 50 ft into the dense brush, Greg spotted his bear.  He quickly determined it was expired and we moved it down to the beach.  I was good at skinning now and took over that job.  Greg took care of his specialty which was quartering out the bear.  It was after June 1, so there was no requirement to keep any of the meat, but we both wanted to try bear steaks.  Greg's bear was a sow that measured right and 5 1/2 feet.

We used snow to cool our meat.  We buried the hides in this avalanche to preserve them until we were ready to leave.

We ran out of cooler space, so we buried Greg's bearskin in an old avalanche.  Because of the available snow, we didn't have to flesh the hides or salt them.


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