Alaska Adventure Journal



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May 2006 - Black Bear Hunting in Prince William Sound

Shanna's Turn

Click here for Shanna's Hunt Video  (Must have a high speed connection)

Shanna with her Prince William Sound Black Bear

Shanna with her first bear ever on her first ever hunt.


After John’s first bear hunt last summer, he made the comment that next year I should shoot one. I definitely was NOT interested. I could not imagine myself killing an animal. John mentioned it several more times throughout the fall & winter. I still resisted. However, somewhere along the way, I became a bit intrigued by the idea. I was still not thrilled by the thought of killing an animal, but I thought the whole experience would be a neat life-long story. A spring bear hunt was already planned, John's cousin Craig bought his airline ticket 6 months earlier to come up and bear hunt.  Besides Craig hunting, it was going to be me or John, but not both of us.  John quit trying to convince me to be the “shooter” before the planned hunt. As soon as he quit prodding, I became more interested! I knew I needed to do lots of target practicing. I wasn’t even sure if I could hit the target, much less the little bulls eye in the middle. In early May, I started target shooting. I was surprised that not only could I hit the target, but I was actually a pretty good shot! My biggest problem was trying not to flinch and close my eyes when firing. I have always hated loud noises so that was something I really had to work on. John suggested “dry firing” to practice being steady. It was a good idea and did seem to help. We target practiced on about 4 different days. I wanted to be proficient enough that I could kill the bear and not just wound it. That would really bother me to shoot something, wound it, and cause it to suffer. Four days prior to the hunt I still wasn’t positive that I wanted to be the shooter. I told John I wanted to target practice some more before making a final decision. By Thursday, May 18, I decided I “could do it” and we went to Fred Meyer to buy my hunting license.   John was so proud as we stood at the Service Desk counter making the license purchase. He said we needed a camera -- this was worthy of a picture.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Craig & I did more target practicing today (our hunting prep day). He seemed to be impressed with my shooting -- he should’ve been, it was every bit a good as his! Of course his excuse was that he “wasn’t used to shooting that close” (80 yards). He was used to shooting 200 yards. Yeah, right! I was feeling pretty confident with my shooting skills, but still feeling nervous about the killing part. And not only that, there’s a big difference in aiming at a bulls eye and a bear’s chest which doesn’t have a bulls eye. I asked John it he thought the bear would hold still while he went out and stapled on a target on its chest. That night, we watched several bear videos and I would have John pause some of the frames so I could show him where I would shoot it. I got pretty comfortable imagining a bulls eye on the bear.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

We left for PWS around 10:00AM. The weather was beautiful, as was the ride out. We had so many supplies on board (planning to stay a week, if necessary) that there wasn’t much room to move. We made it to the South Culross Cabin around 2:00PM. We spent quite a while hauling gear to the cabin. We were just finishing our unpacking, when Craig said, “Hey, somebody is walking up here.” John & I look out in amazement. Sure enough, here comes a trooper hiking in to the cabin. He was a friendly fella and we visited with him for a bit and asked lots of questions. He wanted to see our hunting licenses and fishing licenses. He jotted down our names in his book.  Craig’s license was on the boat, so we told the trooper we’d hike out with him (about ¼ mile) since we were anxious to start our evening hunt. When we got to our boat, there was a second trooper waiting at their runabout.  John asked them where they were based and they replied that they were off of the larger trooper vessel , an ex-crabbing vessel anchored at the south entrance to Culross Passage; man those guys get around.  They were based in Kodiak.

For the first evening hunt, we cruised the bays. We didn’t see any bears. We got back to the cabin around 11:45PM. We were all starved and tired. Because it was just past high tide, John was able to drive into the cove and drop us and the guns off closer to the cabin. Then he took the boat to the outside to secure it for the night.  We turned in around 1:30AM and the alarm started ringing at 5:30AM.


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