Alaska Adventure Journal



1 2 3 4 5 6  > Next Page

May 2006 - Black Bear Hunting in Prince William Sound

Shanna's Turn


Craig still had several hours’ work to do on his bear (splitting the lips, turning the ears, etc.) But, John insisted that we get some sleep for our evening hunt. We slept just over an hour and it was time to get up and get moving! John asked which area I wanted to hunt for the evening, what felt good.  I told him the particular bays and coves I wanted to start with and then I wanted to wind up back watching the grassy patch at the mouth of a creek that we had scouted on foot.  I just had a good feeling about that spot!  John started us right out at the grassy spot I had chosen first so we could find a good spot to shoot from. He suggested a hike over the hill that looked down on the grassy spot from across the creek. The three of us hiked up and over the hill and found a perfect little “sniper spot” for me. Craig broke branches that obstructed my view while John returned to the boat for the handheld GPS so we could mark our location. After 15 minutes or so, we were happy with the changes we’d made and headed back to the boat to cruise & glass. We cruised for hours and didn’t see any bears! Craig said he was interested in going back to his kill sight to see if anything had eaten the leftovers. I was interested, too. I wondered if we might even come upon another bear there. We cruised to the end of his bay but we couldn’t see the gut pile because it was hidden behind a log. We turned around and headed for my chosen grassy spot. 

Craig's Bear

Shanna with her first Black Bear

We quietly anchored the boat. Got all our equipment and headed up the hill. I was wearing the camera bag around my waist, John carried the gun and Craig had his range finders. As soon as we crested the hill, John turned around and quietly said, “There’s a bear!” My first thought was, “Oh shit! I’m really going to have to kill it!” My second thought was, “I hope I can!” I turned to Craig and excitedly whispered, “Bear, bear! There’s a bear!” We quietly moved into the sniper spot, a small flat area on the side of the hill only big enough for me.  

I sat on the ground and began to set up my shot. I quickly realized that I didn’t have a good shot from my spot and I told John to move, that I needed to get where he was. So, we switched positions. I knew I’d have to fire from the sitting position, so I extended the bipod legs and found the bear thru the scope. I watched him for a few seconds and became extremely anxious and nervous. John told me I could take the shot, that the bear was turned perfectly. He whispered to “Make it good, Honey.” This only heightened my anxiety level. I really didn’t want to disappoint him (or myself!). I had the crosshairs on the bear’s side and began shaking uncontrollably. I whispered to John that I was shaking. He told me to, “Stop, stop, don’t shoot.” He wanted me to calm down before I fired. I don’t know what happened, but a surreal calm came over me. I once again put the crosshairs on the bear’s right side, just above & behind his armpit. I was steady as a rock as I slowly squeezed the trigger until the gun fired. Then……the bear took off running like he was riding on a rocket! I immediately reloaded (as John had drilled into my head over & over), but I could no longer see the bear. I NEVER saw him after I fired. He made about 3 leaps and was into the woods. Crap! NOT what I had hoped for! I wanted him to drop dead right where he’d been standing. Then I wanted to jump up and down for joy and be congratulated on a great shot by my very proud husband and his envious cousin. NOPE! I whispered loudly, “Where’d he go?” John reported that he’d run up the hill and into the woods. He wanted to know if I thought I’d hit the bear. “Yes,” I told him, “I thought I hit him.” He and Craig both said they did not hear the telltale “thump” of a shell smashing into an animal. I was truly disappointed. I thought to myself, “This is not for me. I’m not going to keep shooting at bears and missing!” John had been videoing me while I was preparing to make the shot, then he put the camera on the bear just before I fired. From our sniper position, we replayed the video to see if the bear looked hit. John thought he was running like he hadn’t been wounded. More depression for me! Craig used his range finders to see how far the shot was. It was 138 yards. I had been practicing from only 80 yards. Craig was a bit more optimistic and said, “Well, if she feels sure she made a good shot……let’s get in the boat and go over there to look for him. We felt sure we’d find a good blood trail from the beach we could follow.

Shanna's Black Bear riding in the front of our boat.

Shanna's Bear goes for a boat ride back to the cabin.


Last Page  < 1 2 3 4 5 6  > Next Page