Alaska Adventure Journal



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May 2006 - Black Bear Hunting in Prince William Sound

Shanna's Turn


None of us were crazy about the idea of going into the now darkening woods to look for a wounded, pissed off bear. When we got on the beach, we couldn’t find a drop of blood anywhere! Now I was really discouraged and feeling down on myself! Craig was in the lead with John & the 12 gauge close behind. I was disappointedly bringing up the rear with my can of bear spray (maybe I could hit him with that!) Craig was barely at the edge of the woods and said, “There he is! He’s laying right there!” Now things were starting to get exciting again! Woo-Hoo! I HAD hit him! But, had I killed him? Craig thought he looked like he was sitting up. John cautiously eased closer to him. He was considering putting a 12 gauge slug into him, because he thought it was still alive, also. But he held off and eased in further. He poked the bear with the barrel of the gun and reported that it was dead. WHAT???? REALLY??? I ACTUALLY MADE A GOOD SHOT AND NOT ONLY HIT HIM, BUT I KILLED HIM WITH ONE SHOT!!!! Oh, my god, I could not believe it! I was flabbergasted! I had my hand up to my mouth laughing and repeating, “Oh my god! “ I was awfully proud of myself! John was so excited he came over and kissed me! We were trying to see where I hit him, because it seemed strange we didn’t see any blood. We looked at the bear trying to figure out where he was hit. Craig found the bullet hole in his chest.  John could not believe it -- I had made an excellent shot. John said, “Shanna, perfect shot! Oh my god, you shot him right thru the heart!” I was so relieved that I had killed him and not just wounded him. Craig was thoroughly impressed and hugged me, too! We confirmed that it was a boar. It was a really nice sized bear. Craig thought it was bigger than his. We were losing light fast and were now in the woods, so we needed to hurry with the photos. They all had to be taken with the flash. After the photo session, we discussed what we should do with him. The tide was coming in and the beach that he had been eating on earlier was now underwater. It was decided that we would load the bear onto the boat and take him back to camp to skin and quarter. Since it was almost high tide, we would be able to unload him fairly close to the cabin. We rolled him onto the tarp and the 3 of us lifted him to the bow of the boat. He was heavy and it took 2 tries to get him onboard. He landed perfectly on the bow and looked like he was just a bear going for a boat ride….looking out at the world. Before we left the beach, we loaded about 6 (5 gallon) buckets full of snow on the back deck of the boat. Craig had our coolers in use with his bear and we needed some place to chill my bear’s hide. So the idea was to put it in a burlap bag and cover it in snow on the boat deck until we rearranged things tomorrow. We got back to camp around 11:30PM. We struggled to lift the bear off the boat and put him on the rock beach  which would become the butchering place. We went in the cabin and heated some breakfast tacos and enjoyed a beer before setting to the long task ahead.

Shanna holding up her Black Bears Paw.


We began the processing around midnight and finally finished around 5:00AM. Craig stayed out for an hour or so, but he was so tired from not getting a nap that afternoon, that he finally gave in to exhaustion and went inside for a “nap”. He told us to wake him when we needed help with the quarters, but we let him sleep. Since Craig went in, that left me to help with the processing. I wasn’t supposed to have to do that, but it really wasn’t too bad and I couldn’t see leaving John out there to do all that work alone! He seemed very grateful for my help and company over those long hours. It was broad daylight again by the time we finished at 5:00AM. Since all the coolers were in use, I made a little dam and we submerged the quarter in the little deep water pond. It worked great for cooling, but when we took them out of the water to put them in the game bags, they all had tiny pieces of rock & gravel attached. And, it was stuck on so well, that it didn’t come off easily or completely! We got the quarters into their bags and took them to the woodshed to hang while we slept.

The temperature was so warm that we had to get them submerged in the cold water again as soon as we woke at 10:30AM. We put the quarters into 2 large, heavy duty plastic contractor bags and again submerged them in the cold creek. We had the cabin rented until Saturday, but I really wanted to go home and process the meat. Craig wanted to go down to Homer to fish for Halibut and John wanted to stay in PWS. John gave in and we began preparations to leave. John & Craig left the cabin around 11:45 to pull the shrimp pots.

Bear meat submerged in a creek for cooling

Bear meat quarters cooling in a snow melt creek.


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