The rain continued all night but was only drizzling when we got up. We ran out to check the crab pots and while messing around on the canal, ran into a fisherman and his deckhand.
We motored up to the fishing vessel and out came this old salt in a red plaid shirt and suspenders. His name was Johnny K. and without doubt, he was the old man of the canal. On board was a woman named Lori. I thought she looked like a man but Johnnie called her a she, plus the feminine name was a dead giveaway. They told us where a brown bear was hanging out. A few clicks up the river at a place called "Tombstone." This was a good tip. The weather was too dangerous to risk it so we stored it for another day.
The tides allowed Johnnie and I to head to the hole for the afternoon hunt. It took us an hour before we spotted our first black bear. It was a small one, on the far bank. A short time later the same cinnamon bear (we had spotted a couple days ago) busted out of the jungle, turned, and ran back into the brush. Our wind was good so we figured another bear, possibly a brown bear, pushed it out. The afternoon wore on until a bear appeared next to Johnnie - fifty yards away. We discussed the bear and Johnnie said "He's a good one." The stalk was on.
The approach was tough - I had to creep up on him in the open. My Odds of pulling this off? "Zero" - I thought, but figured I'd give it a shot anyway. But as I closed the distance to 50 yards my attitude started to change. I slowly, and carefully knelt down and nocked an arrow.
The bear kept feeding as I moved ahead, now forty five yards. He caught my movement. I froze. He looked at me for a few seconds then went back to feeding. As his head went down, I moved again. At 35 yards the bear was on to me. He began acting aggressive. He turned his head and watched me through the corner of his eye. I moved to within 25 yards. The bear was becoming stressed. So was I. He snapped his toward me when I was twenty yards away. His hackles came up.
I wondered one thing - "was Johnnie holding my video camera or his 45-70?"
This was no longer a stalk. The bear was getting upset at my intrusion into his meadow. His head went down one more time and I took three steps closer, now 17 yards. His head was down feeding but he was looking right at me. I began my draw. I held at anchor for a second or two, then released. The arrow flew perfectly, hitting the bear just where I was looking. He reeled around, looked at me, then ran off through the meadow. He never made it to the trees. The arrow had double lunged him.
Both of us were on an adrenaline high! Johnnie and I figured the boar would go 400 pounds with a 19 inch skull. After the congratulations, Johnnie's comments to me were loud and clear - "don't try and pull that on a brown bear!" While I agreed, and certainly don't recommend stalking an agitated black bear to within 17 yards, it was one hell of an exciting stalk.
We worked over the bear and headed back home. With nine days left I am now entirely focused on brown bears.