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Baywatch Alaska - 2001

DAY 4

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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 big black bear knew I was approaching. He would tolerate it for only so long.

 

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?"

I stalked as close as I could. The bear was agitated at my intrusion into his tide flat.

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.

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A Wensel Woodsman broadhead shot out of a Morrison Longbow did the trick, my black bear hunt was over. The bear would go nearly seven feet.

 

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.

Johnnie's Zodiac, along with a rising tide made moving the big bear an easier task.

 

We worked over the bear and headed back home. With nine days left I am now entirely focused on brown bears.

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