Dang, Shaun and I are beat! We had been checking a kill site for the last couple mornings. The first day we sneaked into 30 yards on a smaller bear and I passed on him. A bigger bear must have kicked him off because when we sneaked up on the site again this morning and there was a big bruiser guarding it. We were quietly discussing strategy about how to get into bowrange when he winded us. He was stomping, huffing, swinging his head and coming towards us. Things were getting real ugly real fast. We were caught and he was way too big to pass up. I said "Shaun, this ain't good, give me my rifle." As soon as he turned sideways I put a bullet behind his shoulder. He took off! Now we had to track him through some pretty damn thick growth. We moved so slow. We were pretty nervous. A bird that flitted away from us made me jump out of my boots. Finally, I spotted him down by a beaver damn and he was still breathing. WTH? As soon as I shot again he went ape freaking crazy! He let out a roar, bit at the bullet hole, growled and ran into the bog. I put another shot into him for insurance. We had to use a hoist and ropes to pull him out onto the bank. It took us over three hours to skin him. He was just too big to roll over and move around. Thanks to my awesome son for backing me up on three previous stalks stalks and for the one this morning.
Having a son is pretty handy. He waded into the bog and got a rope around the bear's neck. We had to use a winch to get him out and on to the bank.
It took us over three hours to skin him. We were taking our time trimming all the fat off to reduce the weight of the hide. My son packed the hide down to the lake (again, sons are handy) while I hiked back to the skiff and motored back to meet him. The hide alone weighted 138 pounds!
I flew into Kodiak Game and Fish and had him tagged and measured today. He squared 9'5" and his skull measure 25 3/8.
I'll have to say, it was hard to say goodbye to my son at the float plane dock. We've been hunting all over the west and Alaska together every year since he was 5 years old. He killed his first bear when he was 12. I love that guy.