At the beginning of May a couple buddies from high school and I decided we were going to go to Montana to try our hand at bear hunting. 3 days before we were going to leave they both backed out, but I managed to talk my cousin into going with me.
We left Salt Lake at 4 PM on a Thursday and headed towards NW Montana. The scenery was amazing during the parts of the drive that was still light enough to see. We ended up pulling into town at 4:30 AM. We pulled into a gas station to try and sleep for an hour, but I was way too excited. I was only an hour away from hunting bears for my first time!
The first morning we walked and drove old logging roads trying to look for sign and clear cuts to glass. We found zero sign and only one clear cut, everywhere else was so thick you couldn't see 5 ft through the trees. Around 10:30 we decided to head back to town, get some breakfast, and a hotel room as we both had been up for over 30 hours.
We slept until 4:00 pm and got up and made a game plan. We decided to head out of town in another direction and hope for the best. We were headed for an old logging road I had found on google earth that looked promising. On our way out of town it started raining. Little did we know it wouldn't stop for the next 4 days!
As we started up the logging road we were seeing quite a few deer, but still no bear sign. We were starting to get a little discouraged, but all the locals were telling us that there were a ton of bears around. I was just asking my cousin if he thought we should go somewhere else when we came around a corner and there was a bear right in the middle of the road!
I was able to tell it didn't have cubs, and it looked to be about 250 lbs. I jumped out and chambered a round in my 300 rum. He was feeding quartering away from us so I put the crosshairs just in front of his back left leg. I squeezed the trigger and he immediately turned and started biting at the wound. I chambered another round and hit him again.
He ran into the trees and disappeared. I grabbed my cousins pistol and began to head after him. I stopped to look for blood when my cousin walked up beside me. We were both looking when I hear my cousin yell. I had walked right past the bear and he was dead about 2 feet from my cousin.
We quickly took some pictures and got him skinned and quartered. Both bullets had passed through the vitals and he only ran about 20 feet. The taxidermist and the biologist said he was a 6 or 7 year old bear, and probably weighed 230-250 live weight. I couldn't be happier with him and I'm already looking forward to this hunt again next year.
We hunted 3 more days, and covered a lot of ground. We were starting to find more bear sign, but we were struggling to find the bears. On Sunday afternoon we were slowly walking down a logging road when my cousin thought he saw a bear about 200 yards up the road. It turned out to be a stump, but he saw movement to the left of the stump and there was a bear about the same size as mine.
We quickly stalked in to about 80 yards. He kept putting the gun up, but it was raining so hard he couldn't keep the scope clear. Just before the bear fed back into the thick stuff he squeezed off a shot! The bear took off and we went in search of blood. We searched for about an hour and found no indication he had hit the bear. That ended up being his only chance of the trip, but he also is eager for next year!