So we ended getting Ronny a bear, along with the one I got. We got his on our last night out, just before dark, so we were big time lucky. The third bear we spotted that night was a nice boar and everything played out perfectly. We were able to beach the skiff downwind of the bear and then Ronny stalked in to about 180 yards and made a great shot with the spickety new 7mm that I got from Carolina Custom Rifles. In all, we got on to a dozen bears, most of them single boars. As the spring progresses, a lot more sows with cubs will be moseying around as well. Here are some shots from the trip (Camera shots, mind you. Not rifle shots.)
Here’s a typical coastal southeast Alaska black bear spot. Notice the wide strip of grass flats on the edge of the tide line. Those usually grow well around the alluvium of stream mouths and that’s where you can find bears somewhat reliably. I should clarify that and say that you can find stationary bears there somewhat reliably. They’ll turn up just about anywhere, but they’ll moving if it’s not good food and they’re difficult to catch up to. About half the bears we saw were eating mussels (the same kind you get in restaurants.) The other half, mostly grass.
Here’s a closeup of the grass flat where I killed my boar. I watched him on and off in there for forty-five minutes before getting a good clear shot. By then I was only sixty yards away. All in all, this grass flat covers about as much ground as a football field. The stream gets a decent salmon run, and the bears feed here big time in the fall on fish carcasses.
The boar I killed. His meats in my freezer, his hides at a tanner, and his skull is waiting to get boiled and cleaned in my backyard.
Here I’m making the opening skinning cuts at the tideline next to my workshop at my shack. Once the hide is removed, I’ll salt it thoroughly to keep it from spoiling while it awaits the tannery. I’ve got a couple bear hides right now, so I’m not sure if I’ll keep this one or give it away.
Here’s my shack, which I own with two brothers, Matt and Danny, along with our buddy Dan Bogan. The place looks pretty inviting with a couple hundred pounds of bear (and bear meat) hanging from a skinning gambrel. We have a freezer in the wood storage room next to the shack, and we can run it off a generator to keep meat cool in hot weather. Works great.
Here’s me approaching Ronny’s downed bear a few minutes after he shot. Black bears are hardly dangerous, but you don’t want to be stupid when you approach them. Give them a poke with your barrel to make sure they’re good and dead. If you poke an eye and it doesn’t flinch or blink, he’s surely dead.
Ronny and his bear. We were up until 1:30 a.m. skinning and butchering meat; then back up at 4:00 a.m. to clean up the place and put the boat and motor up above tideline. It was a bruiser of a trip, but worth the effort. As soon as I get them from Ronny, I’ll post some more photos that include some hot clam diggin’ action on a low tide.