Bear Hunting can be Controversial, but this Sportsman Loves it
Persons consider I’m crazy even mates of mine have told me so. Strangers.
Household members. They all think I’ve lost my thoughts. When I get back residence to Oklahoma each and every summer season, I hear points like, “Are you nuts?” and “Man, you are crazy carrying out all that stuff.”
You’d consider it would have some thing to do with living up right here, and roughing it out in the Arctic, exactly where cold and darkness are a typical way of life. It is all stuff you are probably to see on Television, but it is not reality.
The point they genuinely can not comprehend is my infatuation with bears and
the reality that I like hunting them. It hasn’t often been that way, but more than the 20-plus years I’ve been right here it has turn into so – even far more this year – and it is not only me. My finest bud Lew has the fever as nicely. We just certainly like it!
Yeah, it is crazy and there’s genuinely no uncomplicated purpose why. I’ve attempted to clarify it, but can not. Not genuinely. I guess the passion came from a mixture of time and locations, and even specific situations that brought us to this significant addiction with bears.
IN THE OLD DAYS, spotting a grizzly was like seeing a ghost or some type of alien getting, specifically through the spring months, when looking the hills and snow-covered tundra was the order of the day. Fall was a small distinctive, as seeing a bear was a small far more widespread, specifically along the rivers and streams exactly where the fish came to die.
Often you’d see a bruin on a hill by way of binoculars, a brown spot on the orange and brown landscape. I recall how wonderful it was for me personally to see a bear. It was generally from far off in the distance, but nevertheless notable.
Issues began to alter numerous years ago. Our trips each and every fall for moose and caribou alternatively became bear sightseeing tours. Most of these sightings occurred in locations exactly where we hadn’t noticed bears prior to, which we believed at the time was incredibly cool.
These weekends have been epic: Lew and I boating north across the sound, navigating the river previous the sand bars, and producing our way by way of the canyons into what was when legendary nation for caribou and moose.
We stayed at “base camp” – a name we gave a spot in the middle of what 20 years ago was a game-wealthy atmosphere.
Base camp was nothing at all but an old abandoned park service cabin that had been left to rot more than the years. It sat deep in the willows appropriate off the river and was severely dilapidated. Its foundation had slipped, leaving it on an angle, and the roof leaked profusely. But it had 4 walls with a table and shelves constructed into the walls, plus a couple of wood slabs for bunks.
We fixed it up a bit, adding a wood-burning stove and a reclining chair
Lew had brought from residence. It wasn’t the Hilton, but it was comfy and worked for us.
We utilised that cabin for years when chasing bears up and down the riverbank. At the exact same time we have been often hunting for moose, and we did take a couple of caribou through these years, but the bears have been the principal occasion. Even although we under no circumstances took a single in that region, we did see far more and far more as time went by. It wasn’t till we began venturing a small additional upriver that we in fact figured points out. We haven’t stayed at base camp in some time.
The Eli River sits about an additional 40 miles upriver. If you have study my stuff not too long ago, then you know how fortunate, fortunate and persistent we’ve been hunting bears up there.
It is nearly turn into second nature to us. It is not “if” we get a single alternatively it has turned into far more like, “How several do you consider we’ll see and are you going to fill each of your tags, Lew?” Or, “Are you going to
save a single for spring?” I know that it is crazy, but honestly there are bears everywhere. This year was no distinctive.
IF YOU Study Final month’s edition of Alaska Sporting Journal, then you saw exactly where we went early and have been thriving on each fish and bears. Lew filled a single of his tags on the final evening, and even although it was a bit difficult obtaining back in the dark by way of some dense fog, it was an enjoyable trip. Our subsequent outing was even far more so.
We generally program our trips a month or so in advance, based on what we
have going on through that month. For the reason that climate dictates a lot of what we do, obtaining to boat to exactly where we want to go is not often straightforward. Based on path, any quantity of wind tends to make obtaining across the sound tough at occasions. Labor Day, even so, is often booked and is when you will locate us heading north for bears and hopefully to hook a couple of fish. This a single was no distinctive.
With a boat complete of gas and gear we produced it across to the mouth of the
Noatak River. It wasn’t lengthy prior to we pulled into camp, which was in a distinctive region this year, even newer than our trip a couple weeks prior to.
A gravel bar that sits larger than other folks and has a deep pool thick with fish out front would be our residence for the extended weekend. It was nearly dark – not to mention windy – and we currently had noticed two bears on the ride in, so we knew we have been in a prime place. The massive chums stirred far more than usual and we have been excited for what was to come.
We promptly got our tent up and had just sat down to a scrumptious MRE when
we saw the 1st bear show up close to camp. We sat, ate and watched. Then two far more. Just before the finish of the evening we had counted nine in all.
With all the activity going on, we knew the evening would be a lengthy a single for the each of us. Like new tenants, we had moved into somebody else’s home, took more than their table and disturbed their consuming arrangements.
We had bears coming in all evening. Lew sat and watch and I slept.
He had several encounters through the early-morning hours close to our tent. One particular of these was with a bear he described as the greatest he’d ever noticed. I saw the track the subsequent day and confirmed he was appropriate. There have been massive bears right here.
EARLY THE Subsequent MORNING we heard the all-also-familiar noise of splashing water outdoors. It wasn’t salmon it was a bear. I peeked out the tent window and could see the bruin feeding down the bank without having a care in the globe.
I meticulously slipped on my boots, grabbed the rifle and exited the tent. I was hoping to make a stalk without having getting heard. So far so fantastic as I inched my way as close as feasible. The .300 WSM was light in my hands and I promptly set up the Bog Pod for position.
The bear under no circumstances noticed and the recoil from the shot was under no circumstances felt. It was a clean shot – rapid and precise. The bear swirled and went into the willows, leaving a blood trail two feet wide.
You under no circumstances know what to count on when you adhere to a bear into locations exactly where you can not see, but it is all aspect of the course of action.
With two loaded rifles, Lew and I inched our way into the thick willow. There, laying camouflaged in the dirt, was my bear. And what a good bear he turned out to be!
It took a couple hours to get the hide off and each of us to carry it out. It was a massive bear, my greatest to date, the skull of comwhich we later measured as 24 9/16 inches. I was content, fortunate and thankful.
With two days left on the trip, Lew and I fished, ate like kings, told stories and had a good time burning the daylight hours.
If you do not know, bears look to like the river finest either early in the morning or late in the evening. They’re hungry and looking for fish in order to fatten up for the lengthy winter ahead. For us it is time to watch and wait, understanding it will not be lengthy prior to points get significant.
There are sometimes occasions when you will catch a bear out through the day, but it is fairly uncommon. Also, if you invest sufficient time exactly where fish congregate, you will notice that the salmon are far more active through morning and evening than other occasions.
It may well just be me, but through specific periods the fish like to – or have a tendency to be – far more active in the water, splashing, jumping, and so forth. I’m not a biologist, but I’ve noticed it and the bears certainly are drawn to this meals supply through these occasions.
The subsequent morning Lew woke me once more. Out of grog he told me there was a bear outdoors. It was Lew’s turn and in addition to, I was fully content with the prior day’s final results. Lew exited the tent and was on the move, when I was nevertheless attempting to get my footwear on.
Lastly, I got out and watch as Lew moved down river and into position. Lew’s 7mm is loud, specifically with a muzzle brake attached to the finish of it. I knew improved than to watch without having covering my ears, but I was nearly also late. I heard the boom and watched as the bear went down. Lew produced a good shot that wasn’t straightforward an additional bear down and an additional moose saved.
IT WAS A Excellent trip. We hunted the final evening hoping to fill my final tag, but I consider the bears had ultimately figured us out and our gig was up. Possibly they decided to locate a new spot to reside. I type of doubt this. If we have been to head up there tomorrow, I bet they would be there waiting for us.
The ride residence wasn’t entertaining. We knew it would be rough with wind gusts coming at us at 30 mph, but we produced it residence protected and sound, soaked and content. AmSJ
HATERS GONNA HATE
When I returned from this trip, I got my 1st true taste of haters, death threats and pure jealousy. It wasn’t just from anti-hunters, but Alaskans also – and some of these have been even hunters. Getting in the public eye as a writer and appearing on radio, Television and different varieties of social media, which includes my personal pages, I count on some naysayers and have had it in the previous.
But under no circumstances as substantially as I did when I posted a pic of my bear on a couple Alaskan pages. Some of it was completed in jest, when other commenters have been downright imply and comprehensive jerks. That does not bother me – it genuinely does not. I count on it on specific pages and in specific forums, but to have other hunters say points that they have no clue about does bother me.
It goes to show that any one can pull out their telephone and punch a keypad, typing what they want, but when we start out attacking each and every other as hunters for what ever purpose, then we’re carrying out nothing at all but making division.
I know bear hunting is not for everyone, but I like it. Just for the reason that you do not or do not like how we pose in a photo or agree with our conservation approaches, or consider that bears are not the moose’s difficulty and hunters are, then retain that to oneself or go to fish and game and complain there.
We have to have to start out getting good, complimenting hunters on good hunts and cherishing their accomplishment. If we do this, it will generate a improved globe for all of us. PA
Editor’s note: Paul Atkins is an outside writer and author from Kotzebue, Alaska. He has written hundreds of articles on massive game hunting and fishing all through North America and Africa, plus surviving in the Arctic. Paul is a month-to-month contributor to Alaska Sporting Journal.