Sunday August 31st
The morning started out colder then the last couple but we were up and out of camp by 5:30 am. We spread out and set up on an old cut that we saw a bear in the morning before. The cut is large but has a couple of ridges and draws that make it hard to see the whole area. We sat listening and glassing for an hour and with nothing but a doe moving, I started in with the hand call. After an hour of calling I sat and listened for about 30 minutes before heading back to the rig. Killbilly had just seen a monster bobcat and then he told me about a bear he saw at the far end of the cut heading our way. The bear never showed. It could be that I stopped calling too soon or that he found something more interesting.
So we got back to the rig and were trying to come up with a plan. It was coming up on 9 am and the sun had yet to break through the clouds. We decided to drive a ways and continue glassing. I spotted a fawn (antler less) as it was trying to mount its mother. I almost went for the camera but didn’t, then I watched as mamma licked its rear from darn near its belly all the way to the top of the tail. YUCK! Time to go elsewhere.
We drove to the end of a road in the middle of a year old cut and decide to glass it. It is all brown and completely barren. A creek runs down the middle with strips of large timber and the draws on the other side have water with some new growth. After a few minutes I had enough of this wasteland and we head out the way we came in. Partway out I thought “since we are here” and we stop to glass some more.
Killbilly heads to the left of a large slash pile and I head to the right side. As I am walking I am trying to look at the hill across the ravine and when I get near the edge I realize that below me is a little oasis in the bleakness of this unit. As I quickly swept the opening below me I immediately see a black spot in the far corner. As I focus I quickly wonder if it is a wallow with a little bit of water but then I realize it is a bear. I job back to the truck to grab my rifle and tell Killbilly that there is a bear down there. I load a couple rounds and start looking for a rest and then I realize that it seems to be sleeping. As I head back to the truck for a range finder Killbilly asks, “Where is it”. I said, “It is down there sleeping”. He says, “sleeping?” and I say, “Yea, sleeping, I think”.
It seems as if I have a lot of time so I range it and it was 219 yards at a pretty steep angle. I am still looking for a solid rest when Killbilly asks if I want to shoot off his shoulder. I decline and set up on a pecker pole that is angled perfectly. Killbilly asks if I want him to back me up. This is a question we don’t normally ask so it caught me off guard at first but I quickly agree. There is still no movement from the bear as I rest my sites on the spine between the shoulder blades and squeeze the trigger. I couldn’t see the vapor trail but I could hear the bullet as it sped on its way. Thwack! Still no movement from the bear. I chamber another round and squeeze off another. Boom!…… Thwack! Now I thought I saw the head shaking but nothing more. Is the bear hit or is he still groggy? I held a tad high and Boom! Killbilly says, “that was high, it kicked up dirt above it”. We tell each other that we saw some movement, but still don’t know if it is hit or not. I know that I have to go down there to check, but I didn’t really want to pack my rifle there and back. I mention that I am going to put one more in it and I am going to aim a hair low. Boom!……. Thwack! Still no significant movement from the bear. We were starting to wonder if the bear was already dead and only moving when hit.
I get a couple game bags tied to my packboard, grab Killbilly’s pistol and my camera and I take off over the side. I took the direct route as Killbilly looked for a suitable exit route. At about 50 yards I drew the pistol while looking for any signs of life, or should I say of recent life. As I got closer I could tell it wasn’t breathing and then I noticed two streaks of blood dripping down its shoulders. I took off my packboard and snapped a couple pictures as Killbilly made his way down.
We take a few more pictures (they don’t do it justice) but because we had our work cut out for us we didn’t take as many as I would have liked. The sun was burning off the clouds and we were out in the open.
Upon inspection we find two entrance holes from the first two shots. They were about two inches apart and their exit holes only an inch apart. The third went high and the fourth was a few inches lower and it exited the shoulder and ended up under the skin at the point of his lower jaw. The green arrow is where it entered and the red arrow is where I made a cut to back the slug out. It was a Winchester Super X .270 130 grain Power-Point.
He had about ¾ of an inch of fat on his rear and a thin layer up to his shoulders. His guts were covered in fat and he had been feeding on red huckleberries and salal berries.
The hide was in good shape with short guard hairs with no rubs but no under fur. But since I am after meat and not rugs we cut him up the back to access the backstraps and shoulder portions that were salvageable. We boned out the front end but left most of the hide down in the hole. After some pruning we got him separated and in the shade. Then we hit the creek to wash up and cool off. When we got back we loaded our packs and started the climb out.
The red line was our route out of the hole and it is basically the same route I went down.
Back at camp we butchered the bear and put it in gallon zip lock bags on ice. Killbilly and I both used his palm skinner he bought from Rainshadow. The knife was a tad small for me at first, but after a few minutes it was a comfortable fit.
It was a boar that we figure weighed about 200-225 lbs live. The front pads are just over 4.5 inches and he might have squared about 5.5 feet. The baculum is almost 6 ¼ inches long. The skull is not very big and might be 17 inches.