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Author Topic: Bear Hunt 2017  (Read 1004 times)

Offline diyhunter192

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Bear Hunt 2017
« on: July 19, 2017, 08:07:54 AM »
With August fast approaching, I thought I'd share some of our hunts past and see if anyone has some advice, comments or critiques.  Taking my son on our third bear hunt in WA.  It's an annual thing we started doing back in 2015.  We do quite a bit of out of state hunting since Texas is a lil' weak on big game and high mountains.  Western big game hunting is something I love and as he's gotten old enough to join, he's grown to love it too.  Always public land and always DIY...tough hunting and not always successful, but it's good stuff.  He bagged his first public land mulie last year on a week long hunt with myself and my brothers.  Tough week of hunting but he spotted a beautiful 3x5 (two points busted off) on the last morning...connected at 225 yards and finally felt that unique feeling of walking into the woods and harvesting a wild animal all on your own.  I'm rambling now...  Anyway, here's how our last two hunts went.

August 2015:
Hiked into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness with my son and brother.  Week long hunt hiking up some of the toughest ridges I've ever climbed.  Unfortunately, when we finally got the area I'd google scouted, the berries were gone and all we found was old, dry scat.  The area was incredibly gorgeous and we had a good time, despite no bears.  Taught my son to flyfish and he did pretty well providing us with some trout dinners.  We hunted hard, and spent days glassing, but to no avail.  When we finally wandered back out to the car, starving and exhausted, we definitely had a new appreciation for the ruggedness and beauty of the Cascades.  (as an aside, the reason we were starving is that I didn't consider the caloric needs of a growing teenager when planning the menus.  That poor kid was so hungry that every berry bush we went by that had any left on it would be picked clean by him in seconds.  I'll never forget waking up one morning and he turns to me and says, 'Father, I'm so hungry I'm having dreams about food at night."  LOL.)  Some members on here gave us great advice going into the hunt and despite the lack of success, I'm still appreciative.  Looking back after the hunt, we decided that one mistake we made was committing ourself to an area that took days to hike into.  By the time we got there and found lack of sign, there just wasn't enough time to move to another area.  It's tough scouting from out of state, but it comes with the territory. 

August 2016:
Decided to try being more mobile so we could chase berries and try to find more productive areas.  Driving logging roads was the tactic this time...never been a fan of driving to look for game, but I'm determined to get my son on a darn bear!  Hunted south of Seattle near Suntop.  Camping and driving and glassing...camping and driving and glassing....camping and driving and glassing and A BEAR!!!  Glassed up a bear working berries a couple miles away on the most goddawful mountainside you can imagine....steep as hell, granite slides and strips of timber...you know the deal if you've ever done this.  So we hiked/sprinted to that mountainside and were able to come up with about 300yds. of a gorgeous, jet black bruin.  300 yds in those conditions was too far so we backed out, hiked around the back side of the mountain and came up over a saddle that put us within 200 yds of him.  By the time we spotted him, however, he was standing at the edge of the woods...I'll never forget how as I got the glasses up to my eyes, I saw him look out over the valley and wander into the woods.  As luck would have it, our only hope, my predator call, had been left behind in the haste.  What a confidence booster, though!!!  We'd finally found a bear.  Up early the next morning, glassing that mountain...nothing.  The next morning, however, we spotted another bear in, though it was hard to believe possible, an even more goddawful spot than the first.  Hiked/sprinted back over the mountain but just couldn't find the patch that he'd been in.  The next, and last evening of the hunt, we glassed that mountain the entire day...nothing.  I started packing gear into the truck so we could head back towards SeaTac, and to encourage my son to hang in there and keep glassing, I dangled a carrot...."You spot a bear and I'll let you listen to whatever music you want on the car radio...forever".  Five minutes later, he yells to me in a quaking voice, "Bear, bear, bear!!!"  Sure enough, that kid had spotted that same bear in the hard to reach berry patch.  Again, sprinted over there and started looking for the berry patch among the cliffs and granite and stands of pine...I took the lead but he was convinced we need to go further down the mountain.   I disagreed but since it was our last chance, I decided to let him make the decisions...20 minutes later, he led us to the exact clearing...but no bear.  We settled in...I set up the tripod and he put the gun up and we played the waiting game.  It was so steep that even though he was next to me as we were crouching, his foot was even with my shoulder.  Fifteen minutes later, out steps a monster of a black bear...slightly brown tinge but a big black bear for sure.  I knelt over to hold the tripod steady and waited for the shot.  A few seconds laster it came, immediately followed by an anguished cry of 'I missed him!!!'.  I left my son so he could guide me to where the bear had been....I searched the area and he came over to help....no blood.  But damn there were dozens of torn up stumps and bear scat like I'ver never seen.  My son was devastated...almost enough to break my heart.  He felt like he'd let us both down on our last night of a long tough hunt.  I explained that this is how things go sometimes and after he told me of his point of view of the shot, I told him it was an almost impossible shot and he had nothing to feel bad about.  As he found the bear through the scope, it turned and looked directly at him and then immediately crouched down so all he could see was the head at 225yds.  He said, 'Father, that bear was looking right at me...I could see his teeth and his lips shaking as he breathed!  Then he started rocking back and forth and creeping backwards.  All I could see was the top half of his face and that's when I took the shot."  I give the kid credit for trying. 

So here we're headed back.  Unfortunately due to work constraints, we have to hunt the second week of August.  I had hoped to hunt that same mountainside where we saw the bears, but it doesn't open till August 15th.  Major bummer.  Another one of my brothers is coming with us this time, hoping to help us seal the deal.  Planning on trying the Olympic Peninsula this year.  Any comments or advice would be greatly appreciated.  Going to post some of the pics from past hunts below...haven't posted pics on here before but I'll give it a shot.  Hope ya'll enjoyed the stories.  Good hunting to all!


Online Eric M

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Re: Bear Hunt 2017
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2017, 08:17:05 AM »
Thanks for sharing. Good luck this year.

Offline fillthefreezer

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Re: Bear Hunt 2017
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2017, 09:12:49 AM »
ive drank whiskey on the rock hes casting from  :chuckle:

good luck david. this should be a good berry year

Offline addicted

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Re: Bear Hunt 2017
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2017, 05:28:53 PM »
 :tup:
"Right now, I am thinking that If my grandmother was here, she would be lecturing me about how there are poor people in Africa, that would just love to have a Ruger, I would just say "Great, granny, lets just ship all the Rugers to Africa!"


Loving life in the Great Northwest one day at a time.

It sounds like it's time to get a new gun.

Offline cdriver

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Re: Bear Hunt 2017
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2017, 05:52:55 PM »
Great stories, you are doing some quality hunting. The southern Olympics has lots of bears and lots of FS roads and land. Good luck and good hunting. And it opens next Tuesday! We called in a bear last week, going to track him a bit more seriously after next week.

Offline diyhunter192

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Re: Bear Hunt 2017
« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2017, 07:56:36 AM »
Thanks for the encouragement.  We're pretty pumped...it's something we look forward to all year.  Pressure's kinda mounting though...after this season I've got one more to try and git 'er done before he leaves the nest.