Alaska Longbow Hunt: Record-Book Black Bear Footage

Two hours in the treestand, seeing nothing but squirrels, I picked up movement far off in the trees. My heart started racing and then … disappointment. Two adolescent grizzlies rolled into the baits, took a whiff, then trotted back off into the woods at the sound of a boat on the nearby river.

Not 20 minutes later movement caught my eye again. This time it was black.

I knew right away he was a big one. He came in slow, studying the surroundings, huffing the air, following the same path the grizzlies came down. He waddled over to the bait barrel, then walked right under my treestand.

He turned and moved back towards the baits. I leaned forward, to make a quartering away shot, but he heard my movement and stopped. He looked up at me, then sat down and stared. It felt like an hour went by, but it was probably just a few minutes. He turned to walk away and showed broadside. Then everything blurred. All I remember was staring right behind his shoulder. All I could see was the 3D archery target I’d put hundreds of arrows into over the last three months. Before I knew it, my Easton was buried in his ribcage.

Practice Makes Perfect
Back in February I decided I wanted to kill a bear with a bow. Hunting bears over bait doesn't present the most challenging rifle shots. I set a goal for this season to fill at least 2 of my 3 bear tags using a bow. Until this bear, I've never taken any kind of big game with a bow, even though I've been target shooting bows most of my life.

I began practicing with a 60 lb. maple long bow. I made the bow myself, a few years back, as an off season project and was itching to try it on something big. I shot the bow for at least an hour every day for the last three months. I even got a black bear 3D target from Rinehart, which ended up being a much bigger help than I anticipated.

After setting baits last week, I was practicing with my homemade bow and it snapped in half. One too many, I guess. It was pretty disappointing, and what with the Yukon freezing and me having to change hunting plans, this bear season wasn't looking very good. I had another commerical longbow, so I started practicing with that.

After checking the trail cams Friday night and seeing several good, my buddy Josh and I settled into our tree stands at about 7pm. He followed me with my Canon DSLR and I strapped on an HD Drift Cam. As you can see in the above video, I think it paid off.

When we walked up on the dead bear, I couldn’t believe it. It’s one of the biggest blacks I’ve ever killed. I was lucky to have such a chance. Pope & Young black bears need to make 18-inches, and I think there’s a very good chance this one will. I wager it's close to 19.

One down with the longbow. I hope to draw some blood with the compound next. Bear season is in full swing and I have two more tags and a huge smile on my face. What a great way to kick off Live Hunt 2011!