The nice thing about brown bear hunting on the Alaska Peninsula is that the bears don’t really get moving until late in the evening. After making it back to camp with my bear hide and skull just after midnight, I was more than happy to be able to sleep in till noon the next day.
Surprisingly, the weather seemed to be holding for the second day in a row, so I spent the early afternoon beginning the overwhelming task of fleshing my bear hide. However with two uncut tags left, we once again headed out to glass later in the afternoon.
We headed back down toward where I shot my bear, as the wind was now blowing out of the northwest, making the other side of camp impossible to hunt. Once again, it didn’t take long for us to spot a real pretty blond bear milling around and digging on the side of a shale slope coming up off of the flat above the beach. After glassing it from a couple miles away, we decided to move in for a closer look. Gary was looking for a bear with a quality hide, and it appeared that this one would be hard to beat.
We eased our way around the tidal lagoons, and as we got closer, we could tell that this was indeed an immaculate bear. We figured it was probably a sow, but weren’t 100-percent sure. It’s legal to take sows without cubs here, so whether sow or boar, Gary was willing to take it, as it was a good, mature bear. After an hour or two, the bear decided to crawl up on a rock pile and bed down. It seemed like it hadn’t been out of hibernation very long, as many of the other bears we were seeing were constantly roaming, but this one was staying put. With the wind in our favor, we quickly closed the distance to 300 yards at the bottom of the shale slide, but the bear wasn’t giving us a good shot.
After watching for an hour or two, the daylight was quickly fading and snow began to fall. The three of us have a pretty aggressive hunting style, so after weighing our options we decided to set Gary up in a shooting position where we were, while Steve and I worked to the upwind side of the bear, hopefully spooking it in Gary’s direction. The plan worked like a charm. I couldn’t believe how big the bear trail was as I followed it up the shale to less than 100 yards from the sleeping bruin. The bear, which turned out to be a sow, had her head down and curled up to her body, but in an instant she was up and running right towards Gary. I tried to holler and stop her, and just as she began to let off the gas, Gary put a round right through her lungs and the rest was history.
The bear was even prettier than we had thought. We admired its gorgeous blond coat as we snapped pictures in the rapidly deteriorating light. Although not a 10-foot monster, this 8-foot beauty would be a trophy for anybody. Gary was a happy camper, despite the 2-mile walk back to camp in the pitch black. The snow was blowing so hard, we could actually see better with our headlamps turned off! Now with two of our three bears down, this was certainly was shaping up to be an epic hunt.