A hunter from Sedgwick, Maine found himself a bonus buck last weekend when he shot a hefty black bear that was working over a whitetail carcass. He didn’t realize his luck until he approached the downed bear, which he killed with one shot from his .308.
Sam Allen had been deer hunting on Nov. 4 when he kicked up a buck in the area. He took a shot but missed, which he confirmed after two hours of searching for a blood trail, he tells Outdoor Life. He left the area hoping the buck was still nearby and decided to return the following Saturday to hunt. As he worked down the same steep draw, he saw a large black bear.
“I was trying to go the same route I went before, so I was stopping and listening and seeing if that deer would mess up again,” Allen says. “I came around a corner and saw black, and I wasn’t sure if it was a bear or not. Then I saw it moving, and I knew it wasn’t a cub. I love bear meat, and I’d take that over a deer any day.”
Allen shouldered his .308 Thompson and fired a 150-grain bullet. The bear dropped where it stood.
“I was surprised, because that was the first bear I’ve ever shot that just dropped in his tracks,” Allen says. “Usually they run off, but I don’t know if this one was so heavy that he just was done, or if I hit something good enough to end him right there.”
Allen waited a few minutes before approaching the boar. He messaged his friend Tyler and said he’d need help packing it out. When Allen eventually walked down to the bear, he realized it had been pawing at a whitetail carcass. Looking closer, he saw it wasn’t just a young buck with a few spindly tines. The big 8-point had solid main beams that palmated into thick tips on the ends.
Allen wondered if it might have been the buck he shot at the week prior, but after further investigation he concluded it wasn’t. After hiking back out to collect some gear and a four-wheeler, Allen and three friends began the long extraction process. Allen wanted to haul the monstrous bear carcass out intact, but his friends assured him that such a move wasn’t physically possible. They would have to dress the bear out and forfeit getting a live weight.
Allen’s one razor blade on his replaceable knife snapped in half when he tried to cut into the hide, and none of the other guys brought another knife. One friend had a boxcutter, which Allen used to dress out the bear. The foursome hauled the bear up the hill on a sled, which required multiple breaks. Eventually, they got it to a four-wheeler, which Allen had hauled to the area on a 12-foot trailer hooked up to his Toyota Prius.
The dressed black bear tipped the scale at 332 pounds. It’s not unheard of for adult boars to reach 400-plus pounds, and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife says bears in the state can even reach 600 pounds. (Average-sized black bears are closer to 200 to 300 pounds.) A 350-pound black bear dresses out at roughly 210 pounds and produces 140-plus pounds of gut pile, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. That means Allen’s bear likely weighed upwards of 480 pounds before they dressed it.
Once Allen and his friends had extracted and weighed the black bear, Allen went back down to the scene with a game warden to investigate the deer kill. He concluded the carcass had been there for less than a week and didn’t have any bullet holes, which alleviated Allen’s stress that he might have killed that buck after all. The warden gave him a carcass tag and Allen took only the head out. He says he’s taking it to Cassida’s Taxidermy to get it mounted with the bear in a design that replicates the scene he stumbled upon.
“I’m going to have the bear on top of a dirt pile with the deer head sticking out, but the bear’s going to be standing up on top of it with one paw up and his mouth open, as if he’s guarding the pile from something,” Allen says. “The guy is going to enter it in competitions.”
Going forward, Allen suspects he’ll never have another hunting experience quite like this one.
“I can try to beat this, but it’ll be hard,” he says. He emphasizes how much it means to work hard for a harvest, and that finding the bear felt more like luck than anything else. “But it was pretty cool. It was really cool to have my friends there.”