Well I finally got around to posting about my first black bear hunt! My brother is heading to Mexico on a mission for two years, so my brothers and stepdad and I thought it'd be fun to do an out of state hunt together. We ended up going to Star Valley, WY and hunting with 5k Outfitters. I had been planning for quite a while, so I was excited to have the chance to develop a bear load for my 270 WSM. I bought some 140 gr. Accubonds and started shooting. When I saw this group at 100 yards, I was pretty confident I had found the right recipe:
The bears in Star Valley have been a little slow coming out this year, but there were some pictures of good bears hitting the bait sites throughout the night. I only had a few days to hunt and met up with them half way through their hunt. It had been a tough couple of days for my brothers as the bears just weren't coming out. We were hunting some pretty awesome country:
I headed out my first morning to sit over a bait site. I really enjoy being able to hunt all day and hike around, but sitting over a bait site all day had to have been one of the hardest things I've done. The forest was fairly dense, so there wasn't much to look at all day beside the bait barrel 94 yards away:
We sat down at the site at 10:30 and I'll fast forward towards the end of the evening. We finally had a pine martin start messing around at the bait site. The guide I was with thought that was a good sign- they've had pics of him before and typically a bear would follow. After watching him for about 20 minutes, the pine martin took off. We both kept watching the barrel when I saw a bear's head move into my view! Game on and bring on the adrenaline! A big, cinnamon sow came into the site and was really enjoying the bait. After confirming no cubs were with her, I waited eagerly for a nice broadside shot. It seemed like forever (actually it was probably only 2 minutes) for her to turn broadside to me. My Tikka 270 WSM barked and we heard her crash only a few seconds later. I couldn't stop shaking for about 15 minutes after the shot. What a rush!
Without and cell service and with darkness approaching quickly, we hiked out of the canyon and got to the truck an hour later. I knew she was down for good and couldn't wait to retrieve her. The outfitters horses had other plans however (a gate in the pasture somehow was opened, so catching them was a nightmare), so I had to wait patiently until the morning to retrieve the bear.
Morning came and we saddled up quickly to ride into the bait site. We found the sow piled up only 30 yards from the bait site. The Accubond went right behind her shoulder and created massive shock. No wonder why she didn't make it too far. I was hoping I'd run into a big boar, but I couldn't be more happy. She had beautiful fur and was in great shape (roughly 3 or more inches of fat on her).
The game warden estimated her to be at least 4 years old and thought she could be upwards of 5 or 6 years. He collected a couple molars and said I'll receive an email once they determine her actual age.