Yesterday morning I took my sister in law Andrea out bear hunting. Despite a little grumbling about meeting at my house at 04:00 to get going she was all about it. Andrea is a real hunter and not someone who is just along for the ride like I have seen so many people in the past. After our 1 ½ hour truck ride we unloaded the 4 wheelers and took a brisk (it was frosted and 34 degrees at 5600 feet) ride for about 45 minutes to our first glassing location. Right away we spotted a pretty good 5x6 bull elk with 7 cows. We saw some mule deer and a moose but not even a hint of a bear. We spent most of the morning glassing different spots with not sightings of bears or of bear activity. This was later in the year than I usually hunt these areas but the berry crop was late and I had hoped that this would be the ticket. Due to other obligations we had all planned to be back in town around noon unless we were successful so about 09:30 or so we started to head back and glass our way out. About half way back we stopped above a small mountain lake to glass the bowl surrounding it. We were barely stopped when I spotted a bear with the naked eye and got some glass on it. It was a chocolate brown bear of what appeared to be pretty good size. It was in a small opening and only a few feet in any direction from cover where we could lose it, we had to hustle. Andrea grabbed my binoculars and kept an eye on it. My dad grabbed the video camera and I grabbed all of the shooting gear. Dad got the camera up and running and I got my Canyon Rifle laid out for Andrea. Let me pause here long enough to tell you Andrea is an accomplished long range shooter having shot different 338 Edge’s out to 1000 yards and a little further. As Andrea was getting settled on the bear with the rifle I got out the Recon to get some data for the shot. The distance on the Vetronix was 776 yards, being in a fair bit of a hurry and know the conditions where we were I clicked in my best estimation of conditions for the shot. 4300 feet elevation, 45 degrees, clicked std pressure, no cosine and calculate for the shot, this quickly gave me 14.5 moa elevation and 2.75 moa for a 10 mph wind. If it seems like we were in a serious hurry that would be an understatement. We dialed up the 14.50 moa elevation, I looked at the wind, I could feel it blowing full value on the left side of my face 2-3 mph and we would be shooting across a little saddle. I knew the wind would be somewhere around double speed out in the open air so I had Andrea dial 1.5 moa left windage and settle in. The bear was now quartering to quite a bit so Andrea waited for my “Send It” call. The bear turned perfect broadside, lowered its head to eat, while I looked through the binoculars (hadn’t even had time to grab the spotting scope) I gave her the call and the rifle barked. I didn’t see the trace of course in the binos but the aftermath was quite clear. The 300 gr Berger Gen 2 bullet impacted the bear perfectly in the shoulder, I mean absolutely X-Ringed him. It was completely lights out and the bear rolled down the hill out of sight into some trees right below it. After the standard high 5s’ and congratulatory hug we set about the recovery process. We gathered and loaded gear and my dad stayed behind to spot us in. I carry an orange vest for the spotter to see and a couple of radios just for this. Dad walked us right in to the spot where the impact happened. A blind man could have followed this blood trail. There was blood spray on the impact side and serious blow out on the exit side. We followed the blood trail down the hill were our biggest concern was not following the trail but not getting covered with all of the blood that was everywhere. Just a short 100 feet down the hill we found the bear the complete pass through and subsequent damage from the 300 Berger was quite impressive to say the least.
After the normal photo secession, there was skinning and meat packing to be done. The bear was not as big as I had though initially given the 2 or 3 seconds that I had actually looked at it, but it was a mature average sized bear and an awesome shot on Andreas first bear.