Re: 2011 Arizona Bear
Here's the story:
Had the itch to go bear hunting earlier this year in August after seeing bears during past deer hunts, but didn't have a tag in my pocket. Hiked a lot of hills in the heat and glassed till my eyes hurt for multiple days but had no luck. I decided to wait till the end of September when another unit opened up that I was very familiar with and have seen bears in the past. Friday, September 30th, I was perched up on a high point glassing a large bowl. After a couple of hours of watching a raghorn bull chasing cows and pigs meandering below me, I decided to move to a different location. That afternoon, I hiked a steep hillside to glass a large hillside choked with prickly pears and pinyon trees. Just as I started glassing, a big thunderstorm blew into the area. In pouring rain and lightning strikes I kept glassing, but made me nervous sitting next to a juniper tree that was charred from a lighting strike from earlier this year. With an hour before dark and completely soaked, I noticed a black blob moving out of a cut. I put the binos up and sure enough it was bear. The bear was moving around out of the cut on top of a juniper flat. He decided to bed down in the middle of the open at a base of a juniper tree 700 yards from where I was glassing. With time running out and gusting crosswind, I scrambled down the hill to get setup for a closer shot. When I was about 400 yards away, I got the gun ready, but the bear got up and sneaked behind some junipers. After waiting for a few minutes, without sight of the bear, I moved back up the hill and eventually glassed him up again in the cut. I watched him till dark and was ready to get back there the next morning. The next morning, my friends Cody and Shelton came out to help glass. Right at first light, I glassed up the bear on top of a pinyon tree over a 1000 yards away. It was pretty neat to watch this bear climb up pinyon trees eating pine nuts. He was shaking the trees just like those tree shaker machines. We watched the bear for a couple of hours and eventually he made his way down the hillside and drop into a cut. The bear never came back out and we suspected he was bedded up for the day. We made a game plan to come back that afternoon. After waiting all midday, we were back up on our glassing hill and just as I was getting the tripod out, Shelton whispered saying he's got the bear. Sure enough, the bear was up another tree just outside of the cut. We ranged the bear at 650 yards but there was a bad crosswind, blowing over 30 miles an hour, and didn't feel comfortable with the shot. I noticed a bench below me I could get down to and be directly across from the bear. I moved down there and was able to get 250 yards away. I got the edge set up and waited for the bear to give me a clear shot. We watched the bear climb up yet another tree and he was over 20 feet up. The bear crawled out on a far limb grabbing pine cones and we noticed the limb was bending pretty bad. All of a sudden, the limb snapped and the bear fell out of the tree and landed on his back. It took a minute for the bear to regain his composure, it looked like he was concussed. This was pretty amusing to watch. The bear shook it off and took a few steps and I touched one off. The 300 grain Berger rolled him. We were all pretty excited that we got a bear on the ground. It was definitely a rewarding hunt and one I will never forget.
P.S. Those 300 grain Bergers are ruthless on animals.
"Big Bulls, Big Bucks, Mountain Roads, and Pickup Trucks"