Wondered why my son was taking so long to shoot when we had a nice chocolate phase black bear looking at us from 150 yards away. He had his .30-06 on a bipod, and had plenty of practice with it out at 300 yards, so this should have been easy... Turns out, he was waiting for the bear to turn sideways. Inadvertently, I'd talked to him about shot placement on the bear, only using examples of bears standing broadside.
In a similar situation, hunting bear, not stopping a charge, where would you want to put your rifle bullet, with the bear facing you?
Waiting for the bear to turn wasn't a bad choice as I've seen that shot turn into a hound hunt. If you take it-the angle can be deceiving, and I concentrate on the line of the backbone. This is where enough bullet that's capable of driving through the chest and having a bit left to demolish that spine comes into it's own. You can be a little high or low, but if you take out a bunch of spine your bear isn't going anywhere.
Agree - he waited, the bear turned to leave, finally growing suspicious of us blobs on the hillside I suppose... And the young man shot, putting a 165 gr Nosler through the lungs of the bear.
However... Even hit, the bear decided to leave the area and needed a little more shooting to stop as it started running downhill through patches of berry bushes. In the end, he did get one heck of a nice bear though.
I don't recall the spine even being visible. Head, chest, fore-legs only as I recall. Perhaps though.
Having seen the good-bad-and ugly of shots on bear here is my .02 opinion. Sounds like you were on a hillside (above) the bear. If I had to shoot a bear from an elevated position my first choice would be to place the bullet over the top of the head and drive it down through the spine entering just behind the head. If you shoot for below the chin you'll most likely drive it out the bottom guts of the bear and you've got a very narrow window there for error. Bottom line is I think your son did the right thing and waited for the bear to turn broadside. He should be complimented.
My sons first bear, at 12 was one walking down skid road , frontal, at about 175. The bear was walking with head down, and my son hit him there. DRTHe looked at me with a big surprised look. I got him Dad, that was his first game .