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Shot or no shot?

Old 04-16-2008, 11:49 PM
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Default Shot or no shot?

Scenario:
Evening with 20 minutes of shooting light available
Bear at 372 yards.
Slight breeze left to right
TC Pro Hunter w/300 Win Mag & Burris Feildview II scope.

My Options:
1. Take the shot.
2. Try to close the distance for a better shot.
3. Try a predator call to see if the bear will close the distance for me.
4. Take a couple pictures and leave the bear to his onion patch.

I took option 4. What would you do?

I am a veteran elk and deer hunter, but novice bear hunter. I drew out a good bear hunt unit in Idaho near where I live. The spring season for this hunt lasts until the end of May. I spotted this bear across a canyon from about 800 yards out. I closed the distance on my side of a steep canyon to within 370+ yards with the bear on the other side.

I thought of option 1, but I recently purchased the TC last week, and sighted it in at 100 yards. I know that the rifle and cartridge is very capable of making the long shot, but I have never shot at anything over 200 yards. It was not a confidant shot for me. If I made a bad shot, then I’d be looking for a wounded bear with a flashlight.

I thought of option 2, but I would have to scale down a steep decline of about 100 yards, then up another steep incline the same distance to get a better shot. With the fading light I didn’t feel I had the time.

I gave option 3 a try. All the bear did was look up at me, then sit down and go back to chowing on mountain onions. (I probably didn’t sound all that good on the call anyways).

I am by no means a good judge of a bears size, but have been told to look at the ears. This fella seemed to have big ears, so I figured he was a smaller bear (opinions?). I have a lot of season left and this is the first bear I’ve seen. I decided to snap a couple pictures, back out, and leave this guy alone for the evening.

It was still a great experience


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Old 04-16-2008, 11:50 PM
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Old 04-16-2008, 11:51 PM
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Old 04-17-2008, 12:04 AM
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Default RE: Shot or no shot?

shoot him, or come back tomorrow, 20 mins to close the distance, sounds like then you'll be closer but in the dark!

and calling to him to bring him in etc...doesn't sound very plausible, so I say shoot or come back tomorrow and try to get on him again, all what you feel confident with, but you put that .300 win mag through his front shoulder and into those vitals, I don't think he's going far, and you can probably put another round or two in him, come back in the am and retrieve him.

Course its up to you, though IMO only 2 of your 4 options were actually any I'd consider.
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Old 04-17-2008, 12:41 AM
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Default RE: Shot or no shot?

If you had more practice with the gun then I'd say shoot without hesitation. But since you haven't shot it much and aren't comfortable with that shot I'd say you did the right thing. You can go back up and find the bear some other evening.
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Old 04-17-2008, 01:28 AM
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Default RE: Shot or no shot?

ORIGINAL: wyotimberghost

If you had more practice with the gun then I'd say shoot without hesitation. But since you haven't shot it much and aren't comfortable with that shot I'd say you did the right thing. You can go back up and find the bear some other evening.
Agreed under the situation you did the right thing by shooting him with the camera and waiting for another day with the rifle. IMHO no hunter has anybusiness shooting at an animal at distances they haven'tpracticed first. You done good!!

As far as the other options I much prefer slipping away when the odds are not to great then blowing game off by forcing something. The last day sure what do you have to lose but with other days in your pocket, tip your hat to the quarry andhope for the best in thecoming days. My experience with bear calling is the closer the better, nearing 400 yards i'd say chances of getting him to close near 300 yards in less then 20mins is pretty slim. Judging by the pics and what you didthe option for you closing the distance in the same timeframewas also pretty slim.

Best of Luck getting your bear!!

(PS I guessI should have read yourentire post as i see youmentioned the reasoning for why you chose option D...sorry!! As far as this bear the pics aren't really good to tell a lot of detail. However he is chocolate which is always nice. Interms of the ears if they look pointed or more straight up it indicates a immature bear (smaller skull). Mickey ears we call them! If rounded, to the side and not as noticable its a good bear. If the ears look like a german sheppard it's more then likely a Sow. Big bears have big arse's (look like to flour sacks off each hip), big fronts &belly low to the ground (can't see a lot of daylight underneath). A bear that looks like a furry barrel is a shooter!!! When standing front on boars look pigeon toed, big boarsthis trait iseven more noticable. )


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Old 04-17-2008, 06:06 AM
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Default RE: Shot or no shot?

I don't hunt bear, but know a couple guys who guide bear hunts in AK.

I think you made a good choice. I've heard too many stories about poorly hit bears and the "high adventure" that followed trying to track them down - usually resulting in finding a dead bear, but also finding some not-so-dead and now a little irritated, too.
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Old 04-17-2008, 07:56 AM
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Default RE: Shot or no shot?

You made the right call. No reason to take a stupid shot. If you aren't confident with the shot you won't make the shot. Fot ranges like that you have to be familiar and confident the the gun you are shooting.
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Old 04-17-2008, 10:12 AM
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Default RE: Shot or no shot?

Sorry about the low quality of the pictures. I was at the limits of my zoom lens with no tripod or solid rest.
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Old 04-17-2008, 11:48 AM
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Default RE: Shot or no shot?

Sounds like you did the right thing. A person should never take a shot they don't feel comfortable with. It also looks like the bear was above you, it is really easy to over shoot an uphill animal at those ranges. The .300 is capable of such a shot, but a person should have plenty of practice at those ranges. I go out a few times of year with my .300 and a couple of friends to practice shooting out to 600 yards. I usually bring 50 or so rounds and we find rocks at various distances and angles to shoot at. It is a real eye opener shooting at long ranges in real world conditions. Wind can be a real factor past a few hundred yards. I have taken many animals out to 450 with one shot kills, but past that, it is hard to guarantee a vital hit. I also use a nice Burris Euro Diamond scope, with the Ballistic Plex recticle, which helps, since you have actual aiming points, instead of aiming at thin air. If that bear was focused on eating, chances are he won't be to far away the next day. Looking at ears is a good way to judge a bears size, as they are one of the hardest animals to judge at a distance, I have seen many a dissapointed hunter shoot a bear only to walk up to it and find its a 50 pounder. Her is a pic of a small but pretty blond bear, also a little blurry due to zoom.

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