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“Ol’ Reliable”

Old 05-06-2008, 06:48 PM
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Default “Ol’ Reliable”


Last weekend I was fortunate enough to harvest my first black bear with my Remington 30-06. Before we get into that though, I need to go back a bit…

A couple weeks ago I posted a “shot or no shot” thread of an opportunity on a cinnamon bear I had thru my rifle scope at 372 yards. I was packing my new TC Encore Pro Hunter 300 Win Mag., but had never taken a shot out past 200 yards. I decided to let the bear go and head to the range to build my confidence at long range shooting. I found myself at the range last week having too much fun shooting at clay pigeons placed out at 300+ yards. For lack of a better word, I had a total “brain fart” and shot up all my shells. Living an hour from the nearest sporting goods store, I didn’t have time to get another box of shells. I placed the TC in its case and grabbed “Ol’ Reliable” off the shelf.

…Back to the bear hunt…

I drew a spring bear tag near Hells Canyon area in Idaho . It is a no bait/no dogs hunt covering large, steep, open country filled with sparse timber and brushy creek beds. Mule deer and Elk are in abundance along the canyon walls this time of year, as the snow line is just receding up the mountain sides. Most bears, as I was told, can be out grazing like an elk on the new grass and mountain onion patches. I spotted the bear below me doing just that on an open flat full of mountain onions. He was several hundred yards away at the bottom of a ridge line, but the wind was blowing perfectly up the canyon in my direction. A deer trail cut down the steep creek side allowed me an opportunity to slip unseen to a knoll 150 yards above the bear. I made the knoll in good time, but as I peeked over the top the bear was gone. Not knowing which way he had gone I sat down on the knoll and glassed the drainage.
An hour passed and still no movement. I couldn’t believe I lost the opportunity. I decided to head back up the deer path on my way back to my 4-wheeler parked about 1 ½ miles from my position. About ½ ways up the drainage I spotted the bear again, this time on the opposite side of creek. He had slipped under me thru the brushy creek bed. I could tell that he was well unaware of my position, and the wind was still in my favor. I lost sight of him many times as he went in and out of the thick brush.
I soon settled in on a spot straight away from his position of the opposite side. I could make out his dark body barely thru the thick brush. Sitting and waiting, I had time to take a good rest, range the clearing I was hoping to see him come thru at 150 yards, and wait him out.
What seemed like hours, but was only minutes, he slowly came into the opening. I leveled the crosshairs slightly behind his front shoulder and pulled the trigger. He dropped in his tracks, but his momentum drove him as he tumbled down the hillside. Crash! Crunch! Crash! until he settled on the bottom.
Feeling I hit him well, I proceeded towards him, just in time to hear him get up and crash down thru the creek. “You fool”, I thought “whatcha gonna do? Go in that brushy suckeron a wounded bear and shake his hand??”
I then spotted himmoving very slowly thru the thick brush not 50 yards above him. I knew he was hurt bad, but as with any animal I want to make it a quick kill. He soon appeared below me giving me a clear shot. The kill shot came quick and hard, and he topped over and into the creek with a splash.
It was all I could do to drag him a mere 5 ft out of the creek. As I went to work on him, it looked like the first shot tore thru the shoulder and into his lungs, with the second shot hitting his heart. Ol’ Reliable did the trick! I did as much as I could to prep him for the evening and soon found my way out of the drainage and back to my 4-wheeler by flashlight.
The next day I was up the drainage from a different road looking for a downhill pack out of about 2 miles. Two trips and several hours later I had him in the truck and headed home.
Sorry fellas, but all I can do is give you an estimate of around 250lbs as I had to bone him out on the spot. He ended up at5' 7" nose to tail with a head ~13" X 9".


On a side note: Hells Canyon is rattlesnake country and I about stepped on one on my second trip out with 80lbs of meat on my back. I found out that even when you are worn out and tired, it is amazing how fast a guy can move when adrenaline kicks in.

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Old 05-06-2008, 07:22 PM
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Default RE: “Ol’ Reliable”

he looks bigger than that.

Surprised you didn't make time to get more ammo. Where did you hunt? state/country?
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Old 05-06-2008, 07:31 PM
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ORIGINAL: salukipv1

he looks bigger than that.

Surprised you didn't make time to get more ammo. Where did you hunt? state/country?
I have plenty of 30-06 ammo, and the rifle isn't nicknamed "ol reliable" for nothing...

Hunted in Idaho on the Idaho/Oregon border near Hells Canyon Recreation area.
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Old 05-06-2008, 07:44 PM
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Default RE: “Ol’ Reliable”

Congrats again. Nice story.
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Old 05-06-2008, 09:47 PM
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Default RE: “Ol’ Reliable”

Great bear cousin, he's definately got a pumpkin head on him.. Dang you had to work hard to pack that big boy out on your back ... glad the Rattler didnt get ya... Congrats, he'll be a great addition to your man cave in the new home! Your having one good week and well deserved.
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Old 05-07-2008, 01:16 PM
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Default RE: “Ol’ Reliable”

Nice bear. Nothing much harder than spot and stalk bear hunting on public ground in Idaho, and snakey Hells Canyon to boot. People have never seen Big Canyon country until you stand at the edge of Hells and look across, some of the finger draws are bigger than whole counties back East. There really is no easy ground in the canyon, everything is verticle, and in most places over a mile in elevation difference between the river below and the mountains above. I use this equation to judge the trophy aspect of a game animal taken size+meat+effort+time=trophy with a bias towards effort. We backpacked into the Selway country last weekend, spotted one small bear at about 1000 yards, still have allot of season left so we just took his picture.

Congrats again,


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Old 05-08-2008, 09:52 PM
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Default RE: “Ol’ Reliable”

Nice bear Scott and excellent story to go along with it! Congratulations!
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Old 05-08-2008, 11:05 PM
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Default RE: “Ol’ Reliable”

Congrats on that bear...great story!
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Old 05-09-2008, 05:42 AM
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Default RE: “Ol’ Reliable”

Great hunt! Very nice bear! Really enjoyed your story! I give any one a lot of credit to put in the kind of effort you put in.I hate snakes,I'm sure I would have covered some ground quickly if I almost stepped on a rattle snake.
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Old 05-09-2008, 09:21 AM
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Default RE: “Ol’ Reliable”

ORIGINAL: millagerobert

Nice bear. Nothing much harder than spot and stalk bear hunting on public ground in Idaho, and snakey Hells Canyon to boot. People have never seen Big Canyon country until you stand at the edge of Hells and look across, some of the finger draws are bigger than whole counties back East. There really is no easy ground in the canyon, everything is verticle, and in most places over a mile in elevation difference between the river below and the mountains above. I use this equation to judge the trophy aspect of a game animal taken size+meat+effort+time=trophy with a bias towards effort. We backpacked into the Selway country last weekend, spotted one small bear at about 1000 yards, still have allot of season left so we just took his picture.

Congrats again,


millagerobert-

Thank you for that perspective. It is hard to explain to folk about the open terrain and harshness of this area without actually seeing it yourself. The hunt was hard but very rewarding. It was a sucker to pack him out, but all worth it. I'm getting the hide to the taxidermist today and having a rug made to help remember the hunt :-)
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