Wife's 2009 WA spring bear.

billythekidrock

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We have been hunting pretty hard for 6 weeks without a bear sighting and the sign is drying up. Bears had been feeding pretty hard on grass in a couple spots, but we could never run into them and now their diets are changing to trees and grubs.
Most of our hunts were from 5 pm until 9 pm after work and then from about 7 am till noon on the weekends. And to top it off, it is pretty tough hunting with a 7 year old by your side. The hunts mostly consisted of us hiking in and getting her set up, then my son and I would hike out and either scout or play by some water where it was cool. The last few times out she was hiking back by herself, leaving us to do our thing.
Thursday after work my back was going out and I did not feel like going anywhere but when she got home I could tell she wanted to go hunting and by 6:30 pm we were leaving the house.
By 7 pm she was hiking to her spot and Billy and I were on our own. After hiking and playing we were back at the trailhead by about 8:30 listening to music with the motor off and the windows part way down to have a breeze but yet keep the bugs out.
We were listening to the 80’s at 8 when I thought I heard a shot and quickly turned off the radio. Now most of you know how it goes on state land…tons of shooting. Beth was hunting in a draw between two valleys and both hillsides tend to have target shooters. Normally I don’t think much of the shots, but this night I hadn’t heard a single shot so it definitely had my attention.
We got out of the truck to listen for more shots and after hearing none; we grabbed the camera, a tarp and a packboard. This is when I realized that I was not as prepared as I would have liked. Only one headlamp, only one knife, only one packboard (my crappy/broke one) and my good (stocked) daybag was at home.
We waited for about 5 minutes before hiking about halfway back and we only waited there for a couple minutes before I could see her coming out. She told me she had shot at a small bear and felt it was a good hit but that it ran into the timber.
We went back to where she shot and she showed me where it came out and where it went back in. She also pointed to where she heard some “noises” after the shot. It seemed that the bear went in the direction of the trail that we needed to take to get around the swamp.
Since it was getting dark I had her and Billy hang back as to not foul up any sign that may be needed for tracking. I found a spot where the bear had run, but no blood. A little backtracking and doubling around did no good either. After a couple minutes it was too dark to see in the timber so I started to head out for a light. As I neared the area that the “noises” came from I looked back into the swamp grass and saw a black spot…actually a black and red spot.
I called Beth and Billy over and we took a couple pics, gutted it, rolled it up in the tarp and tied it to the packboard. Luckily we weren’t too far from the truck. It was nearly pitch black in the timber but I only fell once.
Definitely not the one we were after, but it is a bear and she did most of it on her own.
She could hear him feeding when he first came out at 8:20 and then he fed for about 5 minutes in a little dip on the right side of the swamp without giving her a broadside shot. Then he headed into the timber. She is not comfortable with moving shots so she let him go. She was bummed and thought she missed her chance.
About ten minutes later she could hear him feeding on grass on the left but just out of sight. At first she thought it was the muskrat that had been feeding right in front of her. She tried to get a look and there was the bear. He was in a low spot and partially blocked by brush so she watched him feed for about 3 minutes before he fully came into view.
He was going from left to right as he came up out of the dip on the left side of the swamp and she shot him right behind his right shoulder. He ran into the timber and angled to the left and then headed back into the edge of the swamp where we found him.

http://www.hunt101.com/data/500/medium/2webIMG_5836.jpg

http://www.hunt101.com/data/500/medium/webIMG_6073.jpg

I am very proud of her. She put a lot of time and energy into this hunt and at times had to practically drag me out of the house. She was willing to use both the ecall and a hand call as well as to sit quietly for hours. She also hiked into some real nasty spots and got bug bit pretty good. She passed up a couple shot opportunities on this bear that most of us would have taken, but she wanted only a broadside shot.
 

BelchFire

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That's awesome dedication and a GREAT writeup. KUDOS, Beth! :toast-yellow:
 

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