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Bear Summer

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Started with a Barren Ground Grizzly hunt back in May in the Canadian NWT's near Inuvik and Tuk.  In June I went to SE Alaska to hunt Coastal Black Bear.  In mid-August I went back to Canada; but this time Nunavut, to Southampton Island and Baker Lake to hunt Polar Bear, Walrus, Caribou and Muskox.  

First set of photo's from the 1st hunt...temperatures never got above ~25 degrees and hovered ~10 degrees the whole time.  Winds came and went; but in general it didn't warm up enough for the bears to come out during the 10 hunting days.  Scenery is just like it says; barren ground.  About half the hunting is done over the ocean; in the snowmobile photo, the flat plane in the distance is the Arctic Ocean.    In the "midnight sun" photo, we were setting on a large lake when I took that at about 1:30 AM.   One of the other photos where the ground is more churned up is a Reindeer herd.  You might need to zoom to see them.  We covered about 90 miles/day on snowmobiles and depending on where we were went we returned to a small cabin or back into the hotel in Inuvik.  







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You get around japantiger!  Africa, Arctic Circle ...  Love the pix & keep 'em coming.  You remind me of that old cartoon, Commander McBragg.  By any chance, are you a pipe smoker?   



El comandante McBragg "Commander McBragg" - INTRO (Serie Tv) (1963) - YouTube

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Alaska hunt in June was on Kuiu Island; flew into Juneau, overnighted before catching a small float plane ~150 miles South.  From there, the plan was to hunt off the main boat each day in small skiff's along the coast and up the various rivers that empty into the ocean.  The goal was to find bears after coming out of winter dens.  Hunting started at noonish each day and would go until about 11:00 pm as the light fades.  Hunting in waders and wading boots; rain every day.  Mild temps, mostly in the 40's...winds blew pretty steady and that coupled with the ice cold water meant heavier layers.   




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Bears were prevalent on the island.  In that second video, spent about 1.5 hours getting into the position where I could take a shot.  Immature males and females.  Backed away and got back on the boat.

We were 1600 yds away when the guide spotted these guys. He was in shadows up an inlet you see in the photos ..I didn't see him until we were about 1250 yds...we cruised up until we got within about 200 yds of the Inlet...bear still about 500 yds away...the wind was all wrong as we couldn't just pull up around the point and stalk in. So we were going to have to go up the inlet, get past them and stalk back down into the wind.

Cut the outboard off and let the current and wind push us into the inlet. The wind was a steady 10mph...nice and noisy and the water still a little choppy in the wide part of the inlet. I laid in the floor of the skiff out of site. The guide sat in the floor just peeking above the gunwhale steering... occasionally she'd kick on the trolling motor, but generally she let the wind and current push us silently toward the bend. This put us within about 200 yds of them as we mostly drifted past the bears on the far side of the inlet as they grazed. ..either unaware or uncaring about what was floating nearby.

From the time we entered the inlet it took about 45 minutes to drift (South to North) far enough past them to be out of site. ( It was about 6:00 pm as we entered the inlet). The inlet narrowed substantially, only about 30 yds wide, as it took a big bend to the left (west) and we trolled into the bank, anchored the boat about 200 yds up this narrowed stream. The inlet went on another 500 yds before bending right again to the N and out of site. We loaded up and began the stalk into the wind back toward the South, the direction we had come.

We we are about 500 yds as the crow flies from where the bear had been. We stalked the back side of the big bend point and came out on the bank of the main inlet...we couldn't see them as they were still about 200 yds away and around a couple of small points. The guide moved left back up the shoreline to get a view so we didn't just blunder around a corner and spook him. I was hunkered in the grass checking my 6. I hadn't seen the bear since I got into the floor of the boat.

She was gone about 10 minutes....had gotten their location fixed and was firm that the boar was a boar and mature enough. He was grazing in grass that mostly covered his  legs...

We waded the shoreline to the 2nd point up that obscured them. We were just backtracking the inlet as it opened back up to our right. We left the water and got down and crawled in the grass out of site until we got to a point we could see as the shoreline bent further right. At this point we're about 80 yds...the boar was just grazing, head down and constant motion. About 10 yds further up was a nice big rock about 15 feet wide and terraced down right to left. I slowly eased my pack on top of the rock and laid my rifle on top with me in kneeling position...a great rest. The guide put the glasses on the boar (to verify again) and be sure we had the right animal. After about 5 minutes, she gave me the go ahead to get into position, safety off. He was grazing facing to the right. At this point we just talked (whispered ) about what I could (mostly could not) see and that as soon as I could get him broadside and see his shoulder to fire. Still very windy...nice and noisy . He milled about for another 10 minutes (they are constant motion as they eat) before he moved up a little rise facing toward us and eventually he turned to our left as I could see his legs and his shoulder stick up above the grass.

He was about as perfect broadside as you could hope for. I took two breaths and fired. He spun and went down on his haunches facing to our right....he was hit well. I got back on him as I reloaded and fired again. He went down and didn't move. We waited about 10 minutes and walked up...


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This is a very big Coastal Black Bear; and old...had one eye, the other had been lost in a fight recently....squared measure 8'1"; skull 20 11/16.  This is a top 25 bear.  My guide is the best in the business on this...she's a bear whisperer.


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In mid-August, went to Nunavut, Canada; Southampton Island; Coral Harbour community.  About 800 permanent residents, mostly Inuit.  Southampton and the area are home to large growing polar bear and Atlantic Walrus populations.  If you look in the background (right side of video in the distance about 2 miles), you see another polar bear.  

On Walrus Island, you can hear them barking, snorting and hissing.  What you can't tell from the video is the powerful smell.  From a couple hundred yards off shore the smell is powerful.



Edited by japantiger
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