Larry's Short Stories

A Rare Bear

The Rare Bear; in 18 years, this was the first black bear shot in this hunting territory.
The Rare Bear; in 18 years, this was the first black bear shot in this hunting territory.

As far as natural range goes, there may be no trophy in North America with a range greater than the black bear. It extends from Washington State to Maine, from Florida to Alaska - mostly the mountainous areas. Of course, they are all over Canada. But there are places where the black bear is rare; and such was the case with this one - it was outside the northern range.

We spotted him quite by accident, while moving into position on a willow flat above timberline — to glass for moose on the other side of the valley. He was on the mountain behind us, about 1500 feet above our elevation, moving slowly and feeding on blueberries. I didn't have any interest in shooting a bear but my guide Logan got really excited. You see, in the 18 years that his family had operated this concession, they had never shot one — and this was only the third black bear that had been sighted. It was a big one and would be the rarest of the trophies from the area. OK, I'll shoot him!

Logan Young stands on the porch of the cabin at Young Meadows Camp, with newly named "Black Bear Mountain" bathed in sunlight over his left shoulder - about 3 miles to the north. We shot the bear at the bottom of the rock outcropping on the left side.
Logan Young stands on the porch of the cabin at Young Meadows Camp, with newly named "Black Bear Mountain" bathed in sunlight over his left shoulder - about 3 miles to the north. We shot the bear at the bottom of the rock outcropping on the left side.

We made a plan to get back on the horses and ride through the willows to the base of the mountain and tie up there. The climb was to be along the side of a large rock outcropping that would take us to within a couple hundred yards of where the bear was feeding - easy shot. Away we went.

It wasn't a tough climb; but after getting to the top of the rocks there was no sight of the bear. We moved forward in a side-hill motion and all of a sudden, there he was. Unfortunately he saw us at the same time and was only in sight for a couple seconds before disappearing. We didn't have a clue where to look, so simply continued side-hilling 15 or so minutes along the mountain looking for him; but no luck. Going down was easier than going up and soon we were back at the horses; mounted up and headed back to the willow flat we had started from.

As we approached our earlier position, Logan spotted the bear again - up on the side of the mountain. This time he was only 250 yards away and within a hundred yards of our climb line from before. He had no idea of our presence and we tied up, set up and shot him - a rare bear.

The 165 grain Swift Sirocco bullet from the 300 Win. Mag. ran out of energy in the opposite shoulder. It still weighs 154.3 grains.
The 165 grain Swift Sirocco bullet from the 300 Win. Mag. ran out of energy in the opposite shoulder. It still weighs 154.3 grains.
Larry's Short Stories