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Arctic Grizzly

Posted: Fri Jun 02, 2017 10:13 pm
by Guy M
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After 50 years of dreaming, it finally happened.

Very grateful for the opportunity.

Guy

Re: Arctic Grizzly

Posted: Sat Jun 03, 2017 5:01 am
by jpx2rk
WOW, what a beast. Congrats on the hunt. Care to share some details on that beast.

Re: Arctic Grizzly

Posted: Sat Jun 03, 2017 5:59 pm
by Bill K
Great bear. Bet you had a terrific hunt. Thanks for sharing that. What area did you hunt ? Bill K :)

Re: Arctic Grizzly

Posted: Sun Jun 04, 2017 7:41 pm
by Jim White
Outstanding...thanks for sharing and glad to hear you fulfilled a life long dream.

Re: Arctic Grizzly

Posted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 1:49 pm
by Silverfox
guy--That is one fantastic looking bear. Those digging claws sure look dangerous. Congratulations on a successful hunt!!!

Do you have any details of the hunt you will share with us? Rifle, bullet, general area, details of the stalk, etc.???

Re: Arctic Grizzly

Posted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 2:54 pm
by Guy M
Sorry guys - I should have provided more info. Here's a condensed version, with some photos.

Drove from my home in Washington State to Fairbanks Alaska. I'd been to Alaska quite a few times, but I'd always flown there, and had always been in coastal areas. I figured there was a LOT of great country between Washington and Alaska that I wanted to see at least once. Wow! Yes indeed, what a drive! But, I'll concentrate on the hunt here.

Flew out from Fairbanks in a Helio Courier, a very cool old aircraft that was actually commissioned by the CIA back in the 1960's. It's proven very useful over the years as a bush plane in Alaska. Carries a pilot, two passengers and a fair bit of luggage. There are no TSA inspections on these flights. Pretty much everyone is armed, with cans of white gas and extra ammunition in the carry-on bags! :D I think we had a lot of knives too. Cool.

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We set up camp about 150 miles north of the Arctic Circle, in the Brooks Range. Four of us were in camp, two guides and two hunters. We used modest size backpacking type tents, with a somewhat larger cook tent. We also set up a small "tipi" type shelter on some high ground nearby and used it for our observation point. This was a classic "spot and stalk" hunt. We spent hours and hours glassing. We all had good binoculars, and each guide had a nice spotting scope. A guide is required for non-resident hunters after grizzly, and frankly, I think that's a good idea.
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I was very pleased with my 10x Zeiss binoculars, purchased for this hunt. Selected my 30-06 Remington 700 CDL with the old 2-7x Redfield scope. I'd worked up an exceptionally accurate load with a 200 grain Nosler Partition over H4350 at a bit over 2600 fps.
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We took three animals. I shot a wolf, and my grizzly. The other hunter took a particularly beautiful grizzly. Every time we stalked an animal, we had to cross this stream. In this photo I'm using my hip boots. When it was time to go after my grizzly, the guide and I were in such a hurry, we just went with our leather boots! Fortunately our gaiters kept most of the icy water out of our boots on that trip.
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At 250 yards, a 200 gr Nosler Partition opens quite well on a 75 pound wolf! The other side of this guy isn't so pretty. Big exit wound.
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After the other hunter and one guide left camp, heading home, two of us continued to glass, 15+ hours a day. Weather kept changing. Rain. Sleet. Wind. Freezing temps. Then it might warm up for a few hours and the mosquitoes would go nuts on us. It was daylight 24 hours a day! Finally we spotted a big grizzly heading our way! We stowed our warm insulating clothing layers and went after the bear. That means my 31 year old guide took off running in the direction of the bear! Bear was a mile away, and the 6-03 guide, 30 years younger than me was loping across the tundra... Well heck. I'm a few inches shorter and a few (ha!) pounds heavier, and off I went. I did well, thanks to hours and hours in the gym, on the bicycle and hiking... But eventually fell on the ice and slammed my left leg hard. It still hurts. "No prob, I'm okay" I lied to the guide and off we went, slowing as we entered the 8' high willows, completely losing sight of the bear... My scope was on 2x already, and I chambered a 200 gr Nosler.

At about 50 yards... There was the bear!

I'm a pretty good shot. An accomplished hunter. I had a career in the Marines and another in Law Enforcement. I've been in danger. Somehow at 50 yards, offhand, I missed an entire, full grown, grizzly bear! I laugh at myself about that now.

The bear ignored the 30-06 blast and walked forward a bit then turned and exposed his right shoulder & leg. I took the shot, breaking his leg/shoulder and getting the Nosler into his chest. A fatal shot. Bear didn't agree. He fell instantly, rolled, and didn't stay down! He got back on his feet and headed for the thick willows. My guide and I both opened fire and dropped him again. He was down hard, but not yet dead. My rifle was empty. Before I could reload the guide handed me his .338 Win mag and I shot the bear twice in the chest with it. That finished things. All that shooting happened in 30 - 60 seconds and it was pretty wild. We started at about 50 yards and ended at about 15 yards.
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We took some photos, then got on with the skinning, and hiked back to camp. The next day my guide showed his considerable skill while fleshing out the hide and doing some detail work on the bear. The bear "squared" a bit over 8' and had a 22.5" skull. Big for an arctic grizzly, but he'd be smallish compared to a coastal brown bear or a Kodiak.
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Am back home after a long drive through Canada. Rifle is cleaned. The 200 gr Nosler ammo is put away, possibly for future use on elk or black bear. Now I wait for the taxidermy bill. I have no idea where I could put a big ol' grizzly rug in the house, so at this point I'm just having the hides of both the bear and wolf tanned. The wolf will just hang from a beam, near our fireplace. The bear? Good question. His skull will likely reside atop my gun safe.

My outfitter was Lyle Becker, who has http://www.alaskaskookumguides.com/ The guide who was with me while I went after the grizzly is Joey Klutsch, son of a famous Alaskan bear guide. Joey has his own outfitting business as well. Without reservation, I can heartily recommend either of them as honest, knowledgeable, hard-working guides. Great guys, and they did real good work for me.

Regards, Guy

Re: Arctic Grizzly

Posted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 2:57 pm
by Guy M
BTW, I have an outstanding .375 H&H, and was tempted to bring it, but...

Went with the lighter, handier rifle that I handle well and have more experience with. Last fall I shot pronghorn, mule deer, elk and black bear with the same rifle. Though I did use a lighter 165 grain bullet for those hunts.

It was a tossup either way. The more powerful rifle? Which I shoot well. Or the rifle with which I'm more familiar.

Guy

Re: Arctic Grizzly

Posted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 3:39 pm
by Silverfox
Guy--Thanks for taking the time to post the story of your great hunt!!! I'm glad it was you chasing after you young guide. I'm afraid he would have left me in the dust.

You were in some beautiful country. Thanks again for the story and photos!!! :D

Re: Arctic Grizzly

Posted: Wed Jun 07, 2017 6:25 pm
by jpx2rk
Great read, thanks for taking the time to post your trip.

Re: Arctic Grizzly

Posted: Fri Jun 09, 2017 12:25 pm
by Guy M
Ya, it's kind of an odd subject for a forum that is mostly for varmint shooting...

But I figured you guys would enjoy. Once in a lifetime experience for me.

Guy

Re: Arctic Grizzly

Posted: Fri Jun 09, 2017 1:54 pm
by Bill K
Guy... Not a odd story too me, you just picked a bigger varmint, than I have for a number of years. :D Bill K

Re: Arctic Grizzly

Posted: Mon Aug 07, 2017 2:33 am
by GunnScott
That's a fantastic-looking grizzly! It would be scary if he happen to put up a good fight. :o

Re: Arctic Grizzly

Posted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 9:43 am
by CPO Shooter
Thank you for the write up and pics. Extraordinary hunt. Beautiful bear, I am jealous.

Re: Arctic Grizzly

Posted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 9:49 pm
by Jim White
What a trip, and thanks for sharing. You'll have to post a story about the drive up there. I've been looking into that myself since I have a youngster stationed in Anchorage.

Thanks again,

Jim