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September 18, 2009 by  
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Hunting a grizzly bear has always been a lifelong dream.  It was one of those things like pursuing Cape buffalo that I never thought I would get to do, but through the Good Lord’s Grace, I have been fortunate enough to do both. In this two parter, I will try to tell the story of my great hunt for grizzly in AK.

It took two days and 5 flights varying from a 757 to a two seat super cub to get me into camp, but finally me and my cameraman, Rob Snider made it to our two tent base camp in the Alaskan bush. I was hunting with outfitter Clint Mayeur of Alaska Big Game Hunting ( ), and my young guide was Billy West.

view from plane
We were at the base of some pretty decent sized mountains, but certainly not sheep mountains. We had a river down low and bald mountains high. There were no fish – and honestly I doubt they ever get that far – so we found the bears on the berries.

We glassed and the first day had an encounter with a sow and 2 cubs. We ended up about 60 yards away, before I got busted taking photos, and they vacated the area, sort of.

The second day, we again saw the threesome, but in the afternoon, we hiked about 4 miles from camp to glass a higher drainage.  Billy, spotted a loan bear up in a bowl, and we watched him from about 2 miles. He looked decent, so we moved closer.

Guide glassing

So we really made some time, and got above where we thought he was eating berries.

When we got where we wanted to be, there was a strip of berries about 15 yards wide between head high brush that went to the bottom of the mountain. As we eased ahead and tried to peak over, I spotted the big blonde head of a grizzly walking straight at us only about 40 yards away. I sat down, got my gun up and tried to get the others down. I don’t know if the bear heard us or what, but he stood up, and then he could see us over the crest of the hill. That was it, he was gone. Man what a rush to have a big griz walking straight at you at less than 50 yards…

We walked over the hill to see if he would go down the drain and possibly come out on the other side, and suddenly Rob said, “There’s the bear in the rocks above us. He circled.”

Sure enough, the grizz was walking parallel to us about 80 yards above us going across an avalanche shoot. I got on my sticks at a severe uphill angle and looked for the shot.

I wanted a broadside as I was shooting a .300 Win, but he was always moving when he was broadside. He stopped twice and peered down at us, and the third time, I decided I had waited long enough. It was a really odd position for a shot, but I tightened in to my TC ICON and lined up my Nikon Monarch scope and tried to get steady. It was a thrill just to see that sight picture, and I knew it was about to be crunch time. With his squared head looking down, I put the crosshairs just under his chin and squeezed. (TO BE CONTINUED…)

shooting uphill

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