Connecting at 15 yards
Nothing quite gets your blood pumping like hunting big game in Alaska. May 2016 was the start to our yearly bear hunting adventure and the blood was pumping from the start! After a hour drive north from my home in Willow, I began what would be one of the most memorable days I have had while hunting bears in Alaska. We pulled off the road around 9 A.M. and as we loaded the Argo Avenger up with our supplies for the planned 3 day hunt I felt at peace. The 2 hour drive through the muskeg and mud was spent sharing stories and the excitement of the days to come. Arriving at camp we took our time getting our temporary home situated as we took in the views and scenery. After getting things in order Justin and I decided to check our trail camera at station #1 and to start setting bait for what we thought would be an evening hunt. As we traveled the half mile north through the black spruce and alders I noticed a cow and young bull moose about 120 yards from where my bait station was located. The bull was clearly nervous as he trotted along the marshy ground eventually disappearing into the woods, yet the cow was awkwardly watching us then staring back into the woods in the direction of the bait station. I looked at Justin with a puzzled look as clearly the moose knew something was at the station yet I almost felt like she was telling us there is a bear near and was confused as to why we were driving right towards the danger area. I shrugged it off as the cow moose must be surprised to see two guys riding around in a 8 wheeled ATV this time of year. As we neared the trail I made going into the bait station, I could smell that distinctive scent that a bear has. I assumed the sound of the machine would easily spook any bears on the station but to my surprise as we popped through the alders sure enough 15 yards away stood a grizzly. I stopped the Argo and turned the key off as I told Justin "look at that grizz" Justin was still trying to orientate himself and looked right past the bear as I fumbled for my Tikka T3 30.06. I managed to remove my gun from the rifle rack and slowly chambered a 180 grain Swift A Frame into the chamber and raised the rifle. Looking through the optics as the bear was slowly quartering toward me I placed my finger on the trigger and with just over a pound of pressure the Tikka spoke with an echoing bark. The bear managed to run about 20 yards before its body gave out from the devastating shot through both lungs and the lower portion of its heart. Justin was bewildered as to how fast everything happened, yet for me it felt like an eternity, almost as if time nearly stood still. This was the start of our 2016 bear season which later in the day ended with Justin also taking a monster brown bear at 50 yards.
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