Hunting Memories

Chance at a Bear

I've been hunting deer for over 13 years. But for the last four years, I've bought a bear tag on the chance I might come across a "fatty" and fill my tag. Well, this last year I focused on filling my bear tag.

While hunting last October in the last week of deer hunting season in Mendocino County, my hunting buddy Mario and I saw this bear feeding on acorns. From a distance of about 75 yards, I sat and watched this guy to see if I should take him. Being that we had just arrived in our hunting area and Mario was pursuing deer as his main quarry, I asked if he had any objections to me "riling up" the resident deer by busting this big boy. He told me to take a shot as this was a good-size bear.

Now, never ever seeing a bear for more than a fleeting moment, I was amazed this old boy had not winded or seen us as we watched him for more than a minute and a half. Well, I shot and the old boy went about 100 yards. He measured 5 feet 2 inches from nose to tail. Packing it out was no easy chore — uphill 1900 feet in only 1.55 miles. Looking back, it was a great experience and well worth the humps to pack it out. The head and hide seemed to weigh 500 pounds alone! I estimated his weight at 300 pounds, but I'll never know as he was carried out in pieces.

P.S. Mario and I saw over 12 bears in four days, with this one and one other being the biggest. Also, the bear I took had had his share of battles — although not visible in this picture, his bottom canine was broken off at the gum line. His lip had been ripped and had healed awkwardly, leaving its lip permanently disfigured. Although he was big, a bigger bear had beaten the boy, but good!

Oscar Ramirez
Sacramento, California

| WH Home | Contact Western | WH Archive |

Copyright © 2001 J & D Outdoor Communications. All rights reserved.