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I just got back from an Idaho bear hunt on Friday. Jason Lee had invited my brother and I to join him and his group. Thanks again Jason! The first day (Saturday May 3rd) my brother and I set up camp and then got in an afternoon hunt. We were camped near a river at 2400’ which flowed into a bigger river so either we hunted along the river bottoms or we climbed up the ridges. The first afternoon hunt took us up the nearby slope. We saw deer and elk but no bears. On the second day we headed up a long ridge to 4800’ and then down another ridge that lead into the bigger river. We got snowed on a bit up on top. The ridge we came down had a creek on both sides. About halfway down we looked to the east and I saw a black bear up on the slope on the other side of the creek. I told my brother of the sighting and then he said he saw two others. There was also a brown sow with a cub on the same slope but a bit lower and left of the black. The sow and cub were working their way down to the creek but the black was feeding and seemed content to stay put so we decided to drop down to the creek bottom and try to work our way back up the other side to where the black was feeding and see if we could get a shot. The cross canyon shot would have been 575 yards so we obviously needed to get closer. It took an hour but we got over there and found that he was still in the same area. My brother was packing his 54 caliber muzzleloader and I had thought I might try to call the bear closer but the breeze was from us toward the bear so I decided I had better take the shot before he winded us. He was 190 yards away and facing me with his head down. I had my Snipepod attached and was steady so I placed the 200 grain Nosler Partition (from my 300 Win Mag) into his spine at the base of his skull. He went cartweeling down the slope and lodged against a log. Shot was taken at 5:30 pm and it was 8:30 and just dark when we started back to camp with two legs. Got back to camp at midnight. Went back the next day (Monday) for the other two legs and the hide and skull. The roundtrip on Monday from camp to the carcass was 8.5 miles. The route we took on the day I shot the bear was further. This is some rough country.
Tuesday was mostly spent cleaning up the hide and meat. We got in an evening hunt but saw no bears. We did however see a big black wolf. That was a thrill. Wednesday we hunted up the river we were camped on. No bears but lots of deer and elk. We found a meadow with a spring that apparently was a mineral lick area. Probably 30 elk and as many deer in the meadow. We walked up through it and saw scads of bones scattered about. I guess the wolves knew that the deer and elk frequented the mineral lick. Thursday we hunted down the big river to a creek that fed into it. We hiked up a ridge and glassed up the drainage. We saw 3 bears but all too far away then worked our way back to camp. Despite custom boots this hunter has sore and blistered feet. But this hunter also tagged a beautifully coated black phase black bear. I have been wanting a black one and had never seen one where I hunt in SE WA state. His skull is approx. 18” and he was 5’9” nose to tail with hide still on carcass. Girth was 41” which would put him at about 235#. His front pad was 4.75” wide.