180 Grains of Ouch!
I really like “off-season” hunts, anything different that gets me out of my routine, especially during the summer is right up my alley, just stay away from my September, that’s reserved for elk. So it was a no-brainer last year when I got the opportunity to hunt big black bears in Northwestern Washington during August to vet a new outfitter. Getting away from my office and the summer heat of Southern Idaho sounded wonderful to me. I called my buddy Brandon Couchman and we were on our way.
This spot-and-stalk bear hunt is on the Olympic Peninsula, just across from Vancouver Island and has the potential for a real trophy bear. Washington has more bears than any other state besides Alaska. Our outfitter told us that we could expect prime-pelted bears, and big ones are the norm. There is very little hunting pressure, and no baiting or hounds. We would be targeting pre-scouted bears over six feet. With a success rate over 80% and a 100% opportunity rate, we were excited. But what we didn’t expect was a heat wave.
Temperatures were scorching hot when we arrived, and for the first few days of our hunt everything was holed up. We’d hunt clearcuts early and late, trying to find a bear brave enough to come out of the jungle shade for some berries, but we didn’t see hide nor hair. I was beginning to think that we were going home empty, but finally the temperature went down, we got some rain and the action turned up.
On the third evening, Brandon finally saw some action. He was hunting a big clear cut hoping for some long range action when they heard some branches snapping and out walks a toad of a bear at about 200 yards and he laid down the thunder. His bear only went a few yards before he piled up. It was a monster bear that squared nearly seven feet. A true trophy.
The next night it was my turn….
Well, I didn’t get a big one, we’ll just leave it at that. I had my suspicions, and from that look on Carl’s face (watch the video) he knew for sure. But, it was the last night, the hunting had been tough, and my trigger finger…. Well, it’s itchy. But we had a great time and Brandon’s bear is a true beast. This is a fun, relaxed hunt, and if a trophy black bear is on your wish list you should check it out.
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