Saturday, September 19, 2009

Bob's 2009 Bear photos + Rufous' Bear story

Bob's Bear as he found him.

Back at Camp

Rufous wrote about the Bear he tagged:
Well, I think I got him. Not certain that he is the biggest bear using the area but there was lots of big piles of poop in the area I took this guy.

I called in this male bear this morning in SE WA just east of Walla Walla where I live. He came in to about 10 yards away but I was not sure he was the big boy I was after (based on all the big piles of bear poop in the area). He got nervous and ran off but I was able to stop him by calling again at about 75 yards. After looking at him some more through my binocular I decided he was big enough and shot him with my 45 Colt revolver using the Beartooth Bullets 345 grain hard cast lead bullet. I hit him behind the right shoulder and the bullet exited. He only ran about 25 yards. I found him dead. He measures 65" long and has a 45" girth. His front pad measures 5" wide and his neck has a girth of 27". His teeth are pretty badly chipped. His 4 legs weigh 81# (my pack weighed 98# including my other gear). His live weight is approximately 275#. It was a mighty hard climb up a steep slope and through a bunch of brush and nasty, thorny rose bushes but I made it. Rufous

Rufous said he pushes that bullet to about 1200 fps using H110 (which should NOT be used in Colt or replica style single actions).

He has posted more pictures and details at the Hunting Washington Forum.

BUSH LIVING by Sharron Chatterton

Sharron eloquently puts into words the primal connection we have for wilderness. I hope this resonates with you as it did with me. Brilliant bit of writing.

BUSH LIVING by Sharron Chatterton
[Intro by Cliff Jacobson -- included in his book "Camping's Top Secrets
-- a lexicon of camping tips only the experts know"] "Sharron Chatterton
is a retired wilderness canoe guide, college instructor, and writer who
lives a contemplative life in a lakeside cabin near Teslin, Yukon,
Canada. Here she explains how the solitude and demands of bush living
shape the personality of those who live and work in wild places."

"The wilderness promotes traits that encourage survival. Surrounded by
the unpredictable and beyond rescue, wilderness travelers safeguard
unknown outcomes against disaster. Their goal is safe arrival to their
destination, not arrival by some time or date. Some "great feats" are
simply their cautious journeys."

"Wilderness makes an individual self-reliant -- able to function alone,
to perform all tasks independently, and to know the adaptive capability
of every tool. To the bush traveler, rescue is an urban myth -- there
are no buffers against irresponsibility! Wilderness dwellers accept what
is, not what was or ought to be. They plan carefully and they don't take
chances. Actions are purposeful; tasks are always completed. To use
energy on valueless projects or to leave important work undone is
unthinkable. There is too much to do to get bored."

"Long periods spent in silence creates an ease without talk, value for
the understandings that flow without language, and a need for silence.
Silence conserves energy, frees ones attention for more important work
and, lacking confrontation, creates gentleness. Simple wisdom breeds in

"Wilderness travelers become hyperalert and observant. The land exhibits
what happened, is happening, and might happen next to the ears, eyes,
nose, and skin. These sensors function in overdrive, constantly
receiving information. "

"Some believe that wilderness living breeds antisocial behavior. In
truth, the wilderness man or woman becomes asocial -- he or she has a
lingering love of society but little need for it. The wilderness, not
the nation that manages it, evokes their allegiance. This alienation
from political boundaries and reassociation with the natural world
defines the "wilderness heart."

"Survival is the hidden foundation of bush morality. It is what allows
one to kill animals to eat, blaze trees to mark a return trail, or
sidestep a slipper orchid. An experienced bush dweller learns never to
interfere with another. To pass without offering help is a cardinal sin.
To solicit help unnecessarily is another. Survival encourages
cordiality among neighbors -- you might have to depend upon one for

"There are deeper effects of wilderness than those on human personality:
There is a growing need to reduce belongings, to hunt and gather, and to
be nomadic. Nature -- not other humans -- controls the routine. There
is a growing intimacy with animals and with death. Consciousness passes
old barriers and metaphysical experiences occur. Wilderness rearranges
behavior, reconfigures mental constructs, and transforms the inner self

"Yet personality change is what we first perceive in committed wilderness
travelers. We see it in epic soloists, long-distance trekkers, and in
those who work in wild places -- guides, researchers, and itinerant
wanderers. In fact, all of us, even we who paddle a simple slough alone
or walk a dog along the bluffs -- even farmers, loggers, and deep sea
fishermen whose wilderness experiences we consistently deny -- have
personalities deeply marked by wilderness."

Thursday, September 17, 2009

2009 Season underway

As I mentioned in my previous post the 2009 season is underway for Bear, Grouse, Archery Deer and Archery Elk. It is proving to be a season to remember.

My sister tagged a fork-horn Whitetail over at her property to go along with the Bear her husband harvested which by the way was delicious!

Bear Backstraps!!! A little salt and pepper and you have yourself some fine eating!

Not everyone realizes how good Bear is as table fare. For those who haven't tried Bear before you would be hard pressed to tell the difference between the best beef you've ever had and a properly prepared Bear steak. The sausage is also VERY good. No need to add a bunch of pork fat either, this time of year they come with plenty of their own.

While out scouting our place I came across a lot of bear sign this time. There are at least two bears - one of which is very large based on his scat (I'll spare you the picture) , tracks and witness accounts. Their eating a lot of Kinnikinnik right now which I guess is pretty fattening. Lewis and Clark described Kinnikinnik as a insipid and I would tend to agree though the First Nation's people ate them.

A very common plant in this area.

I spent a few hours each day scouting and hoping to get a shot at some Grouse. Anytime I was near the creek I would kick up one or two but never had a good shot. It is obvious that the gene that made them only fly a short distance to nearby cover has been culled out of them by my efforts in previous years. These guys would flush and not land until well out of sight or ear shot...

I didn't see the bachelor group of Whitetail bucks I've seen regularly earlier this year. I did see an Whitetail doe with a fawn and a spike that may have been her previous year's fawn browse through near the creek. I have not seen many Mule Deer in the area. Perhaps the Cougar cleared them out of the area last year. I found three Cougar kills on the property last year, all Mule Deer does. Two of them had fawns so I suspect they didn't make it either.

This is one of the kills I found. I had noticed the drag marks through the brush the previous month but it didn't occur to me at the time that it was a Cougar kill until I found the other kills the next month. When I went back I found another Deer, mostly complete skeleton, the coyotes had unburied it and they, the birds and the bugs had it mostly consumed by then.
The weather was quite warm, even at night the temperature stayed above 50*F. The daytime temps reached the upper 80s. Summer-like. I suspect when it begins to get colder many of the patterns I observed will hold. Still it was very enjoyable to get out and have a look around.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Bears - part 2

Around here the First Nations people revered the Bear for his strength and learned humility. They are prominently featured on totem poles, sculptures, jewelry, masks and in stories passed from generation to generation as part of their oral tradition.
Bears are considered masters of the forest and their connection to humans is highly respected. When a Bear was killed he was taken to the house of the Chief and treated as a guest of honor. Eagle down was sprinkled on them in a welcoming gesture, dances and prayers were offered to honor and thank the Bear's spirit.

My exposure to this culture both as a boy and now within my family has influenced my appreciation for the Bear. To see one in the woods is good medicine. Harvesting a Bear is a spiritual experience. Respectfully utilizing its gifts (hide, claws, bones) and consuming it pays homage to its spirit and enriches my own. It is a part of hunting that is difficult to explain to those who do not hunt. Hunting isn't about the kill, its about life and living it. I can think of no other venture that more clearly illustrates our connection to and appreciation of nature than hunting. The First Nations people knew it and it is integral part of their culture. Those of use lucky enough to have been exposed that perspective experience hunting in a way that seems as natural and important as breathing.

The artwork posted here was inspired by the original art of the Haida and reproduced here in honor of that nation and the Bear it represents.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Bears Down!

This has been one heck of a season for Bears! Brent, Tony, Bob, CT, Pasco, Bull (Idaho), Lewy, Cory ... Am I forgetting anyone?

Bob just got his yesterday on his way out to his Deer stand. It looked like he might of had a mind to do some camp raiding - headed straight for camp - and Bob put an arrow right where it goes. Didn't go 20 feet before expiring. Big fella too. Hopefully I'll have some pictures soon.

Tony anchored his too with his 300 Win Mag. The problem was he was alone and the bear was downhill. By his account it was vertical... My guess is he's exaggerating but that country is plenty steep - especially dragging a critter with no handles on him. The story gets even better though... He was on his bike so he loads the bear head over handlebars, front feet tied together ahead of the headset and ended up using pillow cases he had to secure the rear feet behind the saddle... Then saddled up on the bear and ROAD HIM HOME!!!

Cory took his with a bow too. After 9 hours in his stand he had given up and was on his way back to the truck when he hears a grunt on the trail ahead of him. He stops, knocks an arrow and a cinnamon colored black Bear appears twenty yards in front of him and he delivers the arrow right through the boiler room.

CT shot one near a campground and when they gutted him he was full of hotdogs and Kraft singles...

Pasco was calling (rabbit call) trying to get another Bear into range when another came in behind him. Had just enough time to knock an arrow and put a good shot in him.

I've never called Bears before but I've heard or a number of guys having success with it this year. Just remember to watch your six!

Looking forward to lots of sausage this year!

Friday, September 04, 2009


Saw this at Troutrageous.

I love to fish little skinny water but rarely get the chance. I may have to try this next time out. I would also be an excellent technique for emergency fishing.