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Just back from my Alberta bow and blackpowder bear hunt.
My brother and I had been looking forward to this trip for nearly a year, and as per my previous post, we had planned to do it old school, with bows, lever guns, and a blackpowder loaded Shiloh Sharps. (It’s a 2 bear area)
The lodge was great, the country we were hunting was big and beautiful, and the guides were working hard, but several days went by without seeing anything I wanted to shoot at.
Then on day 5 of the 6 day hunt I was fortunate enough to take this nice dry sow with my bow.
She’s not a giant by any means, but she was the biggest I had seen thus far, she had a great spring hide, and I had another tag !

I had to watch her for 45 minutes or so before she gave me a good angle…
I drew back on her 3 times and held and held and then had to let down.
This was to be my first bear with stick and string and even though I’ve been practicing a lot, I didn’t wanna be “that guy”, who thinks he’s a bow hunter and then wounds and doesn’t recover.
I made a good shot. I watched my arrow fly silently and strike.
She went down quickly and within my sight.

And then the death moan…
I’ve heard it many times before, but something about the silence of a bow kill made it very different this time.
Bow hunting big game is pretty primal.
I spent some introspective time in the big woods of Alberta that night.


I did hunt the last day with my Sharps.
I had been almost as excited about taking a bear with that great rifle and my blackpowder loaded homebrews as I was about my first bow kill.

But when the time came…
A nice younger boar did come in that last night, prob’ly slightly larger than the bear I killed with my bow.
And I didn’t shoot him.

He wasn’t a crazy color phase, and he wasn’t as big as any number of other bears I’ve already taken.
He was just a nice bear and I had already taken a nice bear just the day before.
Yeah, I had another tag, but I got to thinking that a man doesn’t always need to do something just because he can.
So I took a bunch of pictures of him and let him go on being a great young bear. I second guessed my decision a couple of hundred times that night, but by the next day I felt pretty good about it and I still do.
I guess my brother made the same decision, because he saw a lot of bears, but never fired his rifle either.
So… ?
Not the most epic of hunts this time, but some good hunting lessons learned, and my first archery bruin !
Here's pics of the set up.

 

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nice story, thanks for sharing

you know you're in a good beary area when the poplars and beeches have scars up the trunks from the claws of bears climbing them
 
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Congrats on blooding your bow! Take one, leave one seems reasonable to me.
 
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tip o my hat for not taking number 2....I've been letting the big bucks go for years and all I get is..."you're crazy"....you just have to be in that frame of mind to get it...
 

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Great story and a nice Bear!!!! Congrats on your first kill with a bow!!!!
 
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Looks like a great time!:tee:
 
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Great story and a real class act decision on #2--as it should be. The hides look to be in great shape. Great hunts aren't just based on trophy size. You had a great one!
 
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Well done man! Congrats!!
 
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My Dad said that the first time he ever let a mature whitetail buck walk was an epic milestone in his hunting life.

Great hunt and great story/pics - thanks for sharing.

Jeff
 
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Congratulations, nice bear! Bowhunting was a passion of mine for many years, still is really, just not as physically able to do it as I used to be. Glad you all had a good time in some pretty country.
 
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