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This will be a bit long - winded, so my apologies in advance. Wink

In the last few months, I sold many of my guns to help a friend with a teenage daughter who was suddenly diagnosed with cancer. My thought was that I could dwindle my gun collection to just what I needed to hunt and put food on the table. That meant selling five of my guns, and replacing them with a single Marlin - an XL7 30-06. The rest of the money went to my friend. Since I live in Alaska where weather is hard on guns, I chose the stainless model.

I picked up the new XL7 about three months ago, but I was so busy at work I didn't have time to sight it in until this last Wednesday, the day before my black bear hunt. I wanted this rifle to fire only handloads, so I had worked up 8 different loads to sight it in. I loaded about 20 "baseline" loads with 180 gr. Nosler partitions that duplicate most factory offerings to get the scope (a Redfield 3-9X40 accu-range model) sighted in, then fired groups with the other loads to find the most accurate load. My best group was .75" at 100 yards with new Win. brass, CCI #200 LR primers, and 180 gr. Nosler partitions pushed by 58.5 grs. of RL 19. So I went on a hunt for black bears with a friend using that load. I didn't even have a chance to send them through a chrony.

Thursday at noon, I met my friend and we drove about 2 hours to where he had a couple of bait stations set up. We checked the stations, and both had been recently hit, so we were optimistic about finding a bear. It was still early in the day though, so we drove about 6 miles south, unloaded the ATV's and meat trailer and rode another 6 miles to our camp site along a creek. I decided to wet my fishing line and was rewarded with a 16" rainbow trout. Already the trip was showing promise!

Based on the time that the bruins had been hitting the bait stations, my friend suggested we head back to the site and be in the tree stands by 10 PM. So about 9:00, we loaded up the ATVs and rode back to the bait site. We parked the wheelers about 3/4 of a mile from the bait site, and began walking in as quietly as possible. As we got close, we heard what was obviously a large animal, battering the 55 gallon drum that my friend uses to stow his bait. He whispered that he thought is must be the large brown bear he had seen pics of on his game camera. I un-holstered my S&W .460 to have it ready in case we were charged. We were in pretty dense Alaskan brush and I didn't want to take any chances. The bear must have winded us though, as it was gone by the time we reached the tree stands. So we climbed up to wait for more bears to come in.

I'm grateful to my friend for this trip, because he wanted a brown bear, but browns can't be legally taken over bait. He chose instead to try and get a black bear for me. We sat on the stands silently for about 30 minutes, then he started working on a "cub in distress" mouth call. Not 20 minutes later, a small male brown bear came in, but from the opposite direction that we expected. He was behind us, and circling, trying to wind us. I stood up slowly, and turned around backwards in the stand, looking for a shot opportunity. The dense trees and brush behind the stands didn't offer much visibility though. Finally, the bruin stood on his hind legs with his nose down, testing the wind. All I could see was the top of his ears and head sticking up above the brush, through a tangle of Birch trees. I figured that was the best shot I was going to get, and since my Marlin is zeroed an inch high at 100 yards and the bear was about 70 yards away, I held slightly low and squeezed off the shot.

The bullet went through his head just above where I had held the crosshairs, and out the back of his neck. He fell over backward and twitched a bit, then lay still. He was dead before he hit the ground. He will square out at around 5'2" to 5'4". I got around 75 lbs of meat for the table, and I couldn't possibly be happier with my first big-game hunting experience. My new Marlin performed flawlessly. I hope there will be many more such experiences to come. Cool
 

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Congrats!
 

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Fantastic ..
 

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Congratulations. Nice rug.

Mark.
 

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There is an old saying that what goes around comes around. God is good to ones that do something like what you have done. I admire you for trying to help your friend when he was in need. Congratulations on the rifle and the bear. Never get rid of that rifle because I am sure it is blessed.
 

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Another good bear :)
 

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They even work well on varmints. Before & after.
 

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Nice shooting. I'm glad you had faith in your Marlin "X" gun [like I do] to work correctly and put the bullet where you want it. ;) Some others don't trust a "X" gun for hunts like yours. :-X


May I ask why only 75pounds of meat from a "small" brown bear? I would get nearly that much from a 175pound deer. ???
 

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bkreader said:
he shot a BLACK bear. browns can not be taken over bait....
That still seems like a small amount of meat from the bear pictured. I get 50 pounds of boneless meat from a 125 pound deer.
 
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