I notched my 8th bear tag last Saturday morning. I drew a special permit for the spring bear hunt in the Dayton unit of SE WA state and have been out after the bears on about 10 different days. I had seen 20 bears so far this spring before going out this morning. Some of the bears were too small or too far away or it was too close to dark to get close enough for a shot etc.
I did try to go after a few of those bears but did not get a shot off. One of them was a real nice bear. Not huge but I figured I would take it if I could call it in and shoot it with my Ruger Bisley 45 Colt revolver. I got it to within about 75 yards and was nearly ready to shoot when it must have either caught some movement or the wind shifted. Anyway it took off. It was a mighty fun and exciting hunt though!
My buddy Mike and I went out on Saturday the 19th to try to get my tag filled before my brother arrived later that evening. We got up to where we wanted to hunt (a mainly north/south running mountain with a road along the top) at about 7am. We started slowly driving out the road, stopping to glass every chance we could see some south and west facing slopes. I spotted a bear digging on a ridge top on a south facing slope not too far from the road. It was about 700 yards away but we could drive closer and then stalk even closer so that is what we did. We drove up the road quite a ways and then parked and hiked up the road further before heading into the timber that was between the bear and us. We were headed west at this point with a pretty stiff breeze from the southwest. When we came out of the timber I saw the bear. Mike ranged it at 47 yards. I set my rifle on the ground and stalked in to about 25 yards, knelt to the ground and fired with my 45 Colt. The bear quickly looked to its left (away from me) and I fired again. Then it took off running to my right and I stood and fired again. It made it to the timber and headed downhill with me hot on it’s heals. I fired again and brought it to bay. Then I fired again and finally once more to finish it off. I did not need to fire all 6 shots but once I start I hate to see an animal suffer any longer than necessary. Fortunately it was only about a quarter of a mile from the truck. After picture taking and skinning/butchering I loaded the meat into my pack and Mike took the hide out. I had 128# on my back which is my heaviest load ever. I am glad it was not any further to the truck.
The bear was a boar and measured 6’ nose to tail with the hide on the carcass. With the hide off it measured 74” nose to tail and 82” across the front claws so it squared 6’ 6”. The front pad measured 5 1/8”. We figure its live weight at 275#. The skull measured 17 7/8”. This bear was at 5230' elevation.
Having never shot an animal from start to finish with a revolver (I have finished off a couple though) I did not know what to expect. It sure seems as if their reaction is much different than when hit by a high powered rifle bullet. I confess I was more excited than usual (normally I am cool as a cucumber when firing my rifle at game but this was different). I am not certain if I hit it with my first shot but I know my second shot was a good one. Also not sure if I hit it with my third shot when it was on the run. I know I hit it at least 4 times (we did not do a thorough autopsy) with two solid chest shots. Anyway I am curious what is normal to expect. If I put a 345 Beartooth WLNGC at 1150 fps muzzle velocity through the ribs and lungs at 25 yards on a black bear would you expect it to run off with no real reaction? It seemed like I was just punching holes through this bear and finally killed it with lead poisoning. I would appreciate the comments and experience of those who have killed numerous big game animals.
My brother arrived Saturday evening and we set up camp on Sunday. It rained quite a bit that night and the next morning but we got in an afternoon hunt on Monday. We saw a couple bears but they gave us the slip. Then on Tuesday we saw the bigger of the two that we had seen on Monday evening and I sent my brother after it. We had radios which was a good thing because eventually I saw that it had a cub and so I called my brother and had him rejoin me. Then we went to another area and I spotted a bear for him only about 100 yards away. He was using my 300 Win Mag with the Barnes 180 TSX and floored that bear. It was a smaller boar, about 65" nose to tail.
Below is a photo of me with my bear. Thanks, Brian.