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2020 Maine Black Bear #208046 09/16/2020 1:11 AM
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KRal Offline OP
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This hunting story is for our recovering buddy, sixshot. He always posts some great hunting stories for all to enjoy, so here's one for him since he can't hunt this year.

The 13th of June found me on-line watching the Maine moose drawings, which resulted in a swing and a miss for the eighth year in a row. As soon as the final name was pulled, my buddy, Jesse Cote of Backwoods Guide Service, gave me a call. He asked if I'd like to come up on a bear hunt since I didn't draw a moose tag. I thought about it a couple seconds and said "Heck Yeah!" - Especially since my Africa hunt was COVIDified. Jesse is normally booked up a year out for bear, but due to the COVID he'd had several hunters cancel. He told me he had several spots available for the opening week, so I started contacting handgun hunters to form a posse. Out of twenty some odd invites, only three were available to attend due to the short notice or other conflicting hunts. The posse wound up being myself, Randy Barnett (randominator), Matthew Nash (cmnash), and Don McCullough, a co-worker.
On the 29th of August, we met in Bangor, ME and drove up to Caribou where we'd be staying for the duration of our hunt. Our three and half hour drive was nothing but heavy rain the complete trip - we were on the tail-end of hurricane Laura. Our arrival was a day and half early to have time to do a little grocery shopping, buy license/tags, check weapon zeros, and just relax and shoot the bull before opening day.

Sunday and Monday brought cool weather with N-NW winds. Lows were in the low 40's and highs in the upper 60's - a welcome change to our southern temps that had been in the mid 90's with high humidity. Opening morning had all the hunters in camp excited about the afternoons hunt after Jesse conducted his orientation and showed everyone pictures of bears coming to the stands they'd be hunting.

The first evening proved to be eventful. Don's set-up was on fire! He had barely had time to get situated in his stand, when a bruin showed up. Don was looking through and adjusting his red dots brightness and a big bear appeared in his sight! All was going great until he missed!
Unbeknown to Don, his red dot sight had tanked on him the previous day while doing sight checks. Oh well, it provided for some good memories and it was only the first sitting.
Later that evening, Randy's stand also produced an opportunity. Randy had a great set-up with a 40 yard maximum shot...
...
Just before legal light was up, Randy had a bear come into the bait. He capitalized on the chance to take his first bear...
...
His custom Ruger Bisley in 45 Colt, by Gary Reeder, planted a 250 XTP at 1327 fps, right where it counted - tagged out. Just after legal light, I had two bear come in to my set-up ? one was huge!
Once everyone returned to camp, well, you know what happened. If you've ever been in a camp with other hunters (friends), you know the shirt tail ceremony starts. When Don started with the sad singing and slow walking, the pocket knife came out. Being that it wouldn't be fair for just one person to partake in the ceremony - we all got to cut.
Me...
.
...Randy...

... and Matt.

... and thanks to Matts poetic talents, Don left a nice memento at the lodge.



Day two required a change of plans. Once Laura had completely passed, we got a 180 degree change in the wind - straight out of the south at 16 mph. Most all of the set-ups were set for a prevailing NW wind, so Jesse and his crew got busy moving stands to play the wind. The only issue with this was that I wouldn't be hunting the same spot I'd seen the huge bear, but that was ok because there was plenty bear according to camera evidence. Don got his red dot swapped out and zeroed and that afternoon we headed back out for round two. The site I was at looked great. The area was very thick and the maximum shot opportunity was 45 yards - just right for iron sights. Once I got settled into the stand, around 4:45pm, I was immediately on high alert! I knew I wouldn?t see, nor hear, an approaching bear. Even when there's no wind and you're looking at a bear, most times you will not hear it - it's as if they're floating on air. I ranged the bait barrel at 31 yards and got ready.




In approximately 20 minutes, I saw movement in the dark shadows behind the barrel. It was the tan muzzle of a bear testing the wind. It stood there about 30 seconds and turned and left. It didn't worry me because it was still very early and I figured it would be back. Sure enough, about 10 minutes later its head emerged from the thick grass to my left, but he was gone as quick as he appeared. He did this appearing/disappearing act a couple more time over the next 10 minutes and then he finally committed to walking out in the open ten yards behind the bait barrel - 5:28 pm. It was a respectable size bear, bigger than my previous bear, so I didn't hesitate on cocking the hammer on my 6" Freedom Arms M83 44 mag and bringing that front sight into focus. Once I was happy with the sight picture, the squeeze began. The 260gr PC Keith style bullet, by Dick Thompson (sixshot), found its mark tight behind the onside shoulder. Before I could gather my thoughts, I heard the death moan. He?d made it about 45 yards and was done.



It's always a great feeling to fill a tag early in the hunt. Now Randy would have someone the lie to at camp. Still no luck for Don and Matt.

Day three was still consistent with the south winds, which wasn't effecting Don?s set-up, so he went back to his same stand and Matt was moved to a different stand that was showing evidence of daytime activity - Matt had not seen a bear up to this point. At approximately 5:30pm, Don had activity at his barrel site.


This time, his red dot was true and so was the shot. He let the 240gr Winchester Platinum Tip fly from the Ruger Bisley Hunter, striking just behind the shoulder on a quartering away shot. She made it 50 yards and down.

Matt finally seen some bears, but well after legal light.

The opening week of season turned out to be a great week, for most. Out of 14 hunters in camp, 13 took a bear. The only person that didn't have an opportunity was in our party - Matt. We boiled his tag, along with some Maine lobsters, so it would go down much easier...



All-in-all, we had a great time! Great tales around a camp fire while enjoying the beautiful view...



We met and made some new friends...
,
...made lasting memories and came home with plenty of bear meat?


I also got the shoot Matt's infamous shiny Ruger?

... and Randy?s custom 510 GNR?


2020 Maine Black Bear hunt....



Last edited by KRal; 09/16/2020 12:24 PM.

It takes 43 muscles to frown and 17 to smile, but only 3 for proper trigger squeeze.
Re: 2020 Maine Black Bear [Re: KRal] #208049 09/16/2020 1:58 AM
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karl Offline
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Fun!

Re: 2020 Maine Black Bear [Re: karl] #208050 09/16/2020 2:13 AM
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Russell Offline
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LOOKS LIKE A great hunting camp! Congratulations to all!


It's not the gun, but the man behind it.

Sheriff Russell Cottle, Ret.
USMC; 1967-1970; Vietnam-'68-'69
Re: 2020 Maine Black Bear [Re: Russell] #208051 09/16/2020 3:45 AM
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Chance Weldon Offline
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Sounds like one heck of a time! Glad everyone had an enjoyable hunt!


Formerly TN Lone Wolf

"We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided." - J.K. Rowling
Re: 2020 Maine Black Bear [Re: Chance Weldon] #208055 09/16/2020 9:40 AM
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dhom Offline
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Great hunt guys!!!

Re: 2020 Maine Black Bear [Re: dhom] #208056 09/16/2020 9:51 AM
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racksmasher1 Offline
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Congrats on having fun and a successful hunt.

Re: 2020 Maine Black Bear [Re: racksmasher1] #208057 09/16/2020 10:30 AM
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Franchise Offline
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Handgun hunts are the best!


The Eyes are Useless, When The Mind Is Blind
Re: 2020 Maine Black Bear [Re: Franchise] #208058 09/16/2020 10:55 AM
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REDHAWK1954 Offline
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Sounds like a lot of fun!


Michael Joe Moore
Re: 2020 Maine Black Bear [Re: REDHAWK1954] #208060 09/16/2020 11:10 AM
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ruger4570 Offline
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Congrats. Great write up on a great handgun hunt.

Re: 2020 Maine Black Bear [Re: ruger4570] #208062 09/16/2020 11:15 AM
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Mark Hampton Offline
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Great story and photos -- congrats to all. Thanks for sharing.

Re: 2020 Maine Black Bear [Re: Mark Hampton] #208065 09/16/2020 12:26 PM
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jcp161 Offline
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Wow. Great story and an excellent hunt.
Thanks for sharing it.

John

Re: 2020 Maine Black Bear [Re: jcp161] #208066 09/16/2020 2:01 PM
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Ernie Offline
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Great story!!!


Ernie the Un-Tactical
Re: 2020 Maine Black Bear [Re: Mark Hampton] #208067 09/16/2020 2:14 PM
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RH Custom Guns Offline
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Well done with the hunting and the telling of it!

Re: 2020 Maine Black Bear [Re: Mark Hampton] #208068 09/16/2020 4:10 PM
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jamesfromjersey Offline
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glad to see someone`s having fun....
\:D


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Re: 2020 Maine Black Bear [Re: Mark Hampton] #208070 09/16/2020 5:57 PM
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sixshot Offline
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Very nice write up Kim! Nothing quite like bear hunting with good friends. And cast bullets & iron sights go together like mashed potatoes & gravy.
We've all had to eat tag soup before, hope your friend tags out next time, handgun hunting is the greatest, thanks for the great story!!

Dick

Re: 2020 Maine Black Bear [Re: Mark Hampton] #208071 09/16/2020 6:17 PM
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Congrats to all! I've hunted Maine before, it's been 31 years ago since I was there. Got me a hankering to go back now!

Re: 2020 Maine Black Bear [Re: Mark Hampton] #208072 09/16/2020 8:14 PM
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rougerocco Offline
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Sounds like a great time! with Great Folks!! Kim I love your stories and pictures. Always sweet guns... I have shot Matthews shiny gun too! Not as well as him! And if Matthew saw a bear...my money would be on Matthew....

Re: 2020 Maine Black Bear [Re: rougerocco] #208074 09/16/2020 9:48 PM
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popo Offline
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Congrats and great story.Always wanted to do that.

Re: 2020 Maine Black Bear [Re: KRal] #208076 09/16/2020 10:04 PM
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What a fun trip it was! Although I didn't tag a bear, it certainly wasn't an unsuccessful hunt, as I made new friends in new places. I enjoy bears and the places they call home, so I jumped on the opportunity to join fellow handgun hunters in Maine. I'm proud Kim thought to invite me.

This bear season in Maine was predicted by all reliable sources to be one not to be missed. A below average harvest last year and a lack of natural food this year was forecasted to lead to high success on bait sites, and it absolutely was, for every hunter in camp but one. The outfitter did everything he could or needed to do to put me on a bear. The stands were set up great for shots, the baits were being hit, but for six days the bears managed to avoid me.

There is more to hunting trips than just dead animals. We stayed in a dang nice cabin, shared some good meals, drinks, and stories around the campfire ,and some good natured ribbing. We also shot some serious hunting revolvers. Randominator was kind enough to let us all enjoy his Reeder custom revolvers. I got to shoot both his .45 and .510. It was my first experience with Reeder revolvers, and I was favorably impressed.

Here is my shiny Ruger with Randy's 510 GNR. It is a fine shooting and surprisingly pleasant powerhouse.

I say it, hopefully loud and clear, every time I write about hunts I attend with members of this forum. EVERYBODY needs to make an attempt to join other handgunners on a hunt, near or far. I have met so many good people doing so.

Re: 2020 Maine Black Bear [Re: cmnash] #208079 09/17/2020 1:38 AM
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Teep Offline
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Wonderful write up, almost feels like being there.

Re: 2020 Maine Black Bear [Re: Teep] #208092 09/17/2020 4:11 PM
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Pa. Mike Offline
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Great write up with fantastic photos! Thanks for sharing. I may have missed a post but what happened to SIXSHOT? I tried twice to call him but only got his voice mail. Thanks for any info you can provide.

Re: 2020 Maine Black Bear [Re: Pa. Mike] #208094 09/17/2020 5:40 PM
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KRal Offline OP
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 Originally Posted By: Pa. Mike
Great write up with fantastic photos! Thanks for sharing. I may have missed a post but what happened to SIXSHOT? I tried twice to call him but only got his voice mail. Thanks for any info you can provide.


He had to have his oil pump rebuilt. He's doing fine now by what I'm tracking.


It takes 43 muscles to frown and 17 to smile, but only 3 for proper trigger squeeze.
Re: 2020 Maine Black Bear [Re: KRal] #208095 09/17/2020 5:51 PM
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A few more pictures from the hunt.

Completely furnished kitchen and dining area.



All the comforts of home.







A nice set up behind the cabin to check your zero.





A couple of the bruisers taken by other hunters.





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"get busy living, or get busy dying"
Re: 2020 Maine Black Bear [Re: Randominator] #208097 09/17/2020 10:36 PM
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Brenden Offline
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Congratulations guys! Some mighty fine bear's taken and sounds like a good time!

Re: 2020 Maine Black Bear [Re: Brenden] #208100 09/18/2020 2:47 PM
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Hawkeye Offline
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Man, that is a great post and hunt. I would love to hunt someplace like that with a handgun. I will have to visit with that outfitter and see what I can find out. It's only 2000 miles for me but what the heck. Road trip. I live for them. I get 24 days vacation now so that would be a time to use some of it.
You guys did great and looked like everyone had a great time. I have been on some Primitive Archery bear hunts, never sticking one but times I will never forget, helping the others track, skin and even eat some of their meat.
I have tried to find a place in the US that has a two bear limit so I could take one with a handgun and then try for another with one of my homemade primitive bows.
I know places in Canada that has two bear limit but NO handguns.
You guys did great. Glad it worked out for you on short notice.
Mike


You don't quit playing because you get old, You get old because you quit playing.
Re: 2020 Maine Black Bear [Re: Hawkeye] #208103 09/18/2020 3:58 PM
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KRal Offline OP
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Maine has a two bear limit, but one has to be taken by means of trapping.


It takes 43 muscles to frown and 17 to smile, but only 3 for proper trigger squeeze.
Re: 2020 Maine Black Bear [Re: KRal] #208113 09/20/2020 2:14 PM
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bluecow Offline
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Thanks for sharing. I'm glad that all had a great time here in Gods Country.


Everything before "but" is B.S.
Re: 2020 Maine Black Bear [Re: bluecow] #208130 09/22/2020 12:52 PM
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dave thomas Offline
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great hunt and write up. i think bear are one of those critters that don't show their true size in photography unless done absolutely perfect. you have to be happy with filling most of the tags in the group.


Ephesians 6:10-18 because we are warriors.
Re: 2020 Maine Black Bear [Re: Mark Hampton] #208137 09/23/2020 12:46 AM
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Sawfish Offline
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Great hunt with a lot of good memories. Sorry I missed it.

Last edited by Sawfish; 09/24/2020 4:11 AM.

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Re: 2020 Maine Black Bear [Re: Sawfish] #208148 09/23/2020 3:37 PM
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RBO21 Offline
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Looks like a great time! Congrats on the bears.

Re: 2020 Maine Black Bear [Re: RBO21] #208162 09/24/2020 6:59 PM
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Vance in AK. Offline
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Great story as usual Kim and thanks for sharing!
Oh and congrats!!!


Vance in AK.

Matthew 6:33
"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."
Re: 2020 Maine Black Bear [Re: Hawkeye] #208190 09/26/2020 12:42 AM
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DarkTimber Offline
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Congrats KRal and company!

Sounds like a really great hunt and a great story.


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