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Bear hunting thoughts #210655 05/16/2021 11:39 AM
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cmnash Offline OP
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Two weeks from today, my son and I fly to Idaho for a spring bear hunt. I'm going with an outfitter. We will be using dogs in the morning, and sitting on baits in the evening. This highly anticipated hunt has been planned since February 2019, and was postponed a year by Covid.

The morning hunts will likely be vehicular, but hunting bears with hounds can get physically strenuous quickly when the bear takes the pack through the steepest and thickest country he can find. I have a strong opinion that this is the role of an open sighted revolver. Secured in a holster, the revolver is out of the way until needed, and when it's needed, the revolver delivers the necessary power and accuracy.

Sitting over bait for the afternoon hunt, may pose a different challenge. I understand the baits will be set not more than 100 yards away, but the thing about bears over baits is fighting darkness. That is, the bear will likely arrive at last light.

And one more wrinkle, I hope to find some of those Idaho rockchucks I have seen posted here before. I love shooting the occasional groundhog, and shooting multiple rockchucks in a day would be the ultimate fun.

Obviously, I've had time to think about it, but I'm curious, what handgun or handguns would YOU carry on a hunt like this?

Re: Bear hunting thoughts [Re: cmnash] #210656 05/16/2021 12:18 PM
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Mark Hampton Offline
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I'm sure you're going to have a great hunt. And you get the best of two methods - hounds and bait. As you know, the hounds are likely to chase the bear up a tree. Your open sighted revolver will be a good choice. For my eyes, a red dot wouldn't be a bad thing.

Over bait with shots under 100 yards, use what gives you the most confidence.

Have fun with whatever you decide. We're looking forward to seeing photos!

Re: Bear hunting thoughts [Re: Mark Hampton] #210660 05/16/2021 2:53 PM
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I've done both hunts you're doing. For my dog hunts in my early (healthy, young years) I used a M29 and Colt Anaconda. Dog hunts can be brutal with massive walking. ID has lots of steep hills, so I'd suggest going light weight, but powerful. My 6" Anaconda was perfect. Something in .44 or .45/.454 would be perfect.
The gun choice on bait hunts should be determined by the distance shooting and terrain around the bait. If it's thick brush and longer distance a single shot big caliber gun would be better. If short distance and open woods a "tree gun" but with a red dot or scope like Mark said. My "bait hunts" over corn fields have been with a .375/.284 XP (AB & Lehigh Chaos) and .325 WSM XP (AB). The .375 bears never moved. I had a heck of a trailing with one .325 bear.
Your hunt should be a blast, being able to take 2 different guns for different situations.
Rockchucks will be fun if you can find any close to bear country. I've done over 50 a day several
times, a hundgunners dream. Shot so much the web of my hand bled!
Good luck. Have fun.

Re: Bear hunting thoughts [Re: wvhitman] #210661 05/16/2021 3:52 PM
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Vance in AK. Offline
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Not much of a rockchuck gun but my Super Redhawk in 480 Ruger with an Ultradot will get the job done for bear in the situations you mentioned.


Vance in AK.

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"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."
Re: Bear hunting thoughts [Re: Vance in AK.] #210662 05/16/2021 8:36 PM
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Good luck with your hunt. With a Super Blackhawk Hunter, or a Super Redhawk you could get by with 1 gun. With those, as well as other guns, you can remove the optic for open sights and remount it for the evening hunts.

Re: Bear hunting thoughts [Re: cmnash] #210663 05/16/2021 8:37 PM
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Ernie Offline
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 Originally Posted By: cmnash
Two weeks from today, my son and I fly to Idaho for a spring bear hunt. I'm going with an outfitter. We will be using dogs in the morning, and sitting on baits in the evening. This highly anticipated hunt has been planned since February 2019, and was postponed a year by Covid.

The morning hunts will likely be vehicular, but hunting bears with hounds can get physically strenuous quickly when the bear takes the pack through the steepest and thickest country he can find. I have a strong opinion that this is the role of an open sighted revolver. Secured in a holster, the revolver is out of the way until needed, and when it's needed, the revolver delivers the necessary power and accuracy.

Sitting over bait for the afternoon hunt, may pose a different challenge. I understand the baits will be set not more than 100 yards away, but the thing about bears over baits is fighting darkness. That is, the bear will likely arrive at last light.

And one more wrinkle, I hope to find some of those Idaho rockchucks I have seen posted here before. I love shooting the occasional groundhog, and shooting multiple rockchucks in a day would be the ultimate fun.

Obviously, I've had time to think about it, but I'm curious, what handgun or handguns would YOU carry on a hunt like this?


Sounds like a great time!
What handguns do you have that are suitable for this?


Ernie the Un-Tactical
Re: Bear hunting thoughts [Re: Ernie] #210664 05/16/2021 10:40 PM
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What handguns do you have available for this hunt?

Re: Bear hunting thoughts [Re: racksmasher1] #210665 05/17/2021 1:13 AM
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cmnash Offline OP
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My choice of gun for the dog portion of the hunt was made before the hunt was booked. My "Shiny Ruger " SBH 44 has earned the spot. It has in fact, "been there, done that".

In 2020, I shot open sighted revolvers extensively, and became as proficient with one as I imagine I could be. In fact, I uncharacteristically carried only the Shiny Ruger to Maine to hunt bears over bait. (I typically travel with a revolver and a scoped single shot. I was confident with my revolver. I didn't shoot much the first few months of 2021, and thought I would just pick up where I left off; I was wrong. I don't currently want a 100 yard shot at a bear with an iron sighted revolver. Half that- absolutely.

Which brings me to want another gun for shooting at distance.

Re: Bear hunting thoughts [Re: cmnash] #210666 05/17/2021 1:38 AM
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any big bore with open sights or red dot for the dog hunt. Whatever scoped handgun that you want to shoot that has enough horsepower to get the job done at 100 yards. depends on what you have in the stable. My brother had this kind of hunt and shot his bear over bait at 100 yards with a 270.


still Dave Thomas, just an alias so the gov't dont find me
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Re: Bear hunting thoughts [Re: cmnash] #210667 05/17/2021 2:00 AM
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 Originally Posted By: cmnash
My choice of gun for the dog portion of the hunt was made before the hunt was booked. My "Shiny Ruger " SBH 44 has earned the spot. It has in fact, "been there, done that".

In 2020, I shot open sighted revolvers extensively, and became as proficient with one as I imagine I could be. In fact, I uncharacteristically carried only the Shiny Ruger to Maine to hunt bears over bait. (I typically travel with a revolver and a scoped single shot. I was confident with my revolver. I didn't shoot much the first few months of 2021, and thought I would just pick up where I left off; I was wrong. I don't currently want a 100 yard shot at a bear with an iron sighted revolver. Half that- absolutely.

Which brings me to want another gun for shooting at distance.



What scoped revolver or specialty pistols do you have and with what optics?


Ernie the Un-Tactical
Re: Bear hunting thoughts [Re: racksmasher1] #210668 05/17/2021 2:02 AM
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I would probably pack my FA97 45 colt with 5.5 barrel and a mini reddot in a belt cross draw for the dog hunt and take my 2.5x8 scoped FA 454 Casull with 7.5 barrel for the bait site.


It takes 43 muscles to frown and 17 to smile, but only 3 for proper trigger squeeze.
Re: Bear hunting thoughts [Re: cmnash] #210669 05/17/2021 2:07 AM
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cmnash Offline OP
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When I was an impressionable tweenager, I read an article in Peterson's Hunting titled "The guns of spring"(author unknown) discussing the topic of a single rifle to cover rockchucks and bears in the American west. Rifles chambered for .243,.257, or 25-06 were discussed. ( Remember this predates the 6.5 craze)

In that spirit, I considered my MOA in .250 Savage, to cover bears over bait and rockchucks. I love my .250 for deer hunting, and someday I'm going to see a bear while I am hunting with my .250, and if that bear needs shooting, I'm going to shoot it with my .250. But not this trip.

I could do a Contender with two barrels, a .35 Rem for bear, and a .223 for chucks. But since we are flying, and I am gun bearer for my 11 year old and his rifle, the gun case is getting crowded.

So... for the sake of simplicity, I am taking my 30-30 Contender.(same caliber as my son's rifle) The hunt will be focused on bears, and if there are rockchucks to shoot, they will be incidental. I can hit things further away than many would expect with my 30-30, and that will be an asset if I do get to snipe some chucks.

I intend to use my revolver on bear, but I will have a proven Contender if I'm uncomfortable with the distance.

I was mostly curious about what handgun other members would choose, given the opportunity.

Re: Bear hunting thoughts [Re: Ernie] #210670 05/17/2021 2:10 AM
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cmnash Offline OP
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Ernie, you have seen my 30-30 at work on a couple of occasions.

Last edited by cmnash; 05/17/2021 2:13 AM.
Re: Bear hunting thoughts [Re: cmnash] #210671 05/17/2021 4:50 AM
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Ernie Offline
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Yes I have-Good choice!


Ernie the Un-Tactical
Re: Bear hunting thoughts [Re: Ernie] #210672 05/17/2021 11:15 AM
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karl Offline
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Sounds like you have some good options. I would setup similar to what you are thinking, but focus on open sights/reddot for the dog hunt and then a quality scoped rig for the bait hunt. It's no fun to glass a nice shot in with your binoculars and then not be able to see it with open sights.

Re: Bear hunting thoughts [Re: karl] #210673 05/17/2021 11:43 AM
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Since you're asking, I would take my 629 PC with the 7 1/2 inch barrel for hunting with the dogs. I'd have a red dot on it but the way it mounts it can be taken off quickly should something happen to it and you need the iron sights. Easy to carry and up to the task. It was going to be my choice if I went on a hound hunt in Maine for bear.

For shooting over bait, I'd probably use my Contender in the same caliber in the 12" hunter barrel although I'd be tempted to try my .30 Herrett barrel.

I'd use the scoped .223 contender for the chucks.

Very entertaining thread.


John

Re: Bear hunting thoughts [Re: jcp161] #210680 05/18/2021 2:52 PM
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I would take my 5 1/2 inch Ruger Bisley in 45 colt for the dog hunt.

For the bait hunt I would take my FA 454 with a Leopold red dot. The red dot works great for those late evening hunt when iron sights are hard to see.

If hunting rock chucks was big on my agenda and I only wanted to take 2 guns. I would leave one of the revolvers take my contender in 30-30 AI and bring along my 223 barrel.

Re: Bear hunting thoughts [Re: cmnash] #210682 05/18/2021 8:18 PM
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Vance in AK. Offline
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 Originally Posted By: cmnash
I can hit things further away than many would expect with my 30-30, and that will be an asset if I do get to snipe some chucks.



I had a 30-30 Contender that was rechambered to 30-30 AI. Amazing little handgun


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: Bear hunting thoughts [Re: Vance in AK.] #210687 05/19/2021 2:08 PM
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Sounds Like a Great Hunt! Enjoy! The Shiny gun for sure!

Re: Bear hunting thoughts [Re: cmnash] #210690 05/20/2021 1:03 AM
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Congratulation on what I'm sure will be a great hunt!

You may have already done this, but if not, ask your outfitter if he has baits set up for bowhunters. Most outfitters here in Idaho that I've heard of cater to bowhunters which means 40 yard shots or under, more likely 15 to 30 yard shots.

Good luck. Looking forward to hearing how you do.


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