In the fall of 2018, while elk hunting in Colorado, I had an encounter with a color phase black bear. I knew I would have to travel west from my home in Georgia to chase these fascinating animals. By February of 2019, I had found an outfitter that offered what I was looking for. I booked a hunt for my son and myself for June 2020. As many of us experienced, 2020 was trash for plans, and our hunt was delayed for a year.
On May 30, after 28 months of planning and waiting, my son and I boarded a plane in Atlanta, bound for Boise, and for an epic week long father-son adventure.
I booked with an outfitter in southwest Idaho. We would be staying in a bunkhouse, hunting with hounds in the morning, then sitting on baits in the evening. Both of us held a tag. I would be carrying my revolver, and my son would use his rifle.
I took my bear in a most unusual and unpredicted location on the first morning. The hounds bayed my bear IN a culvert. Our best efforts to spook, scare, drive or push the bear out of the culvert failed. I decided to shoot the bear in the culvert. The recovery was discussed before the shot, and it was imperative that I stone cold kill the bear, so that it didn't back deeper in the culvert.
A head shot it would be. Donning ear muffs to save my hearing, I layed prone in the small stream so that I could align a shot on the bear shoehorned inside the pipe. My .44 roared, but it was the bear that recoiled, frantically shimmying deeper in the pipe. The first shot was not immediately effective, so I fired three more, before the pipe filled with smoke and steam. It was done.
The longest and leanest among us crawled in the pipe with dog leads tied together to secure the bear, so we could drag it out.
My son would kill his bear by sitting on a bait the third afternoon of our hunt. We saw several bears, and my son's patience would pay off with this EPIC cinnamon beauty.
This bear checked all the boxes-size, age, color, coat-and was the bear we traveled to Idaho for.
What an incredible trip for us!