New Season and New Gear for Black Bear

I was making preparations for Idaho's spring bear season and had a chance encounter with our "son-in-law" — my wife's daughter's fiancé. His unrestrained excitement about my hunt led to an immediate invitation, despite the fact I knew it would likely mean sacrificing my own hunt. Alex is a hard working fellow with his head screwed on straight (increasingly rare for his generation), and a Staff Sergeant in Connecticut's Army National Guard. He's been to Afghanistan twice and been involved in some very nasty stuff. His hunt would be wedged between training missions in preparation for his September return.

Things started badly, mostly due to a flood of competition -- including a big outfitted camp -- in an area I'd otherwise always had to myself. One of my barrels even went missing, causing me to come uncorked, exchanging colorful invectives with a group of guides. I almost abandoned the site, but my number-one spot hadn't being touched, which is strange because it's normally my best, resulting in two behemoth bears in four seasons.

Ultimately we were limited to the single site. Activity slowed with warming weather, but Alex eventually got his shot. I can't really say what went wrong. Alex appeared calm enough, even after waiting 10 minutes for the bear to turn. He took his time with the shot. But his arrow flew harmlessly high, his only opportunity during a short stay. He seemed to take the defeat better than I did€¦  I really wanted him to get his first bear.


With four days of season remaining I returned to pull my barrels and stands before season's end. I also decided to hunt a couple days; you know, just in case. I'd planned to shoot Easton's Injexion Carbon and New Archery Products Deep Six Big Nasty broadheads, but a handful of test shots revealed poor flight. The .330 deflection was just a tad light for my Hoyt Carbon Matrix's 73-pound, 30-inch draw, aggressive RKT Cam and fixed-blade broadheads. I turned to some .300 Victory VAPs I'd just received (NAP's Quick Fletch got them ready fast), tipped with Sanford Innovation's cut-on-contact BloodShot broadhead. This combination produced field-tip groups.


Wet and wild weather was forecasted but held off while making the long drive up, setting up camp and getting installed on stand at 4 p.m. The first bear arrived at 6:30, a scruffy little fellow I'd no intension of shooting but enjoyed watching for the next couple hours as he came and went. By 8 p.m. dark clouds socked in, turning it gloomy and dim (true darkness arrives at 9:30 p.m. in June this far north). I was ready to call it when a massive black blob appeared below the bait.

The big boar took his time, allowing me to engage in calming breathing exercises to settle redlined nerves. Then I waited some more for an angle, the 250- to 300-pound bear finally turning just enough to allow a shot. I drew, put the bright fiber on the back edge of his shoulder and squeezed the shot.

The bear shot out beneath me in a dozen lounging bounds, crashing into a hollow and piling up.  He traveled twenty-five yards -- and I swear it --  in three seconds. That was all. The arrow had clipped the rear edge of the shoulder, blasted through both lungs and top of the heart and stuck in a tree beyond. Exceptional penetration -- and one of the fastest bow kills I've ever witnessed.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Ravin R29X Crossbow – New for 2020

Ravin R29X Crossbow – New for 2020

The new Ravin R29X Crossbow includes everything you need for blistering speed (450 FPS!) and deadly downrange accuracy (3-inch group at 100 yards).

CenterPoint CP400 Crossbow – First Look

CenterPoint CP400 Crossbow – First Look

CenterPoint Archery evolves in design and performance with the introduction of the new CP400 Crossbow.

First Look: Mathews Vertix Bow

First Look: Mathews Vertix Bow

"Petersen's Bowhunting" editor Christian Berg and Mathews design engineer Mark Hayes talk the smooth, quiet and fast shooting qualities of the new flagship Vertix bow from the Wisconsin bowmaker.

Ravin Broadheads – 3 New Mechanicals

Ravin Broadheads – 3 New Mechanicals

Designed exclusively for their crossbows, Ravin has announced three new mechanical broadheads to maximize penetration and overall performance.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

We've rounded up the best new fixed-blade broadheads from the 2019 ATA Show. Check out our top picks! ATA Show

New Fixed-Blade Broadheads for 2019

Brian Strickland - January 10, 2019

We've rounded up the best new fixed-blade broadheads from the 2019 ATA Show. Check out our top...

We Rank 16 Top Models on Sharpness, Accuracy, Penetration & More


It's that time of year when Arrows & Broadheads

2017 Fixed-Blade Broadhead Test

Jon E. Silks - December 12, 2017

We Rank 16 Top Models on Sharpness, Accuracy, Penetration & More It's that time of year...

We've rounded up the best new compound bows at the 2019 ATA Show. Here are our top picks for the year! ATA Show

Best New Bows for 2019

Tony J. Peterson - January 10, 2019

We've rounded up the best new compound bows at the 2019 ATA Show. Here are our top picks for...

We got our hands on the brand new 2019 bows from Bowtech. See how the Realm SR6 and the Realm SS performed in our technical tests! Bows

2019 Bowtech Launch: Realm SR6 & SS Review

Jon E. Silks - November 07, 2018

We got our hands on the brand new 2019 bows from Bowtech. See how the Realm SR6 and the Realm...

See More Trending Articles

More Bow Accessories

Consider these three important factors when upgrading your gear for the new season! Bow Accessories

Tips for Choosing New Bowhunting Gear

Levi Morgan

Consider these three important factors when upgrading your gear for the new season!

Why investing a few more greenbacks in a set of custom string and cables is a good idea. Bow Accessories

Do I Need A Custom Bowstring?

Jace Bauserman

Why investing a few more greenbacks in a set of custom string and cables is a good idea.

See how this compact, lightweight bowsight stacked up in our field test Bow Accessories

Field Tested: Black Gold Ascent Whitetail Bowsight

Taylor Pardue - May 10, 2019

See how this compact, lightweight bowsight stacked up in our field test

These are the top new release aids making a splash at the 2020 ATA Show! ATA Show

New Archery Release Aids for 2020

Bowhunting Staff - January 10, 2020

These are the top new release aids making a splash at the 2020 ATA Show!

See More Bow Accessories

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Petersen's Bowhunting subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now