I Took a Top-10 Grizzly Bear at 15 Yds

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By: John E. Phillips
By: John E. Phillips

Frank Noska of Wasilla, Alaska, is an extreme bowhunter. Over the years he has developed a hunting technique that defies reason. Today, he hunts Alaskan brown bears and grizzlies without a backup handgun or another hunter with a rifle. “I’m often asked why I hunt bears without a backup hunter or carrying a gun,” Noska says. “When I’m stalking bears, I don’t carry a backpack and usually don’t wear boots. I stalk bears in my socks, so I can move really quietly. I’ve found carrying a pistol with me on a stalk encumbers me. Not carrying a gun and not having a backup hunter with me may not be the smartest thing I’ve ever done, but when I can find a bear in a spot where his attention is focused on something else, if I take my time and move slowly, I usually can get within bow range.”  Noska hunts some of the most-dangerous bears in the world, Alaskan brown bears and grizzlies that have the ability to travel 40 miles per hour (the length of 10 football fields in one minute). Why does Noska bowhunt these bears solo? What’s being within 30 yards of an animal that can kill you if he sees you and you have no place to run or hide, like? How does Noska have the courage to remain motionless when an 800-pound grizzly bear is looking straight at him?

I’ve taken four mule deer, two brown bears and many black bears with my bow. However, one of my most-memorable hunts was for a grizzly that scored in the top-10 ever taken with a bow in the Boone and Crockett record book. This spring hunt took place on the coast, outside of Nome, Alaska, where the weather’s still really cold in the spring. In May and June, there’s still a lot of ice on the ocean near there, and the bears come-down from out of the mountains to feed along the coastline. I was suited-up for wintertime conditions and was wearing chest waders. Since the ocean was quite rough, just getting-out of the boat was a real adventure. This hunt for the grizzly bear was another very-challenging hunt, because the first battle was with Mother Nature. Once I reached the shore, I had to go around several big sheets of ice, just to get to some places where I could look for bears.

This grizzly bear hunt was spot-and-stalk. Although I spent plenty of time covering ground, I also had to sit and wait a lot, watching the beach for long hours and hoping to see a bear come-down from the mountains. Finally, I spotted a big bear heading toward the beach. I got out of the boat, went to the beach and started my stalk. I was positioned behind the bear and was trying to catch up to him. As luck would have it, the wind was in my face. The bear was traveling, eating and moving faster than me, even though I’d begun to run. Finally, the bear decided to turn-around and come-back toward me. I got into a little cave about 15-yards from the ocean that completely hid me from the bear. I let the bear walk just a little past me, so he couldn’t see me draw. I also knew I’d have a better shot angle with the bear quartering-away from me. I took the shot, and the arrow passed all the way through the bear but landed in the ocean. The waves from the ocean brought the arrow back to me, and I recovered it. The bear ran about 150-yards down the beach, before he piled-up. This bear squared over 8 feet, scored 24-15/ 16-inches for his skull measurement and weighed around 500 or 600 pounds.

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I experienced quite an adrenaline rush, which is what makes bear hunting so much fun for me. When I can get in that close to dangerous game, and I know that the bear doesn’t smell or see me, my bowhunt becomes very exciting. But I do pay close attention to my surroundings and try and eliminate as much danger as I can, before I take the shot. However, even with taking precautions, before I took the shot, I knew that the bear still could make two or three leaps and be on me in the blink of an eye. Many times, I think the danger that’s present is what draws outdoorsmen to hunt dangerous game with a bow. You’ve got to keep your wits about you, you have to know you can make the shot, and even though there’s danger involved, you have to control your emotions and eliminate as much danger as possible.

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If you enjoy high adventure, reading about dangerous game and learning about the men who take that game, “Bowhunting the Dangerous Bears of Alaska” is a must read. Click here http://amzn.to/16ayVM0

For more please go to: John Phillips