1st Pennsylvania Black Bear

By HunterPA

December 3, 2013

My first bear after nearly 10 years of hunting them in PA. Shot in Southern Fayette Co.

198 pounds at check station estimated live weight 228. Sow, an old one - big head.

First bear!

The story in a nut shell.

Look for the nasty rough stuff. Then after you moan and say no way - go live in it for a while. Make multiple passes through it and keep looking ahead.

I was in this cut for several hours and finally hit a clear tram road. The bear doubled back. Couldn't see up through the cut - so I stepped back in for another go. 30 yards later the bear stepped out into a small clear spot staying ahead of me.

One shot.

30.06 Hornady 3070 180 gr SP over H4350 out of a Model 1903A1 Mark 1 made in 1917 and sporterized by my grandfather in the late 40's. .

Caught the bear as it was turning to quarter away from me. Shot happened just as it was stretching out and turning away to run.

The bear look far bigger on the hillside than it was. Looked HUGE. Perhaps due it turning and being hunched up in the process of getting ready to run. Again, things happen fast.

No resting for the shot. Totally offhand. I do not remember clicking off the safety, I do remember the shot picture, the recoil, and watching the bear drop.

Shot hit mid rib cage high. Due to the turn, the shot traveled above the guts, nipped the heart and took out the lungs totally. She dropped like a rock then got up and ran down hill.

Honestly, when you see that black moving mass - you have to wrap your head around it. Went on auto as I saw it. I keep the scope on low power so the slash and distance was already accounted for. If I had been on anything more than 4 power - the shot would have been iffy.

You have no time. They do not wait for you like a deer will.

Anyway, shot, racked another round in watched a bit then flipped safety on. Adrenaline was pumping pretty good, but mentally told myself to take deep breaths. Bear fever was in full effect.

Called my bud and told him I had a hit. He was starting down. I went to the spot I shot to. Found a single quarter size spot of blood. That's it.

Turned around and found a very clear trail. Basically she tore everything up for five yards getting her feet and taking off. Around five yards, the bottom of the trees were painted red in blood. Found her piled up against a small log 24" of the ground 15 yards from shot spot.

The advice the Game Commission gives on bears is accurate. Bear will move ahead of you for a long time. They will stay and hold tight or allow you to pass very close to them as well.

Keep after it, and go where any self respecting hound wouldn't go.

In all honesty, when the bear ran across the tram road, I decided to go get a cup of coffee, I was spitting dust. But a clearer head, and a few choice words on what I needed to wade back into changed the day. A return to the nasty stuff of 30 yards made the difference.

Just stay with it, hunt the day.

The Hornady 3070 180 gr SP did it's job as well. A perfect mushroom. Absolutely no separation and appears to be fully intact. Out of the box, the 3070's weigh 179.2 gn on average. This one - through the bear - once cleaned up bullet weighted 126.6 gn.

In the end, Pennsylvania bear hunting really is commercial grade rabbit hunting. Difference is, you're the dog.

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