This is possibly the best live action, raw and unedited footage of an Alaskan brown bear bow hunt you’ll see anywhere. And the story of the hunt in Hanes’ own words.
Here’s the raw video of Cameron Hanes‘ first of three bears (two browns and one black bear) he killed on his recent bear hunt in Alaska.
Hanes says of the video, which was shot by his friend John Rivet, “The footage is nothing fancy, but it’s real.”
It sure is. Hanes posted the video, and in less than 24 hours it received a lot of positive comments from hunters who have watched it, with several declaring it the best film of a brown bear stalk and kill they’ve ever seen.
Here is the exciting account of the hunt in Hanes’ own words, which he also shared online yesterday. It’s a heck of a tale, and worth sharing in its entirety. I’ve edited out a couple of short paragraphs of Hanes’ praise for his two friends, Rivet and Roy Roth, who served as guide for the hunt, simply to focus on the hunt itself.
After glassing this bear from a couple miles all morning me, Roy and John put together a plan to get close. Keeping the wind right we made a big looping stalk to within a couple hundred yards of where we thought this boar was. Crossing a small creek we could tell we were entering where the bear had been living as fresh sign was everywhere.
Upon crossing the creek and climbing the far side we scanned for our grizzly. The country is seemingly as flat as pancake, but the grass is tall and there is enough contour to hide a brown bear easily.
I caught movement to our right at about 100 yards and told Roy we need to get back on the other side of the creek, as the wind was close to giving us up. It didn’t appear that the bear had seen us, but we weren’t certain. Gotta assume he’s still there.
Back across the creek we went, and eased toward where the bear flashed in the grass. I saw hair and pointed it out to Roy. He confirmed my thought, the bear was bedded on the edge of the creek. Roy stayed back a bit and with John following close behind me I eased in, following the creek bed itself.
At 50 yards I ranged the bear. Brought the glasses up…yep, still bedded tight. Wind was perfect. I thought to myself, if I don’t screw this up I should get this bear killed.
One thing I focus intently on is treating every stalk and opportunity like it’s my last on the last day of the hunt. Sometimes early on, as a new bowhunter, I would take opportunity for granted, thinking I was going to get a lot of chances on every hunt. I learned the hard way that sometimes your first chance is the best you’re going to get. I was going to do my best hunting here to take advantage of this one.
That being said, it’s bowhunting, and there are many, many things that can go sideways.
At 41 yards one of those things did [go sideways]. My boot stuck in the mud a bit, and pulling it free it made a sucking sound. The big boar raised his head up and stared at me. Nothing between us but grass and air. I dropped down to my knees as I think being smaller makes the animal more relaxed. He sat up, staring daggers through me.
I dialed my sight to 41, drew back, anchored, leveled up and centered my pin on his brisket. I would much rather have had a broadside shot on this beast but my hold felt rock steady, and I knew my bow could deliver a fatal arrow, even on a frontal brown bear.
My index finger slow-squeezed the trigger on my release and the arrow flashed towards the bear hitting him perfect and disappearing. A clean pass-through!
The blondish boar (male bear) sprinted down the creek, alerting a big sow (female) that was nearby. She didn’t know what was going on but didn’t like a male bear running her way aggressively. She ran towards him as he did his short death sprint. He was down in seconds.
She got on the blood trail, followed it to where he piled up dead and started attacking him, and then tried to bury him with grass and dirt like a possessed Tasmanian devil.
This was all happening about 100 yards from us. I yelled at her to get off my bear. Roy started yelling “Hey bear!” and in the end we did get her attention, which wasn’t good. Stay tuned for the rest of that story.
My bear was all good though. She didn’t tear it up too bad. Bit his neck a few times, half covered him up, and pulled some hair out, but he was in good shape. All I knew was that I had arrowed a Pope & Young class brown bear on the first day, on the first stalk of the hunt! And, he had good hair which for July is rare.
We took pics, packed hide and meat back to camp, called Jonah and filled him in on our early success. Spirits were high. I think we called Jonah on the satellite phone at about 3:30 p.m. and he said ‘not too bad guys, but he would have probably had one killed a little earlier in the day’. Haha. He then jumped in his Super Cub and headed our way.
The good news, I still had another brown bear tag, a black bear tag and lots of days left to hunt. It was hard not being a little surprised with our early success but as Roy reminded me, “This is what we do.”
That’s why I love hunting with him, always so confident.