Jun 30 2014
Calling Brown Bears - Billy Molls
When it comes to hunting gear and gadgets I consider myself to be a minimalist, but after hearing from so many friends and their success with calling black bears I figured I’d get a sow-in-heat call and pull it out if the right opportunity presented itself. It just so happened that on the very first hunt I guided this past spring in Alaska I was able put my new call to use.
We were seven days into the hunt. The weather finally turned favorable and the bears were starting to move. On the far side of the lake we were hunting, a bear appeared on a promontory, two-thirds of the way up the mountainside. After just a few seconds of studying the bear through my spotting scope, just before he retreated back into the security of the alder bushes, I became fairly confident that it was a mature boar. After several minutes passed with no sign of the bear, I concluded that he likely bedded back down. My hunter and I decided to make the ambitious climb, hoping that my gut instinct was correct-that it was a 9 1/2'-foot boar.
After two laborious hours of climbing we relocated the bear. Tucked in a depression that was encompassed my alders, we could only see the sleeping bear's back. We set up as close as the terrain would allow. From 180 yards I made several voice-made predator squeals, not only to wake the bear and offer me a clear view to judge him, but I also hoped that he might come closer to us and offer an easy shot.
Increasing the volume of each squeal, I finally caught the bear’s attention. He stood on his haunches on several occasions, only to lie back down. After several loud, frenzied squeals, the bear rose on all fours. I continued to mimic a deer in distress, which I have done successfully on several occasions, but this bear wouldn’t budge. I grabbed the sow-in-heat call and made one long, drawn out sow moan. That was all it took. The bear marched right to us. As he entered a clearing I got a good look at the shape of his head, the width of shoulders, his overall body mass, and his ivory-white claws. I was confident it was a boar. Seconds later I had a very happy hunter.
Over the years of guiding I tend to throw more things out of my pack than in it (I’m getting older and wiser, or maybe just lazier), but I’ll be keeping that call in my bag of tricks. Not only was it effective, but there are few things in this world that are more exciting than watching a mature bear “hunt” you.