November/December 2012 EBJ (Issue 74) - The spring of 2012 was late. The mountains were still packed with snow and even our local ski hill was able to stay open for an extra two weeks. The grizzly tag in my pocket was not getting a solid effort at getting cut due to the late spring and conflicting schedule with my regular hunting partner, Rod Aspden, who had also drawn a grizzly tag in the same unit. My brother, Jeff, also drew the same tag, however, his professional lacrosse schedule was getting in the way as it usually does and he would not be able to make it out until the late season.
By the end of May, I had only been out once, and though I had seen a lot of black bears, there were no grizzly sightings and lots of snow still in the bush and on the mountains. I was chomping at the bit to get out again, but I knew my lovely wife would not be happy to see me go out alone to bowhunt a grizzly. I needed to coax someone to go out with me.
One of my co-workers, Braden Chamberlin, also had days off, so I decided to try and convince him that he was in need of a great wilderness experience. Though Braden and I have a lot in common, one of the things we do not share is my love for bowhunting and the great outdoors. Braden is more of a city-slicker and his outings include fancy hotels and trips to the beach. When I called him and asked him if he would like to go grizzly hunting for the day he was reluctant. He had never been in the woods before, besides work related incidents and a weekend trip to bible camp when he was 12, nor had he ever seen a wild grizzly. I tried to coax him further and told him that the odds of seeing a grizzly were next to none, especially a grizzly that we could stalk. Plus, finding one big enough to shoot made the odds even worse. He told me he would think about it and get back to me in the next hour.
Moments later I got a text message from Braden stating: I just Googled "when grizzlies attack.” No thanks, that does not look very fun to me. Well, after a bunch of messages from me telling him that, really, we were just going to go check out the area and again assuring him that there was a minute chance of seeing a grizzly, he reluctantly agreed to go.
I picked Braden up and we headed to the unit where I had drawn my grizzly tag. I have been blessed enough to have already shot two grizzlies with a bow and I assured Braden that I wasn’t even interested in shooting a third one unless it was big.
Once we entered my zone, we planned on driving to an area where a local conservation officer had spotted some grizzlies the spring before. While driving and blabbing about work, both Braden and I looked to the right, and to our amazement, there was a big grizzly standing out in a clear cut. I expected it to bolt away, but it just stood there and continued to feed on the fresh green grass. I stopped and took a minute to assess the situation. To my surprise, the big grizzly still did not run away. While keeping my eye on it, I pulled my bow out from the back seat and prepared for the stalk.
I walked into the ditch and out into the field toward the grizzly. It was now well aware that something was up and began to stare at me. I ranged it at 23 yards, but the grizzly was facing me and there was no shot. After an intense stare down which seemed like a long time, but was probably only about 30 seconds, the giant woofed at me and turned broadside momentarily in an attempt to walk away into the timber.
At that time, I came to full draw, settled my top pin directly behind its shoulder, checked my level and released. I watched the arrow bury right into the sweet spot and disappear into the bear’s thick spring hide. The grizzly humped up and spun around. I could see the massive exit hole on the opposite side. The bear ran about 15 yards and stopped, staring at me for another ten seconds. I could see its legs wobbling and knew that within seconds the grizzly would be dead.
For a full account of Adam's adventure, go to page 26 in the November/December 2012 issue of Eastmans' Bowhunting Journal.