Alaska, 2008, DIY, Public Land
I froze just as the massive bear turned and looked at me. My grip tightened around the rifle stock as our eyes locked on each other. Time seemed as if it was passing by in slow motion. Suddenly, the bear bolted, coming straight toward me. I raised the rifle and fired, but the bear showed no sign of being hit. As the bear kept charging at an alarming rate, I wondered how an animal that size could move so fast. I cycled the bolt faster than ever and fired a second shot. Again, the huge bear had no reaction. My life was flashing before my eyes as the bear was now only feet away and closing. I knew the bear would be on me in a second, but I felt paralyzed. My last chance at surviving this encounter slid down the barrel as I squeezed the trigger again. The bear suddenly collapsed lifeless and fell to the ground, skidding to a stop only four feet away from where I stood shaking in soiled linen.
Suddenly, I woke up. It was 2 a.m. on opening day of the Kodiak brown bear season. The dream made me apprehensive about getting out of bed. A lot of people overanalyze dreams. I try not to but I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I wondered what lay ahead and hoped and prayed it didn’t involve soiled linen.
I moved to Kodiak, Alaska in August of 2005 for a job with the State. Kodiak Island is home to some of the largest brown bears in the world, and I have always dreamed of taking a large trophy brown bear. Growing up in Montana, the hunting and fishing lifestyle was instilled in me at a very young age. I thank my father for taking the time and teaching me how to hunt and fish, and for spending many hours in the field with me. Those times we spent together will be cherished forever.
For a full account of Dan's adventure, go to page 48 in the August/September 2009 issue of Eastmans' Hunting Journal.