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One Happy Hunter McGrath!

One Happy Hunter McGrath!

Hunter McGrath of Dallas, Texas is no stranger at Wildman Lake Lodge. In 2008, he and his brother, Brian, enjoyed a 7 day Cast & Blast Package that Butch & Kathy donated to Dallas Safari Convention. Returning this spring to hunt for a trophy Alaska Brown Bear, during what Butch described as an unusual spring season. "It has been a warm spring, but not terribly hot, but it is quite evident by the abundant snow pack up high, there was a lot of parcipitation last winter, snow up high and rain in the lower elevations" Then when spring came and it warmed up, the bears stayed higher, longer and the valleys greened up right away. Mid-season when most of the bears were finally out of their snowy dens, they stayed up where it was cool. Only this last week did they start bailing off the tops and into the already green brush below. It's like hunting bears in the summer, but very few have started rubbing and most still have beautiful coats." Butch said, describing his 45th Brown Bear season on the Alaska Peninsula.

After spending the first five days in a camp near the Pacific coast, it became evident that the bears were definitely favoring the higher elevations and the northern side of the Peninsula. This was not working in Hunter's favor. Butch decided to relocate Hunter and his guide to a camp on the other side of the mountains where the bears seemed to be more active. The pace picked right up for Hunter and his gudie Jason, who spotted three breeding pair of Brown Bear on their first hunting day at the new location. The following day, Hunter had his first stock on a trophy bear, which was foiled when the bear dissappeared into the already green willows. Not to be discouraged, Hunter and Jason were up early and at the glassing hill, when they spotted a big boar playing tag with a sow on the other side of the valley. They decided to circle downwind and close the distance. About half way through the stock, the boar must have decided he had enough of this old girl and went on walk-about, which was directly toward the ridge they had been glassing from. If they were going to head off the bear, they needed to double time it back to the glassing hill, then down the ridge to intercept the bear before he got around the point of the hill. It proved to be too much to accomplish in the time allowed. The boar got around to point, crossed the creek and into the green brush, just two minutes ahead of the hunter and guide.

Oh well, back to the glassing hill. After a bad case of binocular eye and a short nap with the spotting scope for a chin rest, Jason spots a big bear, maybe the same guy, with a sow coming up out of the brush along the creek. Hunter and guide closed the distance and were in the intercept position, as the sow, followed by the boar, walked right to them, Jason grinned "We got him."

Hunter, not quite as confident, was worrying about snaking a bullet around the sow to get to the big boar before they got too close. At 40 yards, the sow cleared, Hunter got two 300 grain A-Frames into the big bruin when the guide yelled, "Stop Shooting! Don't hit the sow" , as she came back in the line of fire. The boar turned to escape, but only made it 30 yards to die in the creek. Another Big Bear, in the skinning shed and one happy HUNTER McGRATH. 

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