As much as journalists like to tell your stories for you, there are times when the tale needs to be told in your own words. This is one of them.
Let me introduce you to Sam Allen, 26, of Sedgwick, who ended up killing a bear during his deer hunt.
In Sam’s words: “If I didn’t have pictures, you wouldn’t believe it.”
I had been messaging a friend of mine here and there through the morning, showing him the sign I was finding.
It wasn’t minutes later, I heard a buck come crashing through the thickets. I could just see the tops of some trees shaking from him thrashing them with his antlers. He stepped out into the opening and before I got the sights on him, he stepped behind a big pine tree.
He was massive. He kept playing peek-a-boo with me around the tree. He was sticking his nose in the air sniffing and licking trying to get a scent of what was grunting. I could have shot him in the neck but I assumed surely he would eventually step out and give me the shot I wanted.
Instead he went behind the pine and laid down. I took a few steps to my right to get a good position. I tried grunting again to entice him to stand up. He wouldn’t, he just laid there and looked straight at me.
I was aiming a little high trying not to hit a boulder in between us when I fired a round out of my single shot .308. The buck took off and that was the last time I saw that deer. I looked and looked and looked and had my friend Tyler come in and help me look for this buck.
Not one stitch of blood or hair. After two or three hours of looking, we deemed it a clean miss and zig-zagged our way out of there. A clean miss is a win in my book because that means I didn’t wound and lose him.
So fast forward to Saturday, Nov. 11. I couldn’t wait to get back in that same area in hopes of catching up with that buck again. I tried sitting in a tree stand for a while, but I only sat for 30 minutes because I couldn’t wait to head that way.
I started my still-hunt back into this new area. I had told my friend Tyler that I was headed back in to hopefully redeem myself from last weekend. A couple hours went by working myself down a pretty steep hill when near the bottom I caught some movement. Finding a good opening, I saw it was a bear!
It looked to be shooter size (150 pounds) and it appeared to be pawing at the ground. I love bear meat, but I didn’t have the time this year to bait bears. So, I got him in the cross-hairs and pulled the trigger.
The .308 dropped him right where he was standing. I gave him a few minutes and messaged Tyler again, letting him know that I had shot a bear. Tyler, being surprised, called me and said he would load up his four-wheeler and be on his way to help.
I got off the phone with him and I walked up to the bear in absolute disbelief at what I was looking at. I immediately called Tyler back to tell him that I shot this bear on top of a big buck and that the animal was in the process of covering it up with dirt to hide it.
Tyler said to take a lot of pictures and to leave it as it was so he could see it himself. He had asked how big the bear was and I had said it was a fairly good-sized bear.
After taking a few minutes to soak in what was going on, I made the long hike back to the car to head home and grab the trailer and load the wheeler, some straps and a chainsaw. I called a couple other people I knew were in the area who would be willing to help drag the bear out.
On my way back in, I picked up my friend Mark and met Tyler and his cousin Wade waiting for us.
We made the long walk back into where the bear and deer were with the boys just a bitchin’ about how far out in the woods we were. We finally got to the big bank and made it to the bottom where the bear and deer were.
The boys were in disbelief, and Tyler said, “That ain’t no average-sized bear. Holy shit.”
After all of us took our share of photos, we began to make a plan for calling a game warden about the deer and to get the bear out of there. We carefully inspected the deer looking for a bullet hole, wondering if maybe it was the deer I had shot at the weekend before.
We didn’t find a hole anywhere and the deer seemed too fresh to have been dead for a week. I had asked the fellas if we could leave the bear whole because the animals are normally weighed that way but the boys disagreed and said to clean the bear out right there.
The bear was big.
I had a brand new knife where you can switch the blades out when they get dull, but I didn’t have any extras (blades) with me, which was no big deal. But I didn’t even break through the skin on the bear and the blade snapped. No one else had brought a knife with them except for Wade.
Wade happened to have a box cutter with him that he recently was cutting ice and water shield with. And that’s how I ended up cleaning the bear out — using a box cutter. It was unbelievable but we got it done.
We barely got the bear into the jet sled, then made the miserable drag up the big hill. Once we got to the top, we all agreed to zig-zag the four wheeler down into where we were. So I made the long walk back to the wheeler and zig-zagged my way back into the fellas.
While I was doing that, the boys had managed to drag the bear another 100 yards or so. It was a huge relief to the fellas to see the wheeler. It was a good easy drag from there to the truck a mile or so back. We loaded it up and headed to the tagging station.
The station’s winch wasn’t working so we couldn’t weigh it. I called a game warden and he met me at my house. He was surprised to see me pull up in a Prius lifted 2 ½ inches with 350,000 miles hauling a 12-foot trailer with a wheeler and a bear on it.
From there I took the warden to the site and showed him all of my pictures. He checked the buck over and said he couldn’t find any bullet holes. The back leg was broken and (the deer was) missing some of the hind end.
He said the bear might have actually killed this deer, because bears usually start with the hind end. The deer could have been walking around with a broken leg and the bear grabbed him. He said the deer had only been dead a few days.
After that we headed to another tagging station just to get the bear weighed up. Little did I know I had shot a 332lb dressed black bear on top of an absolute stud of a buck.
The game warden said it’s quite the story and he’s never seen anything like it before. He gave me a tag for the buck.
I took the bear and the deer head over to Sam Cassida at Cassida’s Taxidermy. We decided on a half mount of the bear on top of a dirt pile with the deer head poking out of the pile. Just how it was when I saw the bear.
After sharing the news about this hunt of a lifetime, I started getting messages from locals that have seen that buck limping around with a broken leg. I’ve also been sent trail camera photos of him and you can see him not putting pressure on the leg.
I was trying to trap my first bear in 2021. I had this same bear and a small bear taking turns setting it off. One night I caught this huge bear with my critter-done pipe trap. He had the cable around his wrist for 45 minutes and he slipped out of it. I then ended up catching the smaller bear and harvested it.
The chances of a hunter seeing a bear when hunting from a stand is slim, but it does happen sometimes.
The chances of a hunter walking up to one in the woods is very rare because they are very smart animals that don’t want to be seen. I think this guy let his guard down thinking he was the biggest, baddest one in that area.
This hunt of a lifetime isn’t something you can do again. It was just pure luck and being at the right place at the right time. That just goes to show that if you put the time in the woods eventually you will have some good memories and stories to tell.
It is a hunt I will never forget and I’m sure for the boys it is a drag they will never forget or want to do again. At least for a while. I want to thank Mark Grant, Wade Grindle and Tyler Snow for their help.
Definitely wouldn’t have been able to get it done without you fellas.