Contributors to this thread:
Brown Bear at Jonah Stewart's
The time is drawing nigh! Wheels up on the 28th and my 8 nights of hunting start on the 29th. I'm gonna be hunting out of a ground blind with the struggle stick and I'm seriously debating leaving the compound at home. Jonah has been super easy to work with throughout this entire process and as far as archery Brown's are concerned he's got a better track record than Usain Bolt. I'm in good hands!
The Phase 4 is tuned up (incase I wind up taking it) and the Tall Tines is doing what the Tall Tines does.
Any advice, gee-whizzers or "I wish I'd have done this/that differently" from you guys would be very much appreciated.
The 2023 season is here!!!!
I have no advice but I do wish you lots of luck and I hope you get a monster !!!
Don’t take any hero shots with you in the pic……The animal will look WAY bigger!
Good luck, Eric!
Have a fun hunt and post pictures!
Best way to shoot an animal with your bow is to leave your rifle at home and make your guide understand 100% if he offers you HIS rifle he won’t get a tip…
Best way to kill an animal with your stickbow is to leave your compound home.
Many talk a big game but very few have the willpower to see their goal thru. The more difficult you can make it on yourself to “cheat” the better chance of success of meeting your goal you will have.
You will connect. Stay focused. C
Jonah and his outfit are top notch.
Be sure to take just your compound. That way you are leveraging Murphy's Law to get within 12 yards of an apex predator. :)
Shewski...truer words have never been spoken and I couldn't agree more. I've been shooting the recurve like an Apache lately the only concern is the bear hanging up out of range as Owl mentioned. In all likelihood I'll take it in the first night with the recurve, get a feel for the bait, area, blind, etc and make the decision from there whether or not to bring it back.
Brown bear with a bow is the goal. Brown Bear with the recurve is preferred.
Good luck, enjoy the adventure
Right on man. You make the goals, you keep them! Good luck, I can’t wait to see the results. Jonah is top notch.
I hunted with Jonah in 2014 and shot a bear with a recurve from a tree stand at under 15 yards. I would expect Jonah will have you in a blind with the bait at about that distance, but no more than 20. I also am betting you are not going to have many chances at a greater distance anyway because of the vegetation. You say you are shooting your recurve really well now and have already taken a polar bear with your recurve at 25 yards (and a more stressful shot!), so you have the confidence and the proven ability. I think the only question is which bow you would rather use to take a brown bear. When you look back at this adventure which one will give you the most satisfaction? Will you have any regrets?
Perfect!! That's exactly the kind of intel I need to hear! Under 15 is amazing and not being more than 20 because of vegetation just saved me an extra baggage fee! PM incoming sir.
You will connect. Stay focused. C
Best of luck! We'll need lots of pics!
Been there and done that, with a compound, on the first sit. Good luck and post a pic.
good luck. you will do great
Good luck eric. You’ll get it done.
And T-Roy, idk he might give the bear a run for its money hahahah
Good luck safe travels pal…
take the recurve. its a huge deal to kill that bear with the stickbow. just wait for the right shot.
Good luck safe travels pal…
Good luck man….such a fun hunt.
Best of luck my friend. No word of advice from me, you got this. Hopefully by late august we can be sharing bear stories.
Everybody asked if my name was Eric at P and Y. Easy to confuse me I said. Those brown is come in and lay down quickly while eating a lot of times. When the leave they often do not provide much time for a good shot . Be ready when they do get up. Take lots of reading material. Get em
How do you go about judging the size on a grizzly at a bait?
Blackbear, when I hunted with Jonah, I looked at my guide to tell me whether it was a shooter or not. The guide was in a tree stand 6’ from me. He gave me a thumbs up, and I arrowed it.
Good luck Eric... a big bear is in trouble. Ed F
Good luck Eric...looking forward to the success photos and recap...you got this!
Make sure you practice shooting from a blind. The dept perception from a small window is very different! Shots hit much higher shooting through that small window. I found out the hard way on a white tail. I imagine a pissed off Brown bear will be more of a problem than my deer. Good luck on your hunt.
Best of luck Eric! Almost feel a bit sorry for the bear with you going in after it.
Best of luck and a full report would be appreciated. I am also strongly considering a hunt with Jonah in 25 or 26 with the single string. For any others that have done this feel free to chime in and give a full update including your setup.
Best of Luck and be patience. Would love to know the make up of your arrow and broadhead and draw weight.
Eric, I hope we cross paths. My flight leaves on friday. I'll leave one for you!
@ Shiras42, I'll def throw down the play-by-play once I'm back in VA.
Interesting idea about the perception from the blind @pocoloco! That would have never crossed my mind. I'll set mine up tomorrow and give 'er a go. Very solid insight BTW, thank you!
@goelk in shooting a 58" Tall Tines, 48 @ 29.5, Black Eagle Vintage arrows cut to 30" with an Iron Will S200 w/bleeder running point. The TAW is 565 grains and I shoot them off the shelf. Not really a fan of tabs so instead I used a Bodnik speed glove. It's tillered for 3 under but I "hair trigger" it and use 2. lol. It feels more comfortable to pull and release with 2 fingers and it's 33.3333333% easier than releasing all 3 cleanly. I'll take every advantage I can get!
@Mikecastillo that would be awesome. Best of luck and safe travels! I hope you ground a giant!!!!
Good luck Eric! You killed a Polar Bear the hard way.................this hunt should be “easy” in comparison! Have fun!
MA-PAdeerslayer: I think t-roy meant the BEAR will look SMALL if Eric is in the picture! ;-)
What’s the hard way to kill a polar bear?
I read Erics review on his polar bear and it was awesome.
Just not sure what the hard way was
Can’t wait for the update! Good luck!
Hahaha he must have perry hahaha
Shoot straight, and good luck. Will some else be in the blind with you?
@LB I'll have a guide over my shoulder in the blind. Apparently that's the rule in AK regardless of how big you are! lol
Good luck. I’ll be there mid June
Stickbow or compound, it’s still an accomplishment. Good luck either way !
One cool thing Alaska does is fish and game pulls a tooth out of each bear to age it. Today I found out from them mine is 20 years old. Scored 27” and squared at 9’4”. They told me that’s a good old bear to take and the oldest they’ve tested was 28 years old
Kind of cool part of the trip
Do he video his hunts? Should be an instant classic! Good luck.
Pulling for you Eric, good luck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Are there "rules" in place if things go sour after the shot? Do you Have to give the guide the "go ahead" to put lead in it?
Can't wait to hear about the trip!
I was in a ground blind a couple of years ago. Great advice to practice inside AND practice in the blind in the black of night as it gets dark from 1-4. Make sure you ask Jonah how far as my bait pile was anywhere from 20-30 yards (and the bears spread out the food a little to make longer shots). I never had anything close to a 15 yard shot from my blind. Good luck and stay awake as they are looooong sits.
27” Wow!! Post pics of that brute again
C’mon Eric...................we’re all waiting for the story! ;-)
The last handful of days have been a whirlwind! I'm back at work with some down time so let's get into it!
So I left for Alaska Sunday around 5:30pm and after a quick stop in Seattle I'm met at the Anchorage airport by Jonah and Sharad. It was midnight and it was just getting dark.....well as dark as it get's in Alaska this time of year. After about and hour ride we make it to Jonah's house. It was late and after a full day of travel I was beat. The plan was to be in the air around 9-10am the next day. I find my bunk and crash. I got a few hours of sleep before my interal clock that was still on East Coast time tells me to get up. I was still exhausted but we had bears on the brain and it was go-time!
I get to the business of putting my bows together, checking specs and slinging arrows to ensure I was still dialed in prior to leaving for camp. I shot 15-20 recurve shots that all hit themark and 2 shots out of the compound that were both touching at 20. The bows were good to go. Jonah pulled me aside and we took a peek at a few trail cam pics. Two big bears were on my bait with one being an absolute dream bear. Huge, thick bear with a perfect hide, gorgeous color and a massive head. The other one was still big but much less impressive. Of course this sent me into overdrive! The bait I was hunting didn't require a river crossing so I was able to skip the chest waders and pack a bit lighter. Once I got all my gear sorted I loaded up with Jonah and off we went.
The flight out was gorgeous! It was a clear day and the views were amazing. We saw numerous bears from the air and after a brief flight we landed a couple miles from the blind. Jonah left John and I to set up camp while he went to get my guide, Harold. Now I didn't know this at the time but Harold is quite an accomlished trad hunter. In the 10 hours we spent in the blind together it became crystal clear that I was sitting next to a man that's accomplsihed more with stick and string than could ever dream. I was definitely in good hands.
It's around 1pm and Johan comes back with Harold. Together he, John, Harold and I all fly to the bait. We get set up in the blind while John and Jonah (loudly) touch up the bait and the hunt is on.
An hour later I catch movement! I see a massive swath of brown moving slowly to the bait. I had tension on the string instantly. It was the smaller of the two bears and I was ready to drop the string on this guy the second he gave me an opportunity. Even though I knew he was the smaller bear he still looked huge. Thankfully Harold had the good sense to talk me off the ledge and ensure me that the other bear would come in and that we could do better. The smaller bear stuck around for a bit then wondered off.
A few hours pass and I see what looks to be a brown Sherman tank lumbering towards the bait. It was the target bear and HE WAS HUUUGE!!!!! He had literally everything I'd wanted in a brown bear, huge head, gorgeous color, full hide, the works! He came in and laid on the bait facing us head on......no shot. He'd paw around, adjust positions, stand up and plop right back down, again...no shot. At one point he picks his head up to look back from the direction he came and is clearly nervous. I'm thinking it has to be a legit monster if its making this bear nervous. He stands up, takes two steps backwards, quickly turns, again offering no shot. He walks 20 yards back the way he came, looked around and then came back! The second time he came in was a carbon copy of the first, laying down facing us with no shot. After maybe 10-15 minutes he stands up and bolts. I ready my bow thinking a titan is about to show up.......nope! It was the skinny bear with the shitty attitude. He blew my bear off the bait and the action settled down for a while.
Around 9pm the parade of black bears started. We wound up seeing 5 blacks with 2 being really good bears. My focus was solely on a brown so I didn't even bother getting a black bear tag. I didn't want having a black bear tag in my pocket distract me from the job at hand. That being said if I had a tag it would have gotten punched on one of those bears. They were big and had flawless hides. Not long after the blacks came in Skinny decided to show up and push his weight around. Well the big black wasn't having it and pushed back. They fought in the area of the blind for 10 minutes or so before they all cleared off.
Around 11:20pm it happens. Tank rolls back in and this time he's not laying down. He comes in and feeds standing for bit. My bow is up and ready and I've got tension on the string. If this bear gives me a shot I'm sitting on as much of a hair trigger as I can with this recurve. As he feeds he takes a step towards the blind, then another and then another. He pauses for a second then commits to walking across my shooting path at 5 yards! I anticipate his foot coming forward and as it does I send an arrow through both of his lungs. I had just put a perfectly placed arrow in the bear of a lifetime!! He spins and growls at the hit, walks out 15-20 yards and is trying in earnest to find out what hit him, another 4-5 steps and he goes down hard. I can't beleive what had just happened. The size of this animal at that distance was the most intense situation I've been in other than the polar bear hunt. In my excitement I try my best to shake the life out of Harold. That didn't work so I resorted to a bearhug. It seemed fitting given the siutation. After I few seconds I looks over to him and say "please don't tell me we have to wait an hour before we go look at him." His response, "with that shot we should be good to go whenever." The bear was literally dead within seconds. Upon inspection I center punched both lungs and the broadhead was coming out the other side. This was the same exact head I took my musk ox, polar bear and black bear with and it was still very sharp. If it was a fresh head I have no doubt that it would have blown through him.
The walk up to that bear was crazy. He got bigger every step I took and I couldn't have been happier with him!!!
I have a good video of the shot and recovery on my social media accounts. On FB just search for Eric Bethune or search IG for thejuggernock and the vids are there. My stuff is public so no need to add me to see the vids.
The moral of the story: Jonah Stewart has his shit together! The entire squad is cooler than the other side of the pillow and no stone is left unturned. Skylar makes amazing home cooked meals for camp, the logistics went off like clockwork and there is no shortage of big bears. Everybody there is super friendly and easy to get along with. If I'm ever in the market for a good hunt in Alaska I'm calling Jonah first, that is if he'll have me back after breaking his plane!!!
Cheers fellas and thank y'all for the continued support. You guys truly are the best!!
Congratulations on a trophy of a lifetime! Heck of an accomplishment with the stick bow.
Great bear and great shot! Did know you could fly and hunt same day in AK
Fantastic, I took mine at 22yards and I can’t imagine 5 yards.
You’re spot on with Jonah. I echo your comments. I booked moose with him in 2024 and can’t wait to see what he has in store for me
Congrats Eric what a great bear!
Outfrikenstanding... congratulations. Ed F
Your passion for the bow hunt is a sparkling example to us all. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. Congrats.
What did he square? I watched all the videos, super cool and close!
Nice videos, congrats on the bear!
Congrats, Eric! Awesome bear and recap. And I agree 100%, Jonah and crew are top notch!
Congratulations on a beautiful brownie eric!
Luke, he squared 8.5ft and his skull green scored a shade under 25". If Jonah had bears to pick from on a shelf I'd take home the exact bear I shot. He's literally soooooo perfect to me. There isn't a hair out of place! Def doing a full body mount on this guy.
Incredible. Awesome shot! Thanks for the tale, sounds like an absolute blast.
Way to go Eric! You don’t mess around! ;-)
Now how’d you break the plane? : )
Great Bear. Congratulations!
Congratulations on an absolutely fantastic bear!
Perry, I bent the seat frame on the flight in. He flipped it around and I bent it back heading home. lol. You can't take me anywhere.........smh.
congrats you're on fire lately
Congratulations! Thanks for sharing.
Living the dream. Strong work!!
Living the dream. Strong work!!
Congrats again my friend. Maybe one of these hunts you can make last more than 1 day!
LMAO! Thanks Jim! I think these guys want me out of camp quick. I'm too hard on the Mountain House supply!
Dude. Un-fricking real. Hoping we’re hunting on Kodiak together so that at least one of us will kill a big one! Haha Congrats again bud!
Living the dream. Strong work!!
HUNTs so happy he STRONG WORKED that mfr 3 times for ya! Ha!
Terrific bear, Eric! Congrats!
So Eric is bigger than the bears Troy…he broke the plane. Hahahaha. Awesome dude! Congrats! Can’t wait to see the mount!
Congratulations again on an awesome bear....giving into peer pressure isn't always a bad thing...one grizzly away from a recurve bear slam, nobody likes a quiter...
Yep…. Can’t quit now my friend….
Good read and a great bear! Well done!
Great story! Struggle stick, shmuggle stick!!!
Excellent bear, Congrats Eric! Fast hunt...and Harold is the real deal!
Are you going to retire that broadhead yet or going to shoot some other giant?
Think like a ballerina or walk :)
Spectacular! Congratulations again on another hunt of many lifetimes!
Congratulations on a world-class accomplishment! Well done and deserved.
That’s a gorgeous brown bear. Congratulations!
My ballerina-ish grace was on full display, Nick! lol.
I've gotten a few "fly and hunt on the same day" questions. This rule doesn't apply for baited hunts and rightfully so. It wouldn't make much since to restrict flying to get to animals you're baiting so not having that requirement makes since in this situation.
@Tim, I'm gonna touch the edge up, swap out the bleeder and it's going to the deer woods this fall! I might never need another broadhead. lol
@Jason, that trip is gonna be epic. I can't wait to get on the boat!!
@Gene, a recurve bear slam does have a nice ring to it.......
Thanks for all the support fellas!!!
Outstanding bear! Congrats!!!
So Eric is hard on the wildlife, the planes AND the mountain house...................NOT surprised! He is LARGER than life! ;-)
WELL DONE sir!
Congrats on a beautiful bear and what a great experience. The way you tell it makes the 30 k palpable lol. I'd retire that BH and would feel a bit sad if I lost it in a deer lol. Maybe a nice little wood plaque with the head in it and a list of animals it's taken? Look forward to see how your mount comes out.
Congrats again bud, what an amazing bear and adventure!
Now that is the way you do it! Way to go!
Harold guided me also. We talked nonstop in the blind. Bear came in and shot it. He has a lot of good stories and we are of similar opinion politically. Lol. Congrats!!
Amazing hunt and videos! Congrats Eric!
Congrats! What an amazing hunt.
Congrats and thanks for sharing the story. If I remember correctly, your polar bear did not go far as well. Two big bears and no tracking with the recurve. Cant beat that!
2 hunts he’s worried about the struggle stick…. 2 hunts he shoots giants….
Thanks for sharing, that sounds like a great adventure!
Congratulations on a beautiful bear! Thanks for sharing how big he really is, when I saw that first picture I thought you shot a cub :)
WOW, amazing!!! Congrats!!!
Need to tell those guys over on the Leatherwall ya can kill a big Brown bear with a 48# recurve...8^)
That's quite an accomplishment! I don't know what's left for you to do, maybe you need to go after the Yeti...Congratulations!
What an awesome animal and adventure!! Congrats!!
@LBshooter I agree. Losing it in a deer would hurt and I like the idea of retiring it. I 100% got my money out of it. lol. Maybe I could do like a shadowbox with pics of the animals around it? The wheels are def turning.....
Thanks again for all the pats on the back guys. I'm super grateful for all the support and kind words!
@rattling_junkie holy giant tree batman! Hope nothing was seriously damaged and glad nobody got hurt. Also...Nate's bear checked all the boxes. Way to go y'all!! Can not wait for '24.