I had been waiting
anxiously for several hours, and dusk was approaching when the bear
appeared. My guide, Garry Nemetchek had put me on my stand in the
early afternoon, then gone to check on my father (pictured with me
above), who was hunting a stand in another area. I was unaware that
Garry had returned and was watching from a distance. Although he was
a lifelong professional guide, he had never guided a black powder
hunter before, and was skeptical about my muzzleloader.
From his position, Garry could not see the bear, but was able to
watch me aim and fire. Even to a professional bear hunter, who had
literally seen dozens of bears shot with high power rifles, the fire
and smoke and roar of a heavy black powder rifle charge at dusk was a
stirring experience. The shot was well placed. The bear bolted into
the bush and traveled about 60 yards before dropping. The heavy slug
had traveled completely through the huge bear, coming to rest under
the hide on the far side.
I was especially proud to have taken this trophy with a traditional
19th century style muzzleloader as Garry had told me that earlier in
the season a hunter using a modern, scoped, high power rifle had
missed an opportunity at a huge bear in this same area. When skinning
the bear we found the half healed wound on his rump. Traditional
craftsmanship and skill had succeeded where modern technology had
Tal has lots of good muzzleloader information at
Muzzleloading Site, Tell him I sent you.