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Kissed by an Elk
Sitka in the Khalarhi
Black and White
Author: Sitka Ambassador Bob Robb
Jul 13, 2012
Hardy mountain men have been pursuing game throughout the world with hounds for centuries. Idaho natives
Chris and Kody Korell
are throwbacks, real second-generation cowboys and houndsmen who specialize catching big black bears and mountain lions (as well as horseback wilderness elk and deer hunts, and winter wolf hunts) for clients in the 500 square miles that encompasses their exclusive guide areas in Idaho hunting units 33, 35 and 39.
I first hunted bears with hounds in Oregon in the 1980’s, before it was outlawed in that state. Prior to that first hunt I thought, “Shoot, how tough can it be? Dogs chase bear. Dogs catch bear. Hunter casually strolls in and shoots bear, just like that.” How naïve I was! That hunt saw me chasing hounds and bear up and down some of the steepest, most rugged country imaginable in a driving rainstorm before I connected. Last year I hunted with the Korell brothers and had the same experience. My buddy Derrick Nawrocki and I bailed off the side of a brush-choked, 60-degree slope above the roaring Payette River with Cody and Chris, only to find the bear holed up in a cave! Derrick arrowed it anyway. The pack back to the truck – we had to walk around the mountain in a 4-hour ordeal more reminiscent of a mountain sheep hunt – was a leg crusher. The next day in a sleet storm I did almost the same thing, ending up at the bottom of a steep ravine where the dogs had a big cinnamon bear bayed up in thick brush. I waded across the thigh-deep torrent and arrowed him. It took four of us to drag that whopper across the river and up to the truck.
In early June of this year my team found similar luck, and while we didn’t have any death march hikes, there was still lots of work involved in following the wonderful Walkers that Chris and Cody run. Texan Aaron Dusek took a beautiful cinnamon boar – his first bear – after an hour’s march behind the dogs, and Barry Lovette of Alabama also took his first bear. Both hunts required some hiking, but were pretty routine. So why, then, when it was my turn, did it get crazy?
My bear towed the hounds for five miles, ending up on a steep, 60-degree timbered slope. When I finally got an arrow through him, he rolled 500 yards further downhill. The big chocolate boar weighed an estimated 300 pounds – that’s big for a mountain bear – and the pack with hide, skull and paws weighed 80 pounds. That was quite a load up that thousand-yard pull!
On both my Korell hunts I wore Sitka clothing – not for the GORE™ OPTIFADE™ Concealment, but for the performance characteristics of the garments themselves. On top was a Sitka Core SS Crew short-sleeved t-shirt covered by a Core Zip-T long-sleeved shirt, while on the bottom was a pair of Ascent pants. These garments are ideal for mountain hunting in warm weather, offering great flexibility and durability. On chilly mornings, a Jetstream vest kept the chill at bay.
Bears with hounds. It’s wild and wooly, with a high success rate on mature boars when you follow hounds run by real mountain men like Chris and Cody.
Core Crew SS
Core Zip T
Nice Bear and great story! Curious to know if you used or have used any of the Sitka Packs for your pack-outs. Considering a new pack this year...
Blake Simmons Posted At 7/31/2012 11:34 AM
Nice work Bob! I've always wanted to hunt behind dogs; the whole scenario just screams "adrenaline rush"! Good to see you on the Insight page!
Luke Johnson Posted At 7/14/2012 11:52 PM
Cool story, thanks for sharing.....
Dan Mallia Posted At 7/14/2012 08:13 PM
Congrats Bob! Nice bear and a great photo lineup to tell the story...
Chad Bell Posted At 7/13/2012 11:29 PM
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