By John E. Phillips
United States -(AmmoLand.com)- I’m often asked why I’ve decided to hunt polar bears.
I think it’s one of the five greatest adventure hunts on earth, and I was lucky enough to be able to put together a hunt in Resolute Bay in the province of Nunavut, Canada, with Nathaniel Kalluk.
I chose this guide since he had hunted with many bear hunters before, including many of my friends, and had been very successful guiding bowhunters to polar bears.
He understands bowhunting and bowhunters, a critical ingredient to taking a polar bear with a bow. He realizes how efficient an arrow can be for taking a polar bear.
The adventure of a polar-bear hunt is more about getting to the polar bear than it is actually shooting the polar bear with your bow. I traveled to Resolute Bay with Tracy Frost, another PSE shooter who had a hunt scheduled with the same outfitter. To reach Resolute Bay, we were on four different airplanes. The last plane was a single-engine plane. The only way to sport-hunt polar bears is to travel by dog sled. We traveled about 50- to 100-miles from the village out on the ice, to start hunting. We left the first day, got halfway to our destination and set-up a tent camp. Nathaniel put caribou hides on the ground and had a little heater in the tent, so camp was quite comfortable, even though the temperature was 30-degrees-below zero outside. We broke camp and loaded-up the gear. I rode inside the dogsled for half a day.
Then Nathaniel told me, “We’re finally in polar-bear country.”
We looked for polar-bear tracks, but after not finding any bears or bear signs, we set-up camp again and went to sleep. We woke-up the next morning to a major snowstorm.
We were tent-bound for 3 days with zero visibility and lots of fog and snow. All we could do was sit in the tent, drink coffee, read books, talk and sleep. Losing 3 days of hunting time really was nerve-racking, since the hunt was so expensive.
But Nathaniel told me, “Don’t worry. We’ll have plenty of hunting time left. If you need extra days to get your bear, we won’t count the 3 days we’ve spent in the tent.”
That was a huge relief. That statement took the pressure of me trying to find and take a bear. As we hunted for polar bears after experiencing horrible weather at Resolute Bay in Canada, we spotted six to 10 bears that first day after the weather finally broke, and the skies cleared, but no big bears. Primarily, we saw females with cubs and smaller bears that were not trophy quality.
Nathaniel could see the bears farther out on the ice than I could. I was surprised that the bears appeared to be yellow against the ice, not white.
The next day, we found a trophy-sized polar bear. We got as close as we could with the dog sled; then Nathaniel turned two of his sled dogs loose. Those dogs really enjoyed chasing polar bears. When they got close to the bear, they circled him to get his attention. The dogs were focused on the bear, and the bear had his undivided attention on the dogs, which gave me time to slip-in close. When I was within 30 yards of the bear, I aimed for the lung area right behind the front leg. The bear had backed-up against a big pile of snow, and I had to hold my shot, until I was sure I wouldn’t hit a dog.
If the arrow got a clean pass-through, and there was a dog on the opposite side of the bear, I realized I might hit the dog on the other side of the bear. When I was finally able to release the arrow, it hit the bear. Initially, the bear growled, but then he continued to fight the dogs. As soon as I saw my first arrow hit the bear, I nocked another arrow. I shot the bear a second time and then a third time. We wanted to put the bear down quickly, so he wouldn’t injure the dogs.
When the bear expired, all the growling, barking and commotion stopped like someone had turned off a light switch. The dogs totally lost interest in the bear.
To learn more about hunting The Most Dangerous Game with a Bow click here http://tiny.cc/39kfay
About the Author:
For the past 40+ years, John E. Phillips of Vestavia, Alabama, has been a fulltime outdoor writer, traveling the world interviewing hunters, guides, outfitters and other outdoorsmen about how they hunt and fish. An award-winning author, John has been hunting and fishing since his kindergarten days.