Bowhunting Video: Decision Time — Big Grizzly Stands, Facing You at Close Range

Carrying his recurve, Fred Eichler stalks a big grizzly on the Alaskan coastline. What happens next has to be seen to be believed.

Bowhunting Video: Decision Time — Big Grizzly Stands, Facing You at Close Range

This classic 4-minute video showcases an epic in-your-face grizzly bear encounter by Fred Eichler on the Alaskan coastline. There’s no reason for me to set the scene; Eichler does an outstanding job of that in the clip.

As I watched it, I asked myself: Would I have pushed so hard to beach the boat and stalk this bear, especially late in the day? I mean, would the bear still be on the coastline by the time I arrived?

And even if I did insist on the stalk, and ended up exactly in Eichler’s position — with a big grizzly standing in the alders, facing me at close range — would I shoot?

That’s what I love about hunting, and bowhunting in particular — punching a tag or going back to camp emptyhanded is the result of hundreds of decisions throughout the day. And yes, luck certainly plays a role.

As Eichler explains in the video, it’s when the guide whistles for him to slow down that the big bear stands in the alders. What would have happened if the guide hadn’t whistled? It’s unlikely Eichler would’ve spotted the bear in that thick cover unless it stood. Maybe the bear would have spotted Eichler in the open country and then slowly walked, on all fours, closer to investigate. A head-on bear, not standing, in thick cover, doesn’t sound like a recipe for success. Or the bear might have simply walked away. Or ran away. Of course, we’ll never know.

I also wonder whether this grizzly is the same one the hunters spotted from the boat.

Ask yourself the same “what would I do” questions as you enjoy the intense encounter. (Be sure to "click to enter fullscreen" on the Facebook video and turn up the volume for best viewing.)

P.S. I couldn’t help but laugh at how the guide tries to calm down Eichler after the shot. The guide understands it’s best to be cautious and take your time before approaching a downed grizzly, especially in thick cover. Of course, Eichler knows this as well, but he’s a bit too juiced to pump the brakes.


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