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Gupsdad's picture
Joined: 09/26/2011
Posts: 1
wounded bear leaves me dumbfounded

Saturday night 9/24/11 @6:57 i shot a black bear @13 yds. with my .06 165 grain bullet. The bear was broadside, facing to the right (south) front leg forward and back leg, well back. The bear wasn't huge by my measurements (as I screwed up on a bigger one last week). I didn't have much light, however legal shooting time ended at 7:06 p.m. I shot, the bear didn't flinch, roll or make a noise it just took off down the trail running south. At about 7:00 p.m. i heard a death moan (i have never heard it before, so i tried to imitate the sound to my buddies and the confirmed it sounded like a death moan. One important point, it had poured up until about 6:30 p.m. so the ground and all plant life was saturated. Additionally, i am in Wisconsin's heavily forested area with lots of low ferns and thick cover. I got down out of my stand at the death moan and headed south hoping i could finish it off as it was very wet, thick forest etc. I walked toward the moan, about 80 yds., and gps'd the spot as it was thick and i didn't want to move any further due, it was dark and i didn't want to jump or be jumped by the bear. As i was gps'g the spot, it moaned a final time and then silence. The moan sounded so close, now keep in mind the woods can reverbrate sounds, however i thought it was below the hill i was overlooking. So, I went back to my truck, met up with my buddy and we came back about 1 hr. later 8:00 ish. We started at the bait pile, no blood or hair, did find the bullet hit in the dirt/sland along with a paw print that looked like it had dug in before running south. At this point we looked for blood, nothing. We decided to call it a night at about 9:30 ish, and come back in the a.m. My buddy was tic'd that I went to find the bear within 15 minutes of shooting. 

We came back the next morning to my gps'd spot thinking the bear would be below the hill, nope. We spent the next 4 hrs. looking for blood, hair or a dead bear. We covered 500 yds in two different quadrants at the point of the last death moan. Nothing. Thick cover, plenty of dark spots to crawl in and die, however nothing. Thoughts from anyone? We left for home yesterday afternoon, so this bear will not be found by us.

Did i push the bear off it's death bed? If so, why wouldn't we have found blood somewhere? The death moan lasted maybe two minutes, maybe less . . . it was loud, eerie and honestly i just wanted to find the bear after losing the big one last week. 

thanks for your thoughts . . .

SGM's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Canon City, Colorado
Joined: 08/13/2011
Posts: 1147
First off welcome to the site

First off welcome to the site but wish your first post was better news. Not sure what to tell you as from what you wrote you should have a filled bear tag. Only thing I can think of is a liver/gut shot and it went off allot father than you think it did. As for the wet and rain that might have been enough to cover the blood especially at night, wet can look wet. If it rained more that night it could have erased and blood for sure. Even thou the bullet passed thru the bear does not mean it will leave a blood trail if the angle was odd.


As much as it sucks and we all hate to see this, sometimes we do not recover our game.   Sounds like you and your buddy did the right thing as much time as you put in looking for the bear. Plotting the spot with the GPS was a good idea so you know where to start.  Sorry about the bad luck and hope the rest of your hunts end successfully.

ADKBEAR's picture
Location: Central NY
Joined: 09/16/2003
Posts: 821
I don't know?

Not sure about this situation?  I have never heard a black bear make multiple death moans at different time intervals? Not to say it could not happen, has anyone ever had tis happen? 

Now a bear wound will/can plug up fast with fat and dirt leaving virtualy no trail to follow.  Still there should have been some sign of a hit at the initial location (fat, hair, blood?)

SSGJB's picture
Joined: 09/16/2011
Posts: 44

I have personally heard a bear moan more than once. This bear was not shot. Time was opening archery season in WI. I think these moans are a distress calls from 2nd year bears. Especially if you shot a smaller bear (2nd year). These bear are still with the sows, they will come in on their own but the sow is usally within a couple hundreds yards from them. It's their way of trying to go on their own. My guess is if you shot the bear at 13yds (not sure what kinda of bullet you use, does it expand/fragment after the shot?) you would have blood at the bait site. A lot of factors can be thought of, how high in the tree where you? If the bear was broad side and front leg forward you could have missed the vitals all together. The vitals of a bear are slightly different than a whitetail. The lungs are the main target. the heart is behind the lungs. There is a "dead spot" in the front of a bears cavity. That is if you hit the bear. If you didn't find any hair or blood, then my guess is you didn't touch it. As far as the moan goes, when you shot, if it was a 2nd yr bear the it was probably moaning in a distress call to locate it's mother. This might have been it's first time seperated from it's mother. Again this is all just a educated guess. I had a friend shoot a bear this year (2011) with a bow the same way broad side front leg forward. A complete pass through had very little blood tracked about 400 yds and completely ran out of blood. I guessed he hit that "dead spot" i mentioned before.

Hope this helps somewhat. Sorry to hear about your bad luck. Hopefully you have better luck.

numbnutz's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: portland,oregon
Joined: 09/06/2007
Posts: 3058
From your discription it

From your discription it sound like it was a clean miss. If you fit it the bear would have flinched or something, it wouldnt have just stood there. Even if the ground cover was wet from rain you should have found blood within 20-30 yards of where you shot it. If it was hit and just ran off it will find the nastiest thickest cover to go lay down and die in. Bears are tough animals but if you did hit it with your .06 from that range it wouldnt have gone too far. Sorry you lost the bear as it sucks but it does happen to just about every hunter in there hunting career. Good luck to you and toug luck. maybe you'll get him next year

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