Since people are still black bear hunting I thought this would be a great time to post a bonus black bear story. My granddaughter Jordan Juliussen-Johnson wrote this story when she was 11 years old. It was her summer activity story for school. Her teacher really liked it and at the urging of her mother, Michelle, she decided to submit it to the Anchorage creative writing contest sponsored by the Anchorage Daily News and received an Honorable Mention Award. She also gave a copy to my wife and me for Christmas. Since the Alaska Professional Hunters Association had been seeking ways to interest young people in the field of hunting, I thought they might be interested in publishing Jordan’s story. They accepted it and it was published in the 2004 Spring Issue. Her story was the main reason she was asked to audition and was selected for the ZOOM project (a televised children’s program on PBS),“Fishing with My Grandpa” which was filmed in Anchorage and Kenai.
Jordan took a caribou in our Western Alaska area the following year and seemed to love hunting. However, while Jordan was away at college, she called us one evening telling us that she had watched a video in class showing how they killed cattle and that it was pretty brutal and sad. She said she didn’t think she would ever be able to eat meat again and for sure wouldn’t be able to kill an animal. I told her that was a normal feeling and that was fine if she didn’t want to hunt anymore. I told her that she may change her mind again later in life and that hunting is not for everyone. She still loves to fish and is an excellent fisherperson. And, she does eat a little red meat now and then, so who knows.
We just attended her wedding this past April. She married a fine young man, Nate Johnson who loves Alaska, fishing and hopefully hunting. We are looking forward to taking him on his first ever hunt this fall. Jordan was a beautiful bride. She is the first of our grandchildren to get married. Hopefully when she has children of her own, I will be able to share and pass along my passion for hunting with my great grandchildren.
The following is an eleven-year’s old perspective on her black bear hunt. Enjoy.
By Jordan Juliussen, Age 11
There he was just standing in an open field, a six foot eight black bear. Wow! This was the moment I had been waiting for! He looked at me long enough for me to get a picture of him, and then he started to walk. I loaded my gun; put my finger on the trigger……Wait!! I’ll have to tell you the beginning first.
Well, on June 11, 2003, my dad, grandpa and I loaded the truck with all of our gear that we would need for our hunt. I was so excited to be going on my first black bear hunt. Finally, when we were all packed and ready to go on our hunt, we headed out to Whittier.
When we arrived in Whittier, the air was kind of muggy, but once we loaded in the Zodiac and set out on the ocean it cooled down a bit. It was also very pretty, but a very bumpy 45 minute ride. When we found a great spot just up on a hill on the shore, we decided to set up camp there. Actually, my grandpa has been hunting that exact spot since 1968. I know this because my mom, cousin, uncle and aunt went black bear hunting too and they went to that spot. My grandpa also owns a hunting business in Alaska and is very successful.
The next morning, after I ate a boiled egg and instant oatmeal, we headed out on the Zodiac. We were on the water for most of the day just glassing hills, but we also hiked around quite a bit too. On this day we only saw two bears on the mountain, but they were way too high up to get, so we stayed in the Zodiac. We spotted for bears until about 1 a.m. That’s the advantage of hunting in Alaska – the 24 hour daylight! We then headed back to camp and ate freeze dried. It was really good after a day of being on the water.
The next morning, Friday the 13th, I woke up at about 6 a.m. I was really tired, but this was the last day of my bear hunt, my last chance. We got in the Zodiac and headed out again. We got out of the Zodiac and hiked up a hill to a really pretty valley with a beautiful creek and a wide open field. While there, we glassed the mountains around us for about 30 minutes. Then we crossed the field and crossed a creek. For some reason, my grandpa stopped and turned around. Standing right there about 90 yards away was a beautiful black bear! Wow! My grandpa told me to get set up and remarkably right behind me was a perfect rest to set my gun on! God is good. I loaded my gun and suddenly the bear looked right at me. Much to my grandpa’s surprise, I decided to take a quick picture of the bear. Then, as if the bear knew, it turned broadsided. I put my finger on the trigger and slowly squeezed. He flinched, and took off running. I had hit him right behind the shoulder. The bear ran across the creek and up a hill!
During this time my dad dropped his video camera, my grandpa shot three times and missed and my dad shot once and missed. Then, the bear stopped. My heart was pumping like a herd of elephants running! I had gotten him with one shot with my .243.
I helped my dad and grandpa skin and clean the bear. I got to pull out the heart and intestines, and cut open the stomach to see what it had been eating. Then we packed up. When we were leaving, we saw a bigger bear about 320 yards away, but the one I shot was only 90 yards away, luckily. It was so amazing. The bear I shot was just standing in an open field. It was like God had picked him off another mountain and set him there. I’ve decided to mount my bear on hot pink and make a rug with it. I will always remember this great experience.
I would like to thank my grandpa and my dad for taking me on this great adventure because not many 11-year-old girls get to shoot a bear!