Former Niles resident puts down bow, helps others

Published 9:12 am Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Rick Snyder is seen here with the brown bear he shot in Alaska. (The Daily News/Provided)

Rick Snyder is seen here with the brown bear he shot in Alaska. (The Daily News/Provided)

For the first time I hung up my bow hunting hat and picked up my Alaska brown bear guiding hat!

To be honest it was almost as much fun, ALMOST. I won’t be making a habit of hanging up the bow hunting hat any time soon!

After four years of chasing brown bears around with outfitter Braun Kopsack, he asked if I would guide archery brown bear hunters with him in July.

After all the paper work was completed I was issued an Alaska assistant guide license. I had to question Braun’s thinking since I was the only guy it took 29 days over a four year period to finally get a single bear in front of us! While others were killing bears on their very first nights!

To say this trip is packed full of adventure would be a serious understatement!

Most everyone has seen Fred Eichler’s brown bear charge. Last year my hunting partner Rick Snyder and Braun found themselves six feet nose to nose from a sow with cubs, the only thing that saved them was she was swimming around a huge boulder, when she saw them she lunged but couldn’t get any traction thank goodness.

That gave Braun and Rick time to get away before she ended up in camp bluff charging from about 15 yards away.

This year in the first hour and a half of our float we saw seven brown bears.

That evening while having dinner a big bear came charging, woofing and growling into camp, which had us scrambling for guns. After a short stand off the bear stormed off still making his unhappiness known to all!

With all this action it appeared we might be in for a good adventurous hunt! Rick Snyder was back and our first night we had a huge brown bear at 23 yards and as you can see there was no shot.

That’s Rick bow in the right hand side of the photo. The trail the bear was on was going to bring him right in front of us at seven yards and facing us, but the wind swirled and he didn’t second guess his nose.

A few nights later Rick killed this big brown bear.

Our other hunter had several opportunities but it just wasn’t meant to be.
By the end of the hunt we had seen 37 brown bears in 10 days and it was by far the most action packed 10 days I had seen in five years of being on the river and of course I wasn’t hunting.

The Alaska weather put the Sitka Gear StormFront Jacket through an incredible test! For 10 days we lived in our lightweight chest waders and our Sitka Gear base layers and rain jackets.

One particular evening being the hardest rain I had ever been caught in, in my 48 years of living. The StormFront Jacket will be in my pack no matter where I go.

Although it did get hi-jacked and is still in Alaska.

The first thing I did when I got home was order another.

Tony Mudd is a former Niles resident.