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Opening day monster bear for first-time hunter

350 pound dressed weight monster taken by Karen Dorff.1 / 2
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Opening day of the 2011 bear season provided Karen Dorff with her first bear and a story.

The bear was harvested in Crow Wing County and retrieved with assistance from Paul Dorff and John DuBois.

The following is Karen Dorff's personal log of her successful hunt.

I got in the stand about 1:30-2:00 pm (just before the rain storm) with my Marlin Model 33608 Microgroove Barrel Cal.30/30 Win with Bushnell Sportview scope and Winchester Super X 170 grain bullets.

I cleaned the stand out with a broom while Paul put out bait from Twin Pines in Garrison (toffee, fish guts, restaurant leftovers and grease).

After Paul left I promptly ate my pretzel stix and did the Brainerd Dispatch weekday Suduko puzzles for Monday and Tuesday (I am a little behind).

After thinking so hard I had a Hostess cupcake and read last year's issue of Bear Hunter Magazine.

Reading that magazine gave me confidence of what to do if I encountered a bear on the ground. I rested a little and at 6:50 pm put on my bug hat because I was wondering why I did this sport instead of visiting my daughter in Columbia, Maryland. Can't really say if getting bit or just listening to the buzz of mosquitoes bothers me the most.

I started keeping a list of activity here so I wouldn't loose interest.

At 6:55 pm the raccoons moved in with the fog. About 7:15 pm I heard some deer bleats and some chittering from some more raccoons and then a crash thud in the forest. Then I thought I was imagining some branches moving just beyond the bait and more chittering.

At 7:51 there were 7-10 raccoons - about four on top of the left barrel and a few more on the ground of the right barrel and behind a log.  I made some noise moving around by accident and the raccoons scattered. I saw a couple climb a tall tree behind the bait and I thought they saw me. Eventually they came down and I lost interest.

About 8 pm I saw what looked like a black rock next to my bait barrel on the right. I didn't think too much of it until it moved and I saw a brown snout come around and lick the barrel bottom.

The bear then eased up a bit and licked the bottom of the plywood on top of the barrel and then sat down with his back to me. I made some more noise as I picked up the gun and got set. The bear didn't really move much, so whatever he was enjoying really interested him.

I debated on aiming for the spine like the guy in magazine had done (he said his bear didn't go any where after the shot so I thought that would be perfect!).

Just as I was ready to shoot the bear turned right and I adjusted my shot to between his spine and right front shoulder (figured if I was off a bit I couldn't mess up too bad).

Well the shot went out at 8:03 pm and the bear did a summersault. I tried to cock the lever action and reload, but that is not my specialty as I'm a one-shot gal at deer hunting too.

I took special note of the tree the bear ran towards as I am directionally challenged and get lost easily in the woods.

I heard a guglgugg-gurgle and silence. I called my husband Paul who was on his way to pick me up after hunting and he asked if that was my shot he'd heard at the corner of Pine Center Road and Co Rd 138.

I said 'yes I think I got a small one.'

Paul picked up John DuBois and they came with working flashlights and searched in the direction I suggested.

As is the norm, I was a little off and the blood trail was hard to follow in the dark.

I had to come down from my safe perch during this time and sit on the 4-wheeler to start the engine so the lights didn't kill the battery.

I was whimpering and worrying about another bear attacking me from behind while the men continued searching until they found the bear about half an hour later - the bear went to the left (instead of the right) and I was dispatched to pick up the right size trailer hitch to bring him home.

Two hours later we were on the road to Tutt's Bait in Garrison to register the bear, but they were closed.

We stopped at Garrison McDonalds and they graciously donated some ice to cool down my bear. This morning we went and registered the bear at Tutts and then went to Garrison Sports to have it weighed and skinned.

Paul cut up the rest of the bear and we will soon decide what type of mount to have made out of the 350 pound dressed weight monster.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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