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by Jake Jacobson | May 20, 2020 | BIG GAME, HUNTING, Slider
An Excerpt from “A Toklat Grizzly Comes A’knockin'”


In seconds a section of wall was gone and the bear was on its way in.
Early one September morning in 1975, between booked hunts, Mae and I were alone and sleeping in the cabin. I suddenly awoke from a nightmare about a bear hitting a punching bag – you know – the little bag that fighters use to coordinate their staccato jabs and punches.
I woke up to hear the cabin being pummeled rapidly – it was not a dream! When I raised up to look out the window, the nose of a blonde grizzly was about a foot from my own.
The sight of me seemed to enrage the bear and it slapped at the glass, breaking the window. I leaped out of bed and grabbed my rifle. The bear had gone to the far corner of the cabin, less than ten feet from the foot of our bed, where it hooked its claws between pieces of plywood siding and was pulling a section of the outside wall off! Wood was cracking and nails were squealing as the panel was wrenched and jerked off of the wall studs.
Mae squealed too!
In seconds that section of wall was gone and the bear was on its way in. The bruin was clearly determined to make mayhem. From about six feet away, I quickly aimed at the invader’s chest – barrel sighting – and fired. The bear withdrew. I heard a clatter as the wounded bear ran into a stack of empty five-gallon gas cans about 20 feet from the door. With a shell chambered and safety off, I was out the door in my undies, looking for a clear shot to dispatch the marauding grizzly. But the thing had disappeared into the dense willows that surrounded the cabin.
Seeing some large splotches of blood on the ground, I went up the ladder and climbed onto the roof.
It seemed to take half of forever, but actually after only a couple of minutes of visually searching I saw the badly wounded grizz struggling as it made its way across the swampy bog. I was on the roof, so I slid down the ladder and ran to the edge of the bog in time to put another bullet into the bear. The small blonde female grizzly collapsed at the base of the hill.
It was certainly a stimulating way to begin the day. After going half naked to be sure the bear was dead, I returned to the cabin for coffee and some snacks. After a short time, I felt a chill so I put my pants and shirt on before we set up for skinning the bear. It measured a bit less than six feet squared and was a young female. She had a blonde hide with dark legs and a dark line down the middle of her back – she was a beautiful example of a Toklat grizzly.
Note from Jake: “Toklat” is an Alaskan colloquial term used to describe grizzlies with a blond body, chocolate legs & often a chocolate strip down the spine. However most any blond grizzly may be termed a Toklat, depending on who’s describing it. It may have first been used to describe a bear seen or taken on the Toklat River.
 

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A collection of 39 stories, is intended to be seasoning for a Hunters’ pie, rural Alaska style. Most hunters extol the charismatic mega fauna, but pursuit of lesser game often takes center stage. Occasionally hunting discoveries lead to other endeavors, from jade mining to gold prospecting and fossil recovery. Possibilities are limitless. As we engage in hunting and fishing pursuits memories are laced with the big ones–the exceptional, genetically endowed giants–but some of the brightest memories are of average representatives of their species. What made them so memorable was the combination of circumstances under which they were taken–or lost. Companions, whether human or animal, often make the hunt memorable and its recollections of trophy quality.

Alaska Hunting: Earthworms to Elephants
 
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