EDITOR'S NOTE: Ralph Cianciarulo of Lanark, Illinois, professional bowhunter, the host of the "Archer's Choice" television show on the Outdoor Channel and producer of Archer's Choice hunting videos, is sponsored by Hunter's Specialties and enjoys the sport and art of stalking bears with a bow.
In 1991, I was invited on a hunt by the Russian ministry and I shot a grizzly bear. It was an awesome experience since it was through the government. I'll tell you straight out that no black bear can ever put a chill on your spine like a grizzly. There is an aura that follows them when you see a grizzly in the true wild. Your mind can get captivated by that unique animal. I'll never forget my fear of the grizzly.
When I got to Russia I was shooting small carbon arrows. And through my interpreter, the people that I was hunting with said that my child-like arrow would bounce off their bears. I told them to give me a chance and they'd see.
What was so unique about that hunt was that the bear come in on a moose carcass. As I took the bear, he quartered away, and I took him on the back rib and the arrow blew out. I was aiming for his opposite leg. The grizzly spun around to look at the arrow, but the arrow had gone through so fast that its Thunderhead 100 had stuck in a log in front of the bear. The grizzly turned around to bite where the arrow was and then realized that something had come in front. He reared-up to look, and that was right where we needed to get a good shot. Although the bear took off, he only went about 40 yards before he expired.
The Russian ministry and the other people there said the bear wasn't dead. They got the dogs because they thought the arrow didn't do the trick. They thought he was still alive and running. I told them to wait a minute. They were stunned that they didn't see a blood trail. They let the dogs go running on the trail, and you could hear them in the bushes. The bear was down in a second.
When we approached the bear, the Russian ministry hunters had their guns and they wouldn't let me go forward. I tried to teach them how to blood trail. They walked with guns in front of me like the bear was going to come up and get us. When we got to the bear it was expired. This could've been a bad incident, but with the proper shot placement and the proper equipment it wasn't.