Hunter shoots record bear

MANISTEE — Jeff Kresnak of Caledonia went into the 2017 bear season in pursuit of a big bear.

Well, he found one.

On September 14 of last year Kresnak shot the fifth-largest bear ever killed in Michigan, and the 211th-largest in all of North America.

“I went to the DNR post to have it checked in and the man said in 30 years he’s never seen a bear this large,” Kresnak said. “Bears are scored by their skull size. The DNR man suggested I have it scored by Boone and Crockett and Commemorative Bucks of Michigan.”

That’s just what Kresnak did. On July 30 his bear was accepted in the 30th North American Big Game Awards by the Boone and Crockett Club. The black bear was also recorded in the Michigan Big Game Records book.

“We could tell (the bear was large) when the hounds were on it,” Kresnak said. “We could see it was a big bear once the hounds had it cornered back in. We would slip up in on him and he didn’t see us coming in on him and the hounds had him circled. Then he stood up on his hind legs and he appeared to stand seven or eight feet straight up. We could see he was a massive bear.”

The bear was taken a few miles south of Copemish. Kresnak enlisted the assistance of his cousin Barry Reed, of Bear Lake, and Jason Ware of Final Chase Guide Service of Frankfort.

The men hunted for a few days before they found a bear track large enough to warrant putting the hounds on the scent. The chase went on over the course of several hours. The men had hoped the hounds would tree the bear, but it was so large it would not climb up a tree.

“(The bear) would just sit down and growl at the dogs,” Kresnak said. “He would run 500 yards or so and just sit and growl and swat at dogs if they got too close. Jason has some high powered hounds that wouldn’t give up. They crossed rivers, hills, cedar swamps and any thick cover the bear could find. I had a few opportunities to shoot the bear but the shot wasn’t good enough or the dogs got in the way of the gun fire.”

With less than an hour of daylight remaining Kresnak finally had a clear shot and took full advantage of the opportunity by dropping the bear instantly.

The eight-year-old bear was estimated by the DNR to weigh between 500 and 600 pounds.

Kresnak is quick to acknowledge the tremendous help he received from Ware and Reed that made the feat possible.

“Jason Ware was a first-class gentlemen and a very smart man who wants to do everything by the book to make sure hound hunting for bears continues in our great state,” Kresnak said.

And of course cousin Barry was a great asset, as well.

“Barry Reed brought us water and drinks and food and skinned the bear,” Kresnak said. “He helped backpack all the meat out. For a 70-year-old man, he worked his guts out.”

 

avatar

Posted by John Raffel

John is a sports reporter with the Pioneer as well as the Herald Review and The Lake County Star. He also coordinates the weekly Pioneer sports outdoors page. He can be reached at (231) 592-8356 or by email at jraffel@pioneergroup.com.

Leave a Reply