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Young hunter scores big bear when he gets the shot

Jake Billman of Hermantown was sitting on his bear stand about 6:20 p.m. Saturday when he heard some noises in the brush. Then the noises stopped. "I looked over to my left and saw a big, black figure coming through the woods," said Billman, 14, ...

Bear
Jake Billman (left) shows off the bear he killed Sept. 5 while hunting near Pequaywan Lake north of Duluth. The bear weighed 460 pounds in the round. Jake's dad, Gregg Billman, shares the moment with him. (Submitted photo / Keith Stoneburner)

Jake Billman of Hermantown was sitting on his bear stand about 6:20 p.m. Saturday when he heard some noises in the brush. Then the noises stopped.

"I looked over to my left and saw a big, black figure coming through the woods," said Billman, 14, of Hermantown.

It was big and black, all right. When it stepped out to his bait, Billman shot the bear. He was hunting near Pequaywan Lake north of Duluth. He was still up in his stand when his dad and other friends walked up to the bear and started "hootin' and hollerin'," in the words of his dad, Gregg Billman.

As it turns out, the bear weighed 460 pounds whole (not field-dressed). It was the first bear that Jake had ever taken -- or seen while hunting. He began bear hunting at age 12, but didn't draw a permit last year.

"We got there and oh, my goodness," his dad said.

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They were hunting the same area that friend Keith Stoneburner has been hunting for bears for the past 19 years. This is by far the largest bear taken by hunters in Stoneburner's group through the years, he said.

Weighing it was a challenge. First, it broke Stoneburner's scale, which went up to 440 pounds. So, the hunters took the bear to the home of a friend who had a 300-pound scale. First, they skinned the bear and weighed its hide, Stoneburner said. That weighed 120 pounds. The rest of the animal was still too heavy for the scale, so they removed its front legs, which weighed a total of 70 pounds. Then they weighed the rest of the bear at 270 pounds for the overall total of 460 pounds.

Gregg Billman estimated the bear would have weighed about 380 pounds field-dressed.

The Billmans plan to have the bear mounted, Gregg Billman said. The mount will show the bear in a full standing position, he said.

"It's going to take some rearranging our living room, that's for sure," Billman said.

Related Topics: HUNTING
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