Paynesville man may be headed to record books after shooting bear

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 9/13/00.

Bruce Looman and bear Bruce Looman has been bear hunting off and on for 14 years. This year after hunting six days in northern Minnesota, he shot one that may go into the record books.

After patiently waiting for six days, Looman shot a black bear near Grand Rapids, Minn., on Monday, Aug. 28. The bear dressed out at 360 pounds. Its live weight is estimated to be over 450 pounds.

Looman started his sixth day of hunting from a tree stand. After feeling the stand shift, he decided to find a site on the ground instead of readjusting his tree stand.

"I was hiding behind a blown down tree and in thick foliage when I heard some noise, like twigs snapping," Looman said. He knew something was coming but could not see what it was.

He waited another five minutes and heard more noises.

"The foliage was so thick I could only see straight ahead from where I was hiding," Looman said.

He heard the bear moving nearby and waited. "It was so close, I could hear the bear's muscles moving," Looman said.

When the bear was in the clearing, it turned broad side and Looman pulled the trigger. He shot the bear through both lungs.

Looman said he had a good clear shot at the bear as it was only five and a half yards away.

"I was lucky we could get the four-wheeler right up to the bear," Looman said. Looman and his hunting buddies tipped the four-wheeler on end and tied the bear to the vehicle. They then lowered the vehicle and adjusted the bear on its rack.

According to Looman, there are a lot of bears in the woods. With berries and acorns plentiful, it made it tough to entice the bears to hunting bait. In addition, the 80-degree temperatures prompted the bears to spend their days hiding in cool places. Most did not come out until after dark.

The taxidermist where Looman is having the head mounted estimates that the bear is over 20 years old. The taxidermist told Looman his bear would make the Minnesota record books but was unsure if it was big enough to make the Boone and Crockett record book.

Looman said a record kill is determined by the size of the skull.

Looman plans on displaying the mounted head in his basement recreation room.

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