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The next day, Doxey spotted a grizzly, a legal boar.
Aided by a favorable wind, the two hunters quickly closed the distance between themselves and the big animal.
This was in brushy, alder country, and the men were able to hide their presence from the bear.
But so, too, did the foliage create cover for the bear, which alternately appeared and disappeared.
“When we reached an opening, a meadow, the guide said, ‘Can you take that shot?’ ’’ Ball said. “The bear was about 300 yards out, and I couldn’t even see it. When I did, it was only briefly. Then the bear left.’’
Moving more or less parallel with the animal, with the bear higher in elevation, Ball and Doxey abandoned their packs as they attempted to keep abreast of their quarry, which had no clue the two were present.
A few hundred yards later, the bear stepped into an opening, giving Ball a shot.
This was about 100 yards out.
Off went the rifle’s safety as the scope’s cross hairs were settled behind the big animal’s shoulder.
In a flash, a 180-grain bullet was sent on its way.
“I hit him in the boiler room,’’ Ball said.
Still, the bear spun like a bull and lumbered downhill, toward the two men.
“Shoot again,’’ Doxey said. “And again. And again.’’
Ball connected with each volley, and a lifetime later, the bear, which would measure almost 8 feet by 8 feet, stumbled a last time, falling 20 yards from the hunters.
Everyone has different ambitions, and Ball had realized his.
“It was a lifelong dream come true,’’ he said.
Dennis Anderson • 612-673-4424
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Poll: Should the lake where the albino muskie was caught remain a mystery?