I love it when a plan comes together!! A couple of weeks ago I ran the below photos with a short caption that told of a nine-year old girl shooting a record breaking brown bear in the Alaska peninsula. Not knowing any of the details or whether or not the story was even true, I decided to go with the pictures and leave it up to my readers. Sometimes this works and sometimes what I get is more unfounded rumors that sends the story along twists and turns.

First I’m going to rerun the short story with the photos and then I’ll tell the truth behind the pictures as told by the hunter’s father.

Here’s the unconfirmed story and photos!!! This nine year old girl from the Yukon shot this record brown bear in Alaska on the Alaskan Peninsula in October 2006. Skull size – 33 1/16, 11 feet 9 inches nose to tail, estimated weight – 1,800 pounds. Supposedly this was her first ever bear hunt.

World record brown bear

World record brown bear

World record brown bear

Yesterday I received an e-mail from Larry Rivers. The young hunter in the photographs is Fern Rivers-Spaulding. Her Dad, Larry Rivers, is a licensed Master Guide. Larry had left a comment on the original posting I did on this story. This is what he wrote.

It’s just come to my attention how this story is circulating and growing! So far, its has a bit of truth associated with it which is surprising in itself! I dont want to damage the growth of a good stories development, but for those interested here are some of the facts. First off, I have some authority to say these facts are correct because I took the photos…being Ferns dad and all.

First off, the date was May 10, 2006, opening day of the season. Location was the Alaska Peninsula. We did see 6 wolves, 5 came near (10 yds or less) and looked at us before departing on the run. One watched the whole proceedings from about 200 yds away and after the first 5 left, he put the sneak on us. We stook up waved our arms, yelled and identified ourselves. He speed up into full charge. With our eyes locked together I shot him a few steps away. It was the first full, unquestioned wolf charge I have experienced in 35 years of guiding in Alaska. (I hold a Master Guide license). So, we were not attacked by a pack of wolves, only one healthy adult that WAS NOT rabid.
The bear was spotted 2 miles away. We stalked to under 20 yds. First shot was at 32 yds as the bear moved across in front of us. We could only see the top 1/3 of his back and Fern shot for the spine. The bullet passed under it, rolled the bear, and he WALKED away down a draw. We moved some and she dropped him with a second shot at 112 yds. One of the three largest bears we have taken in over 1/3 century of guiding…absolutly huge. Hide weighed 197 lbs without skull. Green it measured 11′ 8″ SQUARE, not tall, not nose to tail. Some may not know the difference and I can explain if needed. It took several days to get it out of the field and hides shrink as they dry. When squared by USF&W it measured 11′ 4″, and it had not been fleshed yet. Fleshing a hide always allows it to lay flatter and gives 3 or 4 additional inches, so we dont know what it would have squared fresh and green if it had been fleshed as it just didn’t happen. I’ve long said there have never been any 12′ bears, so 11′ 8″ is good enough otherwise it would make me a liar over the past 35 years :-) The skull dried for 8 months before being measured. (60 days is the official requirement) After this extended period it still measured an official 29 1/16″, which puts it well up in the B&C record books, though I dont know exactly where. Like any father I will say Fern is exceptional, because she is my daughter… but she is still just a little gal in grade school that does her homework at the end of the day, and plays with Barbie’s. The only difference between her and any other child is that she is nuts about shooting and hunting. Don’t ask her about any game animal, she is going to tell you tell you more then you have the time or the desire to hear about. :-) My advise to you fathers, if your kids express an interest in hunting, take them out and let THEM hunt, don’t take them to watch you hunt. Make it a black bear, or a deer, something that they can get excited about! Let them shoot that huge buck, and you shoot the squirrel, not the other way around. The interest won’t last forever if you don’t nurture it. Too many other things can take its place. Even then it may not last forever, so enjoy it while you can. Larry Rivers

I contacted Larry and asked him if he minded if I reran the original story and included his comment. He said he didn’t mind. I am also going to give you a link to Larry’s website where he published the original story in its entirety.

Here is the link back to the original story I posted. This may be important to you if you are interested in seeing what happens when a story makes its rounds around the Internet. Click on the link and scroll down to the bottom and you can read the comments left by other readers.

Thank you Larry and Fern.

Tom Remington

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