Pocatello resident Shelly Sayer recently shot what she believes to be the largest grizzly ever harvested by a woman.
The boar was 9 feet 4 inches squared with a skull measuring around 27 and 4/16 inches. She estimates it weighed more than 1,000 pounds.
“I’ve been hunting a long time and it’s difficult to find such a trophy animal,” said Sayer, who is also the CEO of Premier Technology Inc. in Blackfoot. “I was fortunate and grateful for the opportunity.”
But the hunt was made even more special to her because she dedicated it to her son-in-law, Ryan Frederick, also of Pocatello.
Sayer says she gave her son-in-law a hunting trip, which she had purchased but was unable to use, in June of 2019. But the trip took a traumatic turn.
“His guide went into a patch of alders and a grizzly attacked,” Sayer said.
Frederick shot at the bear and it left, but the guide was seriously injured in the incident. Sayer said her son-in-law cared for the guide, who was also a friend, for several hours until emergency responders could reach them.
The guide made a full recovery, Sayer said, and she’s proud of the role her son-in-law played in that. That’s why she decided to dedicate her late September bear hunt, which took place in Unalakleet, Alaska, the same place where the grizzly attacked, to Frederick.
But she had no idea going in that she would also harvest one of the largest grizzlies ever shot.
Sayer and her guide, Lance Kronberger, spotted a large grizzly feeding on a carcass and started following it.
“When you hunt a bear, you move around quite a bit. You go fast and hard,” Sayer said, adding that they hiked across a river, down into a swamp and over a tundra.
Finally, they came within 200 yards of the bear.
Sayer said she followed the advice of her guide and climbed up onto a mound on the tundra with her Red Rock Precision 7 SAUM.
“I was focused. I was going to take a bear for Ryan,” Sayer said
She fired and the shot was good. The bear went down.
“We didn’t realize how big he was. He was very large,” Sayer said, adding that it was the biggest bear the guide had ever helped take and he’s hunted more than 100 bears.
As soon as she could, Sayer texted her family to let them know about her success.
“(I wrote),’That one’s for you, Ryan,’” she said.
Sayer plans to submit her hunt to the Boone and Crockett records later this month.
Sayer, who has been hunting for more than a dozen years, says she enjoys the challenge of crossing different terrains and testing her skills. But she also respects the animals she hunts.
“I try to shoot perfectly and ethically,” she said.
Sayer believes hunting is important to conservation and it can help protect and preserve species that she wants to ensure are still around for her children and grandchildren.
“The goal is for conservation purposes,” she said.