Rice Lake hunter shoots huge, 604.5 pound black bear

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RICE LAKE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Becky Fenske had never gone bear hunting before but she was experienced in deer hunting. When she went out to sit in a tree stand that Sunday afternoon in September, she had no idea she’d come face to face with a big ball of black.

The bear weighs an estimated live weight of 700 lbs. or 604.5 lbs. without field dressed.

“I went out in the woods around 3:00 and was not entirely sure if I wanted to go out there. Sat there and i didn't see anything all afternoon and 7:00 I could hear sticks breaking,” said 45-year-old Fenske.

The sound she heard was nothing like she’d ever heard before.

“He sat down and started eating and then he looked up. When he came out of the woods, he was just massive, his head was huge, he had a hump behind his head and his body, he looked like a huge black ball coming at me. I could not believe this creature was coming towards me,” Fenske said.

Just 14 yards away, the mother of four was in disbelief, with gun in hand.

“I knew I had to take a shot. My first shot, I went for a head shot and expecting him to fall over but he didn't. He stood up walked away,” she said.

Four shots, three that for sure hit, and still the bear didn't fall.

“By that time it was getting darker and darker and because the bear was walking we thought it'd be best to let it go until morning. So we went home, my children told me I shook like crazy, I was trembling,” said Fenske who credits her husband Jon for working hard to bait the bear.

By morning, they found the big black bear, around 150 yards from the area.

A picture of Fenske and her trophy bear was posted on our WEAU 13 News Facebook page a few days after she shot the bear. That picture was worth more than a thousand words, or in this case, more than a thousand comments and shares on Facebook.

“I was very pleased with all the support I’d received, there were a few negative comments but it seemed for every negative comment I got there were supporters that backed hunting and everything that we do. We eat the meat. It’s not like we're wasting an animal,” said Fenske.

It’s a memory, she said, that’ll last a lifetime.

“I can still see it coming towards me and I can still hear the sounds, feel the rush. It truly is a bear of a life time and something I will never forget and I don’t think something my children will forget either,” said Fenske.

Right now, the bear is at the taxidermy and Fenske said she plans on getting it full body mounted.

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