Bear Hunting Magazine
May/June 2010 Issue
- Book Review
- Q & A - Tips
- Video Review
- Bruin in the Kitchen - Recipes
- News & Notes
- Spotlight On: Ontario
- Bear Association News
- Bear Essentials - Gadgets & Gear
- Outfitters & Guides
- Hunter Photo Gallery
- Crazy Tales from Uncle Geddy & The Bear Mountain Gang
In Hot Pursuit with Joe McCray
Emergency Dog Care
Scent Strategies with Dick Scorzafava
Bear Food Attractants
Archery Talk with Bob Robb
Crossbows for Bear
Guns & Optics with Ralph Lermayer
Travel Dos and Don’ts
Muzzleloading with Chad Schearer
Why Hunt Over Bait?
Take the Family Bear Hunting
By Chad Schearer
One of my favorite things to do is hunt together as a family. Because of this, our television show, Shoot Straight with Chad Schearer on the Sportsman Channel, has taken on a family interactive approach to hunting. Since we travel so much to film hunts my wife, Marsha, and I make it a point to have our children, Walker, age 8 and Wyatt, age 7, with us on the majority of these trips. They too are enjoying hunting themselves.
Marsha had always wanted to take a bear with a muzzleloader. After doing our research we decided to hunt the Canadian Province of Alberta because of their high populations of bears and their two bear limit. We started by contacting APOS (Alberta Professional Outfitters Society www.apos.ab.ca) and got a list of licensed outfitters in northern Alberta. After contacting a number of outfitters and doing our due diligence we decided to go with a very family friendly outfit. John Rivet of Great Canadian Adventures was just the outfitter we were looking for. When I told him what I wanted to try and do he was more than accommodating. The plan was for Marsha, I and the boys to hunt together. John and Jenn Rivet, having four children of their own, knew all about hunting together as a family. On our initial telephone call, John stated he had plenty of double tree stands where we could mount two of them relatively close to each other and he was up for the challenge.
Out on a Limb for a Bear
by Gary LewisA suspicious bear and a disagreeable wind forced Donnie Wygle up a tree.
Out of work for the winter, Donnie Wygle decided to spring for a spring bear tag and a change in his luck. A bear might be hard to find, but it couldn’t be any harder than locating a job in a tough economy. In April, the 55 year-old hunter headed south along the Oregon coast in search of his first bear.
Two years before, Donnie had found the tracks of a small bear on a trail that crossed the top of a ridge and a skid road. Nothing had changed except the tracks were bigger now.
He hung his trail camera on a fir tree. When he returned at daylight, there were pictures. They were of a black bear, a solitary male with a long-haired black pelt that shined from a long winter in the den and the rich, new grass of April.
Encouraged, Donnie cut a few branches and arranged them to create a sort of ground blind at the base of a tree, surrounded by young firs.
The first afternoon and evening passed without a sign of the animal. The next morning there were more pictures of the bear on the trail camera.
The Saga of Little Foot
By Larry Lightner
I found the tracks in July of 2007, just 10 short feet of them in the hard-packed soil. The front foot measured six inches wide and sunk through the hard crust a good inch deep. I weigh close to 200 pounds and my size 12 boot didn’t even dent the earth, and I tried jumping up and down! This was one huge bear.
And this was summer, before he even had a chance to start putting on weight for the coming winter. The truth is, I have only encountered tracks of this size twice before, and one of those was while hunting in Alaska.
I didn’t hunt him in 2007 though. This may be hard for most of you to swallow, but the boar was too big!
I am a meat hunter; I like tender bear meat. I reasoned that this big guy would be tough and without much flavor. Besides, I already had two trophy-class boars, one hung on the wall as a shoulder mount while the other hung from a peg on the wall as a blonde bear skin. In another room I had a beautiful tri-colored (chocolate, blonde and red) bear rug stretched on the wall, so it made no sense to kill this big bruin.
Then in 2008 while dove hunting around a dirt tank full of water I spied his spoor again in the soft mud. I didn’t hunt for him that year either. It was sort of neat for me that he existed in this area bordering the vast desert, and doing quite well at it, too.
Fighting Bear of Tedoc Mountain
by Dan Tichenor
The bear made no mistakes in his tactics to evade pursuit by three Plott hounds. He ran straight for the dense manzanita brush on the side of Tedoc Mountain, where he can avoid the posterior pinch of canine enamel by backing up against the brush and facing the dogs head on.
The hair pulling treatment that often persuades a stubborn bear to climb is seriously impacted in this environment. Fifteen foot visibility reduces the prospects of getting a shot at the bear to nearly nil. Worse yet, the heavily muscled, bullet-shaped bear can charge through the brush with amazing speed and agility, while the dog’s rapid exit is impeded.
We heard the sound of brush breaking and dogs squealing. Then came the most terrifying sound of all: Silence! The bear was winning. Were the dogs loosing their nerve? Worse scenarios came painfully to mind. After minutes that seemed like hours, Osage and Crockett resumed the rhythmic chop of baying hounds, but there was no report from Megan.
There had been optimism a short while earlier, when Osage pronounced from atop the dog box that he had found a bear track. Driving through the Weston Place, owned by Skip Mendonsa, we saw the handy work of a bear pruning one of Skip’s apple trees. The tree, looking like a ten foot tall mushroom, did not appear to have even one unbroken limb remaining. Skip had left a phone message for “Dan the Bear Man,” to do something about it. I was only too happy to accommodate him.
Swarm vs. Nuge
By Ted Nugent
Thunder Bay Bruin Wars
To the disconnected minds of city folk and non-hunters, I suppose now would be as good a time as any to pose the age old, rhetorical question: “Are we having fun yet?” Certainly the cloud of six billion Ontario mosquitoes covering my face and hands were having the time of their lives, in spite of the fact that I had systematically killed more than a billion or so of them in the last few hours. The hordes of buzzing, flitting, stabbing, bloodsucking pests were clearly oblivious to my heroic destruction of so many of their carnivorous comrades, and on they sucked at the most inappropriate of times. Now they had me. Temporarily, that is, but they had me. There was nothing I could do to save my own blood supply now.
I could have carefully smashed several hundred more per swipe if I dared, but now, after another long, joint numbing, five hour stationery vigil, I was not about to give away my predator ambush position for anything, including the sweet revenge of much loved mosquito slamming. I just may use that Thermacell on my next bear hunt.
For before me, finally, moving ever so cautiously into shooting position, was the long awaited arrival of a big, fat, ebony furred black bear, and the magical spirit of the bear owned me. It is the only diversionary tactic that I know of to take such a swarm of mosquitoes off my mind. I tried to think like a U.S. Marine Corp warrior; improvise, adapt, overcome. Semper Fi! I wanted to kill this black bear in the worst way, so damn the torpedoes and the mosquitoes, it’s killin' time baby, and I will not be denied.
Black and Getting Darker
By Mike Bleech
After suffering through four days of unseasonably warm weather, the temperature finally dropped, though not uncomfortably so. Dense cloud cover hung low, blocking the sun so much that light conditions were like twilight for a couple of hours before nightfall. It was so dim that I could barely make out my bait that was no more than 15 yards away from my stand in a lonely, dark hemlock.
I checked the dial of the pocket watch hanging from my backpack, which hung on a limb the outfitter had trimmed at four inches just for this purpose, I guessed. A half-hour of legal shooting time remained. I had been instructed to wait in my tree stand until my guide came to get me, otherwise I probably would have given up and returned to the lodge.
After a few days in the north woods, and staying in a cabin that had no television or radio to dull the senses, my alertness and all senses became more acute than usual. Due to this, I felt that I knew for certain a faint rolling crackle I heard was the footstep of an approaching bear. In fact it was. After you have been around enough bears you can make a pretty good estimation of when you are hearing a bear, even determining to some extent what the bear is up to and its attitude.
Energy - The Key To Muzzleloader Hunting Success
By Toby Bridges
While I may not be quite as die hard a bear hunter as others writing in this magazine, I do like to slip in a black bear hunt every couple of years, especially in the spring. And that’s probably due to the fact that I grew up in the heart of the Midwest, easily 500 to 600 miles from the nearest habitat with quality bear hunting. Still, through the years, I have taken around 20 bears, all but one with rifles of the muzzle-loaded variety.
A few of those bears were taken with hefty charges of real black powder behind a tightly patched soft lead round ball, out of very traditionally styled .50 or .54 caliber side-hammer rifles. And a few more were shot with harder hitting heavy “maxi-style” lead conical bullets. But the majority of the bears I have taken with a muzzleloader have been shot with modern plastic-saboted bullets, propelled by a charge of modern black powder substitute out of a very modern in-line ignition front-loaded rifle. More often than not, I simply use the same rifle and the same load I use for taking whitetail in the fall.
In my opinion, black bears, even really big black bears, do not require any more punch to bring down than a sizeable whitetail buck. But, if that is all I had to say about this topic, this could be the shortest article ever written for Bear Hunting Magazine.
Bruin With An Attitude
By Bryce Lambley
An Aggressive Bear May Have Been the Least of the Obstacles in Punching this Tag
When veteran Manitoba guide, John Krawchuk, returned from one of the remote northern areas hunted by Jason Lambley’s Hunts From the Heart, his tale of a huge bear chasing the guide out of a bait site met with some disbelief from his boss.
Lambley brushed the story off, thinking, “Okay, so there’s a large bear on the backside of the bait that made him nervous enough to back out of the area. But huge? And that aggressive?”
Still, the more he thought about it, the more his interest was piqued. John had been guiding for well over 20 years and had never been one to exaggerate a bear’s size, as many guides do, in order for the client to believe they’ve taken or are hunting a larger bear. But could it be this bear, as John had described, was every bit as large as Lambley’s largest personally-killed bear from 1995 that tipped the scales at just under 500 pounds?
Besides, it was almost too late to do anything about it anyway. Krawchuk had been in the area taking tree stands down as they had finished their fall bear hunts and were planning to make the transition to head to Alberta for their moose hunt.