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Bear Hunting Magazine


January/February 2010 Issue

Feature Sections

  • Book Review
  • Q & A - Tips
  • Video Review
  • Bruin in the Kitchen - Recipes
  • News & Notes
  • Spotlight On: Manitoba
  • Bear Essentials - Gadgets & Gear
  • Bear Association News
    Outfitters & Guides
  • Hunter Photo Gallery
  • Crazy Tales from Uncle Geddy  & The Bear Mountain Gang


  • Muzzleloading with Chad Schearer

    Best Powders For Trophy Bruins - Loose Or Compressed?
  • Scent Strategies with Dick Scorzafava

    For A Bear, Smell Is Everything
  • In Hot Pursuit with Joe McCray

    Taking Out The Trash
  • Archery Talk with Bob Robb

    Are Mechanical Broadheads Good Bear Medicine?
  • Guns & Optics with Ralph Lermayer

    Are Bullets Going Green?




Memories From Alberta

By Kendall Helton

The sound of the boat motor slowly faded away and we realized we were all alone except for whatever lurked in the trees and brush around us. I have been bow hunting for 26 years with several nice deer to my credit, but I had always dreamed of hunting black bears. I just needed a partner to help with the drive to Canada. That is where my brother Kevin came in, since my 10 year-old son Tanner was too young to drive. It took a lot of talking and persuading to get Kevin to go. It also took some persuading with my wife to convince her I would keep Tanner safe while hunting bears (she never mentioned anything about my safety)!
       This was to be the first bear hunt for the both of us. I was hunting with a bow, and my brother with a rifle. My son who had accompanied me on several goose and pheasant hunts would be on his first bear hunt also. There is nothing more special than spending hunting trips with your child. My family has grown every year and now I have four sons that I will try to teach about bear hunting and the outdoors.


Shotgunning Bruins

by Ed Hall

You very likely already own one of the best, most dependable bear guns ever made. It is one you shoot often and are very comfortable carrying, handling and shooting. It is your 12 gauge shotgun.
    I doubt there’s a bear guide who will recommend against its use on black bear, and likely not rule against it for close encounters with larger bears as well. Compare the great .460 Weatherby having a TKO (Taylor Knockout) factor of 85 to your 12 gauge shotgun, loaded with a Lightfield Commander Plus slug delivering a 600-grain slug with a TKO of 115.
    Shotgun slugs do their work delivering freight-train momentum. High velocity rifle bullets deliver tremendous impact energy, but that figure relates more to the wide path of hydraulic destruction of tissue and blood vessels. But if a rifle bullet expands either too much or too little, its performance is lessened severely, and the higher the velocity, the greater the possibility that it will perform in less than textbook fashion. A shotgun slug might have a lower “energy” figure, but a tough, fat, blunt, heavy slug has the momentum to penetrate deeply and the punch to get the job done every time.


Dogging Big Bears

By Scott York

   Hunting black bears with hounds can be one of the most adrenaline filled, physically demanding hunts you will ever participate in, and unless you have done it before there is no way you can predict how you will react when you find yourself face-to-face with a snarling bruin. Many a great hunter has been humbled by being that close to a bear. Indeed, I have had clients freeze and not be able to move, or panic and miss easy opportunities that in any other circumstance would be considered a chip shot.
       I have had people tell me that they would never hunt bears with hounds because it’s not sporting, but these are always people who have not tried it. On the flip side, I’ve never had anybody that has followed a pack of dogs with me say that it is not sporting. Usually, they will tell you that their heart has not beat that hard in a very, very long time.
       I have been running hounds and guiding bear hunters in Maine for much of my life. Here are five of the most frequently asked questions I get from prospective clients.


Observations Of A Bear Lover

by Ted Nugent

   Bears, bears, everywhere bears. Big black bears showing up on trail cams in southern Michigan farm country. A black bear wandering around the Pontiac Silverdome just north of Detroit. New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts’ homeowners chasing away bears constantly from their backyard decks. A huge sow with cubs raiding deer feeders in the Texas Hill Country. A Discovery Channel documentary of some clown in Alaska’s wilderness outback kissing and hugging numerous bears on his porch. USDA paid hunters wasting tax dollars by the millions and bears by the hundreds in Colorado, California, Idaho, New Mexico, Utah, Montana, Wyoming, Arizona, Washington, Oregon and all across America. American hunters being denied bear tags in Wisconsin as more and more bears kill more and more deer, and more government “hunters” get paid more wasted tax dollars to kill more and more bears. Welcome to Planet of the Apes.
        More bears every year are being systematically killed and wasted in our National Parks, which are owned by “we the people” yet, “we the people” are forbidden to hunt them while Fedzilla charges us to have them killed, but not until after these clearly overpopulated bears have destroyed millions of dollars worth of livestock and private property. Of course more truckloads of wasted tax dollars are blowtorched nonstop ad nauseum for this mindless damage control simply because bureaucrats wish to avoid the political friction if they were to do the right thing, allowing proven quality control instead


Bear Crushing Machine

By Brett I. Parker

.338 Ruger Compact Magnum A High-Tech High-Performer

Generally, when someone refers to some “new” cartridge, it is just that, new. On occasion, a new cartridge is something more. The .338 Ruger Compact Magnum (or RCM for short), housed in Ruger’s handy Hawkeye rifle is a true leap forward in hunting technology. The .338 RCM offers magnum performance in a small, fast-handling rifle. It delivers the ballistics that we are used to seeing from full-sized magnum rifles with a short length action and a 20-inch barrel.
        The hard hitting power of the .338 RCM, which compare to a .338 Winchester Magnum, in a rifle with an overall length of 39.5 inches and a weight of 6.75 pounds makes for a very capable bear hunting package. When you top it off with Swarovski Optik’s new Z6i 1.7-10x42, you may just have the best bear rig in the woods.

The Caliber
            Like many of today’s exciting new developments, this one came from the partnership between Hornady and Ruger. Hornady currently loads a 200-grain SST and a 225-grain SST. I only hope that a 250-grain load will follow.


Adrenaline Rush

By Jeffrey Folsom

If you have never been on a bear hunt with hounds or have never been on a chase with a bear that would not tree, you are missing out on some really great fun.

Excitement was in the air as the dogs struck the scent of a bear shortly after the morning hunt got underway. Travis checked the area for tracks and found a good one, then he let a few dogs go to get the track lined out. They were off and barking hard in no time so we dumped more hounds in. It did not take long before they were over the mountain and out of hearing. We jumped back on the ATVs and headed after them as quickly as we could.
     I had hunted with Reggear Outfitters for both bear and mountain lion in the past, and knew this week would be packed with a lot of fun and a lot of bears. This particular hunt happened when one day, Ted Nugent sent an e-mail to me about bear hunting across America, and I asked if he wanted to include a hound hunt in Idaho. He thought it was a killer idea, and I gave him the contact information for Travis at Reggear Outfitters. From there we worked out the best timing for all and made it happen. I arrived a few days before Ted as he was at the NRA Convention and I was able to get in on a few bears, hoping to bring home a large color phase.


The Big Bore Grizzly

By Jim Townsend

Ten Yards is Close Enough, Especially in the Dark!

    Like most red blooded American males that hunt, I had a dream of going to Alaska for grizzly bear and moose since childhood. My friend Kevin Ketner and I were referred to John Andre of Shoshone Outfitters by Doug Turnbull of Turnbull Restorations. John had booked a number of hunts for Doug over the years. I called John and he had an opening for us at Stoney River Lodge with Curly and Betty Warren. John said he had hunted there and that the people were great. I was still skeptical after our recent fall hunt that went sour, so I got on Curly’s website to check references.
      I found that they list all their clients from previous hunts each year. I picked three and contacted them. Everyone said the same thing, great people, first-class outfit and they all would book with them again. So with this information, we booked the hunt.
      Kevin and I flew into Anchorage on May 8th and spent a few days sightseeing and getting acclimated to weather and the four hour time zone change. It was my third time in Anchorage and we hit some of the highlights. I spent a bunch of money at Wild West Guns on three rifles, a good birthday present for me.


22 Inches Of Cinnamon

By Brad Fry

“There are no large color phase bears around, they must all turn black or get shot out when they are young!”
       These are typical comments I have heard over my 20+ years of hunting black bears here in this vast, remote province of Saskatchewan. Although the color phase black bear is certainly less common, nothing could be further from the truth. Typical percentages run anywhere from 10% color in the extreme north and reach as high as 50% in some of the remote southern fringe habitats, where the bears have access to top notch food sources. It is in this rich habitat region that I love to pursue bears each and every year, as both an outfitter and hunter.
        I first came across a promising looking area when ground scouting for whitetails one spring. The concentrated scat and the large prints confirmed there were a few mature bears working the area. Although I never had time to get bait out in this country, I filed it away in my memory banks as a future bait site to keep in mind. That same fall I did manage to get in the same area to do some whitetail hunting. I became increasingly frustrated, however, as I was trying to capture the local deer population on trail camera, and quite often was greeted with pictures of the local bear population instead. At the time, I was in deer mode and the bear pictures were viewed as a bit of a nuisance. This attitude did turn around though, once I started to capture some good looking bears on camera. The bear hunter in me began thinking of the up and coming spring season, some six months away.


Saskatchewan’s Surly Bruins

By Judd Cooney

Larry was really glad he had traded his normal footwear of knee-high rubber boots for his steel toed firefighter’s boots for pulling tree stands as the raging bear grabbed his foot and chomped down.
      Larry Gardiner operated Black Bay Outfitters in far northern Saskatchewan where he concentrated on guiding trophy spring bear hunts in some of the best bear country in Canada. Larry was born in the area, and lived off the land by hunting, trapping, guiding and fighting fires. He grew up around black bears and has dispatched his share with everything from a .22 rifle to bow and arrow. Larry has great respect for the bear’s tremendous strength, stamina and survival instincts. Until recently he had never had a serious run-in with black bears, but according to his brother, “He evidently upset the bear gods ‘cause things changed.”
       Larry’s first encounter came while he was looking for blood after one of the hunters took a shot at a bear. Larry was crawling through an aspen thicket checking a well-used bear trail for sign when he thought he heard the hunter behind him. When he turned around, Larry found himself face-to-face with a 300 pound black bear at 10 feet! The bruin had his ears laid back and was in the process of taking another stealthy step when Larry discovered his presence and jumped up hollering. Taken by surprise in mid-stalk the bear backed off, and disappeared into the dense undergrowth.



30 Yards … And Closing

By Tony Pannkuk

As Steve and I made our way through the almost opaque maze of the tightly woven undergrowth, the thought of a six-foot plus black bear lying in ambush somewhere in this immense forest sent chills down my spine. Excitement was blended with caution as we slowly and quietly descended down hill, winding our way through the jungle of the north. If I just had wings to get above this tight undergrowth, I could have the advantage that our predator now has. Are we now the prey? Are we now the hunted? I stopped and looked back at Steve, he smiled and without saying a word I knew we were both electrified with anticipation. We needed to find this beast of the forest before he found us, or he could provide more excitement than we could handle for this entire hunting adventure. It only added to the illusion of my wandering thoughts. The magic of it all glowed in the shadowy forest that surrounded our location.
      One of the many things I like about British Columbia is the hunting. Over the years I have taken several black bears and a grizzly. With 140,000 to 160,000 black bears inhabiting British Columbia, it makes it no doubt the top-hunting destination in the world for bears. It also has some of the largest bears, if you are looking for a nice trophy, plus it is a two bear area. You can’t bait bears in British Columbia, but you can use hounds. With so many bears, however, I find the best way to hunt them is spot-and-stalk. On a normal day of hunting, we will see an average of seven bears. This may confuse you as to what bear to stalk. Taking a bear that goes over seven feet will be common, so I will wait until the forth or fifth day before taking a bear unless I see a nice trophy in one of the first three days. More and more color phase bruins have been spotted in the area that we hunt.


A Week Of Firsts

By Craig R. Turner

Son & Father: There’s a bear!
Father: Shoot it!
Son: Do you think it’s big enough? 
Father: Shoot it!
Son: It’s ears are rounded but I don’t  know.
Father: Shoot it!

Wow, what a week! Give me a minute here, however, and let me take you back to the beginning.
     I have my own company, Turner Outdoors, and my primary business is advertising sales in the outdoor arena. Jeff Folsom, the publisher of Bear Hunting Magazine, brought me in about a year ago to handle ad sales for the publication. What a great fit! As a long-time whitetail hunter in New York state, a bear hunt was very high on my list of hunts to do, and it was possible that a bear hunt might end-up being a great fringe benefit to working with Jeff.
      Early this past spring things were in motion elsewhere, too. The Penobscot tribe in central Maine was ironing out the details that would allow them to put on the first ever spring bear hunt on their tribal lands. The final plan called for a small number of native guides to be awarded the opportunity to buy available tags, and take some lucky hunters into lands that had not been bear hunted in nearly a generation. Joe Dana, a Penobscot guide, accomplished artist and outdoor guru chose to team with Troy White, the owner and operator of Mid-Maine Outfitter in Lagrange to hunt a 33,000 acre piece of tribal lands just to the north.