Sept/Oct 2011 Issue
- Q & A - Tips
- Video Review
- News & Notes
- Spotlight On: Alaska
- Bear Association News
- Bear Essentials - Gadgets & Gear
- Outfitters & Guides
- Hunter Photo Gallery
- Bruin in the Kitchen - Recipes
- The Bear’s Den - Marketplace
- Crazy Tales from Uncle Geddy & The BMG
Archery Talk with Steve Bartylla
The Ultimate Setup
Muzzleloading with Al Raychard
10 Things to Know About Muzzleloading
Handguns for Bear with Max Prasac
Auto Loaders for Bear
In Hot Pursuit with Travis Reggear
Adaptation or Extinction
Scent Strategies with Dick Scorzafava
Guns & Optics with Ralph Lermayer
The Campfire That Never Stops Burning
By Ted Nugent
Like his brother Rocco, my son Toby represents the ultimate campfire BloodBrother. I know that as their dad, you may figure I am a bit prejudiced. Ya think? But when you celebrate as many hunting campfires every year like I do, and get to toast the best people in the world, you pretty much know what great people look and act like.
With golden flames flickering against the smiling faces of Toby, Mike Ray, Joe Jordan, Paul Wilson, George Zieman and outfitter Jack Tippmann and crew from Indiana, I was blessed to share these powerful moments and memories in the wilderness of Quebec, Canada, on what has become an annual bear hunting safari with my son and true friends. We have heard it said many times before, but it just doesn’t get any better than this.
Tippmann Outfitters operates a world class bear and moose hunting outfit deep in the belly of the Canadian wilds, where critter populations are at an all-time high, and the breathtaking wilderness calls your name and cleanses the soul.
Adventure the Sawtooth Way
By W.P. Williamson
The St. Mary River was at full spring melt, runoff levels of water that rushed from the snow pack high in the surrounding, steep Rocky Mountains. The frigid, turbid waters were a raging and muddy torrent that carried even full grown pine trees as well as the soil and rocks from the river banks. The noisy pack of furious and discouraged hounds ran up and down the river’s edge, baying and howling their discontent at the fast departing brown phased black bear. The ancient and clever old boar had made good his escape from the pursuing hounds for the second day in a row by swimming the swollen river and leaving the much smaller hounds unable to continue the chase. They were simply too small to swim in the raging and near freezing waters and make it across alive. Big game guide and houndsman, Ryan Berard and his hunters, Andre Strand and his wife, Linda, from Norway, finally reached the river and began to gather and leash the outraged hounds. In the past two attempts the bear had escaped after very lengthy runs and perhaps a dozen extremely exciting bay ups over the course of the two days of chasing this particular bruin.
A Polar Adventure
By Bernie Barringer
Michele Leqve calls herself the “Xtreme Huntress.” What could be more extreme than trying to bag a polar bear with stick and string?
The polar bear is the largest carnivore on the planet. A lot of bears have a bad reputation, and certainly all of them could kill you and eat you; though cases of such are rare. That is not the case with the polar bear, however. More people have been killed and eaten by polar bears than any other bear. This monstrous bear, commonly weighing over half a ton, spends its life roaming the vast wastelands of the north and the frozen sea ice looking for food. And anything that moves, it sees as food. That includes people. A lot of big game animals have a reputation for being dangerous. The polar bear has the goods.
So what would cause a woman to want to go out onto the frozen sea ice near the North Pole and try to shoot one with a bow and arrow? “It’s all about the adventure,” says Michele Leqve. “The whole thing is so dramatic,” she says; “so difficult, and so surrounded by amazing sights and amazing people.” She fell in love with the Inuit people, and gained a lot of respect for their everyday lives. But before we get too far into this, let’s begin at the beginning.
Brown Bear on the Wild Side
by Dick Scrorzafava
Alaska remains the quintessence of a true wilderness, the crown jewel of the United States. Home to the most spectacular wild places remaining on the face of the planet. Hunting the remote Alaskan wilderness is a spiritual thing for me, an inviolable sanctum, secreted away in the heart of the truly wild Alaska.
I had been looking forward to this trip for a long time. I learned many years ago that if you want to be successful on a hunt, find a very successful guide and listen to them. This alone will dramatically increase your odds for a victorious hunt. I chose to hunt with Bill Werneke who has a great reputation for locating good brown bears for his clients.
My adventure with my cameraman, Rex Summerfield, started with a float plane ride over Cook’s Inlet and into the Alaskan Range to a remote lake approximately 140 miles into God’s country. The breath-taking views from the window were virtually indescribable as the turbo-prop Otter motored across the sky to our destination. The plane landed on the small lake with no name and taxied over to the mouth of a creek. We unloaded our gear and began to set up our camp on the shore which would be “home” for the next ten days.
How Long to Bait?
By Richard P. Smith
Back in my college days, a friend of mine, Jim Haveman, asked me if I would help him collect a black bear. He knew I had been consistently successful while hunting over bait and enjoyed bear hunting, so I agreed to put a bait out for him and let him know when the time was right to hunt. At that point, bear season was almost half over and I didn’t have any active baits, but I still thought I could locate a bruin for my friend.
An uncle told me that he had recently seen lots of bear sign in an overgrown apple orchard where he had been doing some bird hunting. On September 30th, I went to that orchard, checked out the bear sign and placed a bait in a promising location. By October 3rd, the bait had been cleaned up and I added more.
After four more days of consistent activity at the bait, I figured the spot was ready to hunt. Jim couldn’t make it that day, so we decided to hunt the 9th. We got in position during the afternoon. Jim had a 12 gauge shotgun loaded with slugs and I was set up behind him with a still camera, hoping to get photos of him shooting a bear.
Stopping a Charging Bear!
By Ed Hall
It’s all about the bullet. Bullets, recoil and common sense.
A bear is charging you from 30 yards away. You might get one shot with your S&W .500. Do you have complete confidence that your bullet will center in his skull?
You might get a couple or three shots with a less potent handgun having less recoil, but will a lesser handgun get the job done?
Stopping a bear “in his tracks” requires that a bullet penetrates the bear’s brain or breaks its upper spine. Nothing else guarantees the instant stop required for a close range attacking bear. Fortunately, the target is unquestioned, the bear’s head, right out there looking at you. We just need a bullet which will always penetrate and get well inside the toughest skull.
I have been a believer in heavy, hardcast bullets in bear handguns and have been casting my own for many years. Three companies now offer good selections of these hardcast bullets and loaded ammo, DoubleTap, Cor-bon and Grizzly. These three companies make the toughest hunting handgun ammunition on the planet.
While you might believe my opinions, I asked opinions of each of these companies.
More Than Black Bears… On An Alaskan Beach
By Paul Schnell
In 2009 Alaska celebrated its 50th year of statehood and this author celebrated his half century. If you had to choose between a May birthday bash or a spring bear hunt in coastal Alaska, would the decision be easy? It was for this author/naturalist carrying a Sharps rifle and camera.
Consider yourself fortunate when your father-in-law loves outdoor adventure and hunts in faraway places like Africa, New Zealand, Mongolia, New Mexico and Alaska. Overseas hunts are out of reach for many hunters, but guided bear hunts are still realistic goals for those who plan and save. Alaska is an ecological gem in terms of its undeveloped landscape and incredible biodiversity and it offers an unparalleled opportunity to pursue bruins in a place that recalls what the “Lower 48” appeared like more than three centuries ago.
Tom Brown, Sr. (my father-in-law) booked our hunt with Otto Kulm, operator of Pacific Mountain Guides, for the second week in May. This was a bit early in the season and Otto cautioned that the bears would be just starting their emergence from winter torpor. Even though we might see fewer but larger bears, he all but assured us that we would see mature bears to hunt, nevertheless.