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Nov/Dec 2011 Issue

Feature Sections

  • Q & A - Tips
  • Video Review
  • Book Review
  • News & Notes
  • Spotlight On: New Brunswick
  • 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


  • Handguns for Bear with Ed Hall

    The X-Frame .460
  • In Hot Pursuit with Travis Reggear

  • Guns & Optics with Ralph Lermayer

    New Magnums
  • Scent Strategies with Dick Scorzafava

    Ozone Technology for Controlling Odors
  • Crossbow Challenge with Daniel James Hendricks

    Lasting Impressions from the Koda-Express
  • Archery Talk with Steve Bartylla

    Selecting the Right Treestand




The Taz-Manian Double

By Grant N. Benson

For the fifth consecutive spring and the fourth accompanied by my son, Nick, the two of us were bowhunting in the friendly maritime province of New Brunswick with outfitter Mark DeJong, better known as “Taz” to his clients. On prior bow hunt, including a couple of additional return trips in the multi-hued fall days of October, I had been blessed to take four bears and Nick had taken one record class brute.
       With that as background, I will confess that my philosophy is that our sport is most honorably pursued as a personal endeavor between hunter and quarry with no “scores” kept. That is not to say, however, that personal goals should not be established. My son and I shared such a goal for this trip, to do what we had never done; each tag out on the same hunt. We have came close in past seasons, but in the end we always came up empty when the opportunity to punch the second person’s tag presented itself.



Find the Food for Late Fall Bears

By Ray Barr

I was walking to my treestand for a November deer hunt. A shortcut through a standing dry cornfield allowed me to get to my stand undetected. Walking down the rows, I was startled to see something big, black and furry in the row directly in front of me. I stopped and eyed the blob until I was certain that it was what it looked like, a black bear. Standing there, I became aware that there was a lot of bear scat in the area, and much of the corn was broken down, with ears pulled off and cleaned of their golden grain.
       I made a wide berth around that sleeping bear, but I learned something about bears that day. Bears will feed right up until they den for the winter, and if there is abundant food, they will not den until it is absolutely necessary. In fact, over much of the southern portion of their range, they will keep on chowing down on natural foods right up until Christmas.



Don't Trip Over a Grizzly

By Hugh Bevan

I think my heart actually stopped when I stepped around a big spruce stump that was washed up on the beach and looked right at the hind end of a grizzly bear, not five yards away. The bear was digging in a pile of kelp debris deposited by last night’s high tide. There was nothing good about this situation; in fact a number of things could go wrong in a hurry.
    I was guiding for Master Guide Bill Peterson of Sitka, Alaska and we were hunting coastal grizzlies on the west coast of Admiralty Island. Admiralty is a huge island containing more than 4,200 square miles. It is the seventh largest island in North America and home to the highest concentration of coastal grizzlies in the United States. Admiralty is known to the Tlingit Indians of southeast Alaska as “Xootsnoowu” which in English means Fortress of the Bear.



Lessons Learned About Hound Hunting

by Todd Mascaretti

The Porcupine Mountains of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula were inundated with torrential rains the days preceding my first bear hunt with hounds.
      As I had feared, the roads were washed out. Cutting tracks was near impossible. The hours of checking roads passed slowly when finally the silence on the radio was broken, a track was found. Before we could get to the fresh track, one of the hounds rigged.
      We stopped the truck and placed GPS collars on the dogs and let them loose. The rest of the group arrived and we cut two more dogs loose. Michigan allows six dogs on a trail at any one time. Immediately they began the bawling sounds that trailing hounds make, it is a great sound.
       My first experience with hounds had come when I hunted in a camp offering bait and hound hunts in my home state of Wisconsin. There, many outfitters run hounds as well as accommodate bait sitters. At first I was a bit turned off by the idea of hounds being run in camp. Could an outfitter meet my needs, while also tending to hound hunters?



Bear Baiting For Beginners

by Stephen D. Carpenteri

Most hunters’ bucket list includes at least one trophy black bear, and it doesn’t take a lot of research to discover that hunting over bait produces the best odds for success. In most areas that allow baiting, some 70% of the bears killed annually are taken over bait. There are other ways to hunt bears (still-hunting, stalking, standing, driving, calling and with dogs) but when all is said and done, bait hunting is the most productive method, spring or fall.
      Fortunately, baiting for bears is not some great, mysterious undertaking that only a select few understand. In its lowest common denominator, baiting is simple: place your baits, replenish them often and coordinate your efforts so that the bear shows up to eat when there is a hunter waiting in the stand. Nothing to it!



Best Bets for Bagging Big Bears

by Bernie Barringer

Most outdoorsmen go through a progression of sorts during their lifetime. Most beginning fishermen, for example, are happy to catch a few fish and enjoy the excitement that comes with it. But as time goes on, they are not satisfied with a few bluegills, they want to catch a lot of fish. Then the progression goes to catching large fish of a particular species or trying more difficult methods of catching fish such as fly fishing.
        Hunting is the same way. A deer hunter is thrilled to shoot their first deer, but sooner or later they finds that they have a fascination with shooting a mature buck, or with trying to shoot a deer with a bow rather than a rifle.
         It stands to reason that bear hunters would go through the same progression. Many experienced bear hunters are either in search of color phase bears or a real whopper. This article is for those of you who have a hankering to shoot a real whopper. Or for anyone with a passing curiosity about the “where’s” and the “why’s” of truly big bears.



300 Pounds of Chocolate

By Brett Grimm

In September I found myself traveling to northern Minnesota on a black bear hunt, bowhunting North America’s top predator. The hint of danger for this hunt only seemed to fuel my excitement for a northern adventure.
       This was my third trip to Minnesota for bear, the first two times I was met with some tough weather conditions and bad breaks; I was hoping this time would be different. I had talked to the outfitter, Tim Irlbeck of Grygla, Minnesota, several times over the summer and I knew he could get me on some bears. I would be hunting the third week of the season.
       After driving all night we arrived at 5:00 a.m. and got unloaded, had some breakfast and got ready for the afternoon hunt. It was determined that I would be hunting a stand called “The Rock.” Its name was due to the stacked rock formation from the native Indians from long ago. This stand close to the Indian Reservation and many say it is haunted and you can hear voices or see things, even though there is nothing around for miles. I guess I will see for myself.


Things Change

by Judy Black

“Listen,” Dad said. “Something changed.” We had spent the day at camp and were putting away the items we had used that day; the grill, the charcoal and the shovel. It was dark and I was a little girl but I remember it like it was yesterday. I remember moving closer to dad’s leg, telling him “you are scaring me, what do you mean?” He said, “Listen. Just a minute ago the whippoorwill were calling, the frogs were croaking and the wind was lightly blowing. Now the woods were dead quiet. Taking my hand, we headed toward the camp. As we walked, Dad told me that he didn’t mean to scare me but things do change all the time.
     In a climber stand at a place they call the Clear Cut, I sat remembering my dad. It was hard to believe that it had been almost a month since he passed away. My eyes caught sight of two squirrels chasing each other through a brush pile under my stand. A crow flew over head and I could hear the wind swooshing with every flap of its wings. As I sat scanning the area for incoming bears, I was well aware of the cold wind blowing. The tree my stand was attached to was rocking back and forth and I was shivering. 


Don't Say Big Bear

by Kendall Helton

The biggest black bear I have ever seen, as black as coal and all of 500 pounds, was slowly lumbering towards us. This was the third night of our spring bear hunt with Jim and Kim Paziuk of Rutting Buck Outfitters in Manitoba. This was a hunt I had promised my son, Tanner, that I would take him on when he turned 12. My nine year-old son, Hunter, and my brother, Kevin, came along on the trip as well. Kevin would bow hunt while Hunter sat with him. After reviewing trail cam pictures and sighting in our bows, we made our afternoon hunt plans and I was about to learn not to say “big bear.”
     Jim took Tanner and myself in on a quad near the bait and walked in the last few hundred yards. We sat down in the double ladder stand and it wasn’t long before the first bear appeared. We watched the small sow for a while until we heard a branch break. A lot of times, bears will break branches to alert other bears they are coming to the bait. The new bear was a nice boar, but he was rubbed pretty bad. The sow appeared to be coming into estrus, so we hoped she would attract a larger boar. The two bears hung around a long time until they became very alert. A bigger bear with very nice with a big V on his chest came in. He was not rubbed and chased the other boar back into the woods where we could hear them growling and fighting.


Bad Bears - Keeping them at Bay

By Joel Riotto

The sound was unmistakable; bear claws on spruce bark. Once a bear hunter hears it, it is not soon forgotten. It was that very sound that put me on high alert, scanning the base of my tree and the others around me. The crashing of the brush on the ridge above started my adrenaline pumping. It was obvious that a big bear was chasing subordinates from the area around this bait. In the distance I could see black shadows climbing with squirrel-like speed in order to escape the bully.
      The hostility between bears around this particular bait was unusually fierce. Every time a stronger bear arrived it would drive off the less dominant bears, assume control of the bait, and cause some of these subordinate bears to climb the white spruce trees around the bait to find safety from Mr. Big. It was only a matter of time before one of them chose the tree to which my stand was affixed.
        All week we had been having close encounters with bears on this bait and decided to equip the stand with self-defense items. It was my fourth consecutive year at this Alberta bear camp, a thoroughly relaxing place, which I looked forward to returning yearly. Our host took only two bowhunters a week and hunted only six weeks of the season. We stayed in his house with his family and ate at their table.


Getting Started Loading for Bear

By Ed Hall

Bear hunting is much too important to trust to most factory ammunition. While factory ammunition today is very good and very dependable, I prefer to shoot my own handloads. I handload for several reasons. Dependability, of course, is of prime importance; and patient, careful loading technique gives me total faith in my ammunition.
         There are several really good bear bullets on the market, difficult or impossible to find in factory ammunition, especially if you hunt with other than the latest modern cartridges. A top bear cartridge is the .358 Winchester, but factory ammunition has but a standard grade bullet. The .35 Whelen has but two non-premium bullets in factory ammo. Such is the case with 7x57mm, .307 and .356 Winchesters, 6mm Remington, .257 Roberts and many more.
         The better accuracy that handloads usually deliver over factory ammunition should never make a difference in taking any bear, but if on a combination hunt that might include reaching out a bit, I’m fussy enough to want top accuracy. Just a little thing such as seating your bullets more shallow, closer to the rifling, will often make a noticeable improvement in accuracy. Just make sure those cartridges aren’t too long for your magazine.


Girls, Guns and Black Bears

By Sam McCuin

My wife, Ruth, along with six other wonderful women, and a sweet 15-year-old girl named Kailey Suplinskas, were guests last fall of Remington Arms and Hal and Debbie Blood, owners of Cedar Ridge Outfitters of Jackman, Maine. Kailey, besides loving to hunt, is an accomplished softball pitcher, and was there with a very proud dad. It was mentioned that the hunters ranged in age from 15 to 60, so I think it is okay to reveal it here. The group, strangers before the hunt, were soon to share in a very special experience; hunting the majestic and illusive black bear.
     The adventure for Deb Dalti was to be her very first hunt of any kind, and she was thrilled to take part. There would be many exciting moments during our stay, and I was to experience my very own first of being in camp on an all women’s hunt. Men have a lot to learn about camaraderie from the ladies! My computer tells me this is a gender specific expression and I might want to consider exchanging the term ladies for women, people or individuals. I have only this to say; they were ladies at all times and I loved being with them. It was the most exceptional expression of sportsmanship I have ever experienced in a hunting camp.