Nov/Dec 2011 Issue
- 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
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.
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.