Monday, March 25, 2013

Bear Hunting in Canada


Donald with nice bear shot with 12 gauge and Lightfield slugs
                   
 
 
 
            Bear Hunting in Canada

 

 The big day has finally arrived. After waiting 10 months from August 2010 when I got this trip through POMA to June this year we are looking forward to the trip to Quebec. The Danis family generously donated the hunt to help POMA raise money for worthy causes such as helping writers getting their careers started. They deserve accolades for their generosity. Bill Miller from the North American Hunting Club arranged with the Danis family to give the hunt.    The lodge that we are going to is http://www.domaineshannon.com/home.html  It is a family owned business by The Danis Family, Raymond, Serge and Sylvain. I personally dealt with Serge. You can check out their website for info on hunts and fishing.

 

 We did the usual preparations sighting in guns and making sure we didn’t forget anything and got all of the required paperwork done. You have to go to Customs to get your guns certified so you can bring them back to the US after the hunt is over. You should be able to find a customs office in your area. If you don’t do this prior to the hunt you will have a very difficult time bring back your guns. For the Canadian Government you have to file a firearms declaration listing exactly what you are bringing including type, caliber, ser #’s and your name and address. It is a non resident firearms declaration issued by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police which you can download and print. If you take care of this ahead of time it will save you aggravation at the airport. It will also cost $25 per gun case. Be sure that you don’t bring any restricted firearms as that will cause problems. Handguns and high capacity semi autos are not permitted so I would advise that you research ahead of time regarding legal weapons. If you are not sure leave it home. I am telling you this because if you don’t do this ahead of time it might ruin your vacation. You may also encounter some hostility from various officials about the guns so having the correct paperwork will help out greatly.  Of course you need a passport which can be obtained at the Post Office. You can get into Canada without a passport but returning back to the US is much more difficult without one. Going through airports is enough of hassle so don’t bring any unnecessary pain upon yourself by not having the correct paperwork. Be sure that the airline knows that you are transporting firearms and put them in an airline grade case. One other thing if you shoot a bear you need to tag it there so you can bring it back to the US. The outfitter can help you out on that matter.

 
 
Good fishing on the lake
 
 

 We arrived at the lodge Sunday evening after a four hour drive from. Ottawa. The lodge is located in the middle of nowhere and I mean nowhere. We drove 45 miles on a dirt road after leaving the paved section behind. There is no cell phone service or TV’s there so you might want to bring a book or two along. They do have Wi-Fi at the main lodge and a land line phone.   The cabins have some age but are well maintained and clean and have the necessary items such as a stove and refrigerator. I would not classify it as luxurious but it is ok for the purposes. If you are handicapped then you need to let them know ahead of time and they will make accommodations for you as they did for me.

 

 The last thing I expected to see there was a French chef. This guy cooked up some awesome meals that were fancy with all the sauces and fancy deserts. It was like eating at a fancy French restaurant. In other words the food is first rate. Breakfast was also top rate and great sandwiches were provided for lunch. Like everyone else at the lodge he and his assistants worked hard to make it a pleasant stay. They succeeded quite well.

 
338 RCM withAlpen scope good scope for gathering light
 
 

 The bear hunting is over baits and you are put into a blind. That might sound easy but believe me it isn’t. There is no guarantee that you will see any bear even if you do things right.  Bears are very intelligent and wary animals and especially the larger ones don’t go to a bait unless they feel secure in that there is no danger. They don’t get large by being stupid. They are very quick and move quietly capable of running up to 40 MPH and can climb trees with ease. They almost seem like a ghost as one second there is nothing and suddenly a bear appears. It might seem boring but you need to pay attention every second lest you miss out on a shot. Try and get a comfortable position early on so you can remain motionless as possible to enhance your chance of seeing a bruin. Hunting black bears is very worthwhile challenge that any hunter should enjoy. If seeing a bear out in the woods doesn’t get your heart racing then you better have someone take your pulse because you probably don’t have one. Another aspect though very small is the danger factor. A black bear is much more powerful then a human and can dismember one if it chooses to do so which is very seldom. Tracking a wounded bear at night has a way of keeping you alert. The bears average around 250 LBS but can be larger. You should bring a rifle that is powerful enough to do the job. You don’t need a super magnum, anything such as the 30-06 with a good bullet will definitely do the job. Bears are tough and even when well hit they may travel some distance. You don’t need a super accurate rifle as long as it has enough oomph to do the job. If it shoots a 3” group at 100 yards then you are in business. Shots are seldom over 75 yards and frequently much closer.

 

 The guides at the lodge work very hard to insure a hunter a chance to harvest one of these magnificent animals. They maintain the baits by checking them every couple of days to see which ones are active. The head guide EZ and his helpers drive some 100 miles each day to inspect and refresh the baits. The stands are set up so you can see a bear without being seen. A bear has an astronomical sense of smell and their hearing is also great. Their eyes are definitely adequate for the job at hand. You can use various items to cover your scent and silence is indeed golden here. Domaine Shannon runs a great lodge and I would recommend that you check them out if you are contemplating on going to Canada. They also offer moose hunting and good fishing at Shannon Lake. Pike and Muskie are the fish there.  While I didn’t fish I saw a lot of boats come back with stringers of fish so the lake is pretty well stocked.  They also have an 80 yard shooting range to make sure that the scope didn’t get knocked off during the flight. My 338 RCM was off by about 4” which was easy to rectify. The Alpen scope model 40-50 performed very well the light gathering qualities and lighted reticule really helped out in less then ideal lighting conditions. The optics are extremely clear, a big help in the woods. The model 40-50 is a 1.5 X 6 X 42 with a 30 mm tube and I would recommend it for serious hunting. For more info you can go to http://www.alpenoptics.com/  for a complete listing of their fine optics.   

 
 
Cabin we stayed in
 

 The guides have you at the stand by 6:00 PM which is plenty of time as bears don’t generally move around a lot prior to 8:00 or so. Of course there are exceptions as with any type of hunting. There is no morning hunting as that isn’t as productive. They maintain between 65 and 85 bait sites and I have to admire them as to how they remember where they are. The roads are primitive and there aren’t a lot of signs there to help out. I probably would be lost most of the time if I had to do that job. They go out during the day to freshen the baits and see which ones are active. They only take a few hunters each week to increase the chances of success. Pickup from the blind is usually after 9:00 as the days are very long that time of the year.

 

 The first couple of nights we saw bear but they didn’t stick around long enough to allow a shot. I saw a large one about 9:10 or so but he vanished like a ghost before I could get off a shot. The same situation happened to Donald, like I said it isn’t as easy as it seems.

The next night I saw a small bear but gave him a pass as I didn’t want a cub. I saw another bear but he was partially obscured by some tree branches. I couldn’t tell for sure how large he was or where I could shoot as I couldn’t see all of his body. Ethics should prevent any hunter from taking such a shot.  When in a blind it is imperative that you don’t make any noise or do something that produces an odor that might spook the bear. You will also want good bug protection as there are a good supply of mosquitoes and black flies.  If you are swatting and scratching bugs then that will considerably diminish your chances of success. I highly recommend Therma Cell products as they work great in the blind. A good repellant with deet and a face net are also good things to have along. If you go out without any insect protection you will diminish your chances of success as the bugs will be getting your attention instead of the hunt itself. I can not over emphasize that point as the bugs are vicious and hungry. Most of the windows on the blinds are screened but the pesky bugs find all of the little cracks and take advantage of them.

 

 The following night Donald shot a nice size bear, about 325 LBS on the hoof around 8:15 PM. The well hit bear ran about 30 yards before piling up He went a slightly different route and was using a Remington model 870 pump with Lightfield slugs that were handloaded. A Leopold scope sat on top of his gun which performed well as you expect a Leopold product to do. They proved accurate and deadly in the rifled barrel that he was using. Range of the shot was about 65 yards. I have tested Lightfield products extensively and I can recommend them for the hunter who wants to use a slug either by choice or law. For more info you can go to http://www.lightfield-ammo.com/ for a complete listing of their products.

Lightfield slugs produce excellent accuracy
 

 The following night I was in a stand next to a logging road. The bait was about 75 yards into the woods and of course I was watching it. Imagine my amazement when a large bear appeared out of nowhere walking on the road coming toward my blind. He was leisurely walking along and came within 10 yards of me. Of course I didn’t make a sound and couldn’t get a shot because of the blind construction. I watched him for three or four minutes and finally he started to walk away from me and I thought that he was gone. However he entered the woods about 60 yards away on my side and I was sure that he was going to the bait. Sure enough about a minute later he appeared and I took the shot. He went down but was thrashing about and do to an obstruction I was unable to do a follow up shot. He got up and started walking away at that time I fired again but he disappeared. He was hit hard but they couldn’t find him as he went into a marshy area. It just shows you that bears are tough and in spite of a good shot I lost a fine trophy.  I was using a 338 RCM with a 210 grain Barnes TTSX bullet.    

 

 It was an enjoyable stay and the folks at Domaine guarantee you an opportunity to harvest a bear and if you don’t get an opportunity then they will offer you a trip next year on them.  That is pretty hard to beat. Their success rate is typically 90%.  They also offer moose hunting during that season. If you are looking for a good place to hunt and fish then I can highly recommend these people. If circumstances permit I will return.
 
Since lodge is out in the middle of nowhere a sea plane is handy to get there
 

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grizzly bear hunts said...

Black bear hunting behind a properly trained pack of hounds is among the most enjoyable, and physical, techniques of hunting bruins. In the first bay from the hound, showing they're around the scent, towards the final treeing from the bear, this process of hunting black bear is definitely an adrenaline filled hurry. Regrettably, because of the anti-hunting crowd, this process of hunting continues to be outlawed in certain states. If you are looking at this kind of hunting, remember you've got to be in top health. When the hounds take presctiption the scent, there's almost no time for breaks or resting. Check it out and you'll be hooked for existence.

moose hunts said...

Even when you haven't hunted before, you've most likely heard about outfitters who offer led tracks. For those who have hunted before and think the concept is crazy, you need to re-think it. Led tracks aren't a good way of hunting by any means. You're still hunting, but you will find the benefits of getting knowledgeable people which takes you to definitely the very best places around.

Donkey Rider said...

What are you launching ICBM's with the rifle? You got 2 different height scope rings you ass jockey! Pointed to the moon!