It doesn’t matter what the weather is. A chocolate bar will always melt in your pocket. I finally figured it out. The reason is that chocolate melts at 93 degrees and our body temp runs at 98 degrees. But I never learn. Watching a chocolate colored very brown Black Bear in Manitoba while munching on a chocolate bar – that’s pretty good living. This adventure was a “traditional camp” — all 5 men that I would get to know pretty well over the week were shooting recurve or longbows. That’s pretty cool. I was using my 60# Palmer Recurve with a 635 grain Easton arrow topped with a 200 grain VPA 2 blade broadhead. 4 days into the hunt, that arrow would pass through the Black Bear pictured in the photo. The Bear was dead in 35 yards but I was “Oh so careful.” This was my first “trad bear” and I wasn’t going to screw it up.” I had traveled a couple thousand miles and was hunting out of the tent camp pictured in the adjacent photo (which was 5 hours North of Winnipeg.) Added incentive was that the camp had a rigid rule requiring a hunter to end his hunt if a errant shot drew blood but was off the mark. No wounded bears here —– I was highly focused and told myself that no shot would be taken unless the bear was 100% broadside. Black bears have body fat that can clog a wound channel and thick hair that can mat down quickly and a blood trail will simply disappear. There was no better feeling than watching the white fletching of my arrow disappear in the big black hide at exactly the right spot.
In a good bear camp, a hunter will see multiple bears. In a bad bear camp, a hunter might go days and not see a bear. In the Spring, the typical method is hunting over bait. I was in a great camp called “Stickflingers” which caters to traditional bowhunters. The stands and ground blinds are set accordingly. Crossbows and firearms were not permitted at this camp. There are many good outfitters in Canada where any weapon choice is suitable. A Kodabow hunter, Tom G. was up in the Northwest corner of Alberta the same week I was in Manitoba and he and his son killed three bears. Alberta has a 2 bear limit. I would average seeing 10 bears per evening hunt and was hoping to be successful with one bear. That was plenty! We would head out in late afternoon and hunt till after 10 pm because of the late sunset. During that time, bears would be climbing trees and doing all the types of things that bears do. At times, the activities could be unnerving like when the little bear cubs thought my tree would be a nice perch. (See those two little rascals headed up the tree!) It made sense to not let the cubs get past my treestand and above me in the same tree. If mama bear decided to visit with her cubs, there could possibly be lively interaction with a hunter (me) so a few pops with the nock end of my hunting arrow would do the job and cause the cubs to head elsewhere. Bears climb fast. Very fast. Look at this photo below and you will see the bait barrel, a bear, and yep…. that’s me in the tree with my recurve bow. .
One evening in a ground blind, I had a good bear at 8 feet but did not have a good shot angle. We were both on the ground and the bear backed out and reversed course when a huge sow came into view. The boars seemed to prefer being around less activity in the bush and were generally on the prowl searching for a sow in heat. I was on a stool and when I looked through the cut evergreens at the bear, his back and head were higher than I was — his huge paws moving step by step right in front of me.
Pictured below is Mike, Tom’s son, with a trophy bear taken in Northern Alberta with Big Bear Country Outfitters. The Father and son team killed 3 large bears using a single Kodabow and our Kodabow recommended Killzone broadheads. All bears succumbed to pass through shots with the 2″ cut Killzone.
a. Practicing with my recurve before the hunt.
b. Catching Northern Pike when the bear hunt was over. That would be a “fish selfie.” I was by myself. That’s a lucky hat by the way!
c. Momma Bear and her 2 cubs in Manitoba. Very typical. At times, I would have 4 or 5 bears in sight at once.
My best — and do have a great hunt the next time you get out. If I can assist you on a Black Bear Adventure, drop me a note. Be happy to share my experience.
Chuck @ Kodabow