Pulling into Northern Wilderness Outfitters? wilderness spring bear camp, my
cameraman, Trevor Wilson and I were overflowing with excitement to get things
rocking. Having enjoyed an incredible hunt with them the year before, we knew
that it was going to be a great time, but with an added bonus. This year, we
were determined to take two bears from my Double
great success the previous spring with guide Dale Giggie, we requested and were
paired with the big redhead again this year. Due to the comfort level and
friendship that had been built the year, I knew that he?d have no problems with
me making a couple of requests. Frankly, Dale cares most about three things:
keeping his hunters safe, insuring they have a good time and killing huge
filming and hunting from blinds, we had several out of the ordinary
considerations. For the best footage, we wanted to hunt bait sites that would
provide a good view of the animal as it approached. Furthermore, we would need
to prepare each suitable bait for slapping in The Matrix. To do this, I asked if Dale would be willing to give us
a tour of the sites and allow us to prep the ones that were best suited to our
needs. He graciously obliged. With that, we were off.
As we left,
I could tell by Dale?s smirk that he had something up his sleeve. Sure enough,
not more than a mile down the road he asked if we would mind checking out a
particular site that he thought might work for what we needed.
to it, it only took one glance to see that it was tailor made for our needs.
With a cut line running next to the grassy area that surrounded a pond, getting
footage wouldn?t be a problem. As Dale pointed out the slight rise on the left
side of the cut line, opposite the bait, it was obvious he knew what we needed
for a blind setup.
swiftly slapping on our Scent Lok
suits, Elimitrax and a quick spray
down with Scent Killer, I cleared an
area for the blind. In minutes, I had the blind in place and draped with Cover
System branches. As I did that, Trevor poured a can filled with Ultimate Bear
Lure around the bait. Doing so would force any visiting bears to step in the
scent and unwittingly create scent trail leading back to the bait site. The
setup was perfect. We didn?t need to see any other bait sites that day. We were
ready to hunt.
after Dale left, movement far down the cut line broke my trance. For the next
hour, we watched a 200 + lbs bear eating grass, as it slowly made its way to
our position. Finally, after more than an hour of casually working its way in,
there it was, 12 yards away calmly eating bait.
hyperventilating as he filmed the bear, I knew that I was hooked. The thrill of
having such a magnificently powerful creature at eye level, almost within
spitting distance, was a rush I knew I had already become addicted to.
great footage of a respectable bear, I decided to pass the shot opportunity.
This trip, I didn?t want anything under 300 lbs. After presenting several good
shot opportunities, the boar collected one last scrap of meat and looped away.
and I exchanged excited whispers about how cool that had been, Trevor?s
expression suddenly changed. Glancing the way of his pointing finger, I
understood immediately. There, trotting down the same cut line was the true
king of the north woods.
well over 3 feet tall, the jet-black timber wolf had a lone streak of silver
running down the center of his back. Readying myself for the shot, the wolf
began circling the pond. As I came to full draw, it stopped perfectly broadside
at 40 yards away, surveying the surroundings. This was it. Settling the pin, I
noticed that a couple branches were all that stood between my arrow and the wolf?s
vitals. One step, just take one more step forward and I?m golden.
wolf obliged my request, he did so by resuming the same trot that had carried
him in. I wanted that wolf. I wanted him bad, but I wouldn?t risk taking a 40
yard poke at a trotting animal with lightening fast reflexes. After turning and
heading away, Trevor implored me to pick up the rifle that Dale sends with his
bow hunters for safety reasons. Though both my bear and wolf tags allow for
using either bow or gun, I simply didn?t have the desire to fling lead at that
awe-inspiring creature. It would be an ethical poke with my Rocky Mt. Snyper tipped Easton or nothing. I can?t
say I was heart broken that it turned out to be nothing. The silver backed wolf
simply beat me that day.
outstanding meal and plenty of laughs finished our day. As I closed my eyes
that night, I couldn?t help but be thankful for the opportunity to be back once
again hunting with my friends at Northern
Pouring on the Ultimate Bear Lure
Day two began with Trevor and I
skipping breakfast to run the line with Dale. Today would be the day that we
prepared our blind sites and the most promising baits that best suited our
Though this was my first attempt at
blind hunting bear, I was confident that many of the same principles used for
deer hunting from blinds would work on bear. First, I wanted to position the
blind down wind of the baits. Next, I strived to place the blind so that the
bears wouldn?t be facing it as they approached. Instead, I wanted it off to the
side of their line of sight to minimize their direct eye contact with the blind
as much as possible. Furthermore, utilizing natural cover was also a key, as
was using both the natural cover and Cover System limbs to break the roof
outline. Tucking it in the shadows was the final touch in hiding the blind.
Of course, all of this was to be done
in a location that still provided a 12-20 yard shot at the bait. To help
accomplish that, I didn?t hesitate moving the bait buckets as much as 30 yards
to positions that catered to the best blind locations.
By the time we made it back to
camp, we had prepared ample blind setups to carry us through the rest of our
scheduled hunt. After a great lunch, flinging some arrows and a hot shower, we
headed out for the afternoon hunt.
For today, I had selected a site
that took advantage of a large grassy meadow. Not only did the meadow provide
the chance for excellent footage, but the tender grass was also naturally
drawing bear to feed on the greenery.
The peaceful afternoon had slipped
by uneventfully, only to be interrupted by the sudden alteration in Trevor?s
breathing. Even before he said a word, his rapid breaths tipped me to an
approaching bear. ?Here comes one,? Trevor said within seconds of his
respiratory change. ?It?s a big one and it?s coming in fast.? Peering in the
direction of the pointing camera, I could see he had accurately judged the
As the large bruin ran across the
meadow, it didn?t take a brain surgeon to see that it would easily break the
300-pound mark. For a bear that had just recently emerged from hibernation,
anything over 300 easily translates to a really good bear.
Wanting to fill my first tag with
this bear, I didn?t waste any time. Coming to a stop at the bait, it began
working its way around the drum. As soon as the bear presented the proper angle
I drew and sent the arrow on its 18 yard flight. Piercing behind the front
shoulder, the bear twisted its body and snapped its jaws at the phantom
attacker before exploding into flight.
After doing some quick film work,
we contacted Dale and began the tracking job. 50 yards later, we were standing
over the 350 + lbs bear, contemplating how we were going to best drag it out of
this tangle of brush. Several quarts of sweat later, we were loaded up and
driving back to camp. With a tag filled with a bear whose skull measured 18 7/8ths
inches, it was a very good day! Our first bear would easily make P&Y.
Double Bull’s Matrix does the job
Using a combination of
natural cover and The Cover System limbs make Double Bull blinds vanish into
Bear 1 – Down for the Count
Bear like this one is
part of the reason that I now look so forward to bear hunts with Northern
The afternoon before, 4 of the 6
hunters in camp had scored. Of the two that didn?t, one had already filled up
with a beautiful cinnamon and large black bear and the other already had one
tag full and was holding out for a huge second bear. Speaking of huge bears,
one of the bears downed the afternoon before slipped in at right around the 500
lbs mark, barely missing qualifying for B&C by a couple 1/8ths after the
drying period, with another estimated at just over 400 lbs. Toss in mine and a
200 + lb der and there were a ton of pictures to take before the guides could
In order to get everything done,
Trevor and I got up early to run part of the lines with Dale before the picture
fest began. One of the aspects I enjoy most of hunting with Northern Wilderness
Adventures is the option of spending so much one on one time with the guides.
These guys aren?t only a blast to hang with, but have also spent a lifetime
acquiring knowledge on bear. I can honestly say that I have learnt more from
them about bear hunting in my two trips to Northern Wilderness Adventures than
I have through all other sources combined. For someone like me, that alone makes the trip worthwhile.
Returning to camp, we did the photo
shoot and I went with the guides to the skinning area. Once there, I spent
hours picking their brains on bear tips and tricks, including everything from
how to coax a nocturnal bear into a daylight visit to how to determine if a
truly large bear is hitting the bait.
Though I wouldn?t trade the
experience and could have gotten started at any time, my quest for knowledge
did put us behind. A couple arrows flung at the target and a quick shower
later, we were headed for the blind.
Because the bait we sat the first
afternoon was the closest one that was already setup and due to it being clean
out daily, we selected that site for our afternoon hunt. Having barely gotten
settled in, we spotted a good bear coming down the cut line. Though it would go
over 200 lbs, I had decided that I either wanted a color phased bear or one
hitting around the 500 lbs mark to fill my second tag. If one that fit those
criteria didn?t present a shot I would simply eat my second tag and still go
home happy. With 3 more sits left I liked my odds.
The bear making its way down the
cut line had a bad front leg and it did affect its stride. However, it didn?t
appear to be seriously hampering his movement. As I watched him approach, I
debated whether or not to remove him. I desperately wanted to save my tag, but
would willing fill it on any bear that was truly suffering. Ultimately, the
ease at which it traveled the cut line convinced me that the bear was doing
Eventually grabbing a scrap of meat
and hitting the timber, I quickly saw how wrong I had been. As the bear tried
to navigate the clutter of woods it would travel 5 yards and lay down, go
another 5 yards and lay down again, get up and lay right back down. When I say
that I kicked myself for passing the shot. After seeing the bear fall flat on
its face twice, I actually felt sick that I hadn?t ended its misery and vowed
that if he came back I would take the first ethical shot provided.
About 30 minutes later Trevor
spotted the bear out approximately 60 from the bait. He was working his way
through the tangle of timber to get another helping of meat. To clearly
illustrate how badly injured this animal was, it took over 45 minutes for him
to cover the 60 yards to the bait, never traveling more than 5 yards before
laying down and actually falling several more times.
Finally, after what seemed like an
agonizing lifetime, he was at the edge of the woods, preparing to make the last
few yards top the bait that sat 12 yards from the blind. Sitting there, he
scanned the area for minutes, simultaneously trying to muster energy and being
completely certain that he was safe. Numerous times, his gaze hit our blind.
Each time he looked right through The Matrix, never having a clue that anything
was out of place. To completely dupe a mature bear that had been made ultra
leery from fighting and its severe handicap, any doubt I could ever have about
the effectiveness of a properly concealed Double Bull blind was washed away
Coming to full draw as the bear
stood, I waited for it to make its last few labored steps. Approaching the
bait, it snatched a scrap of meat of and began turning to leave. Quickly
guiding the pin of my TruGlo to behind the front shoulder, I sent the arrow
into flight during the bear?s turn. The crashing noises it made through the
timber ended shortly, followed by the moan that a successfully placed arrow can
Though I hadn?t filled my second
tag with the type of bear I had initially wanted, Trevor and I were extremely
pleased with that sit?s outcome. Simple put, we had done the right thing. Our
examination of the bear did nothing to dissuade us from that knowledge. Old war
wounds and infection riddled the 200 + lbs bear?s body. All that was left for
him would have been a slow and painful death.
With that, our 2005 spring bear
hunt with Northern Wilderness Outfitters came to a close. From the guides to
the food to the accommodations to the abundance of top end bears, if there is a
better spring wilderness camp bear hunt available, I certainly don?t know of
it. I can hardly wait for my return trip in 2006.
Bear 2 – That’s hunting
Though not what I was
after, my second bear was still a fine animal.
To book a spectacular bear,
trophy whitetail, moose or elk hunt, contact Northern Wilderness Outfitters via
their web page or by phone: