-By Rich Miller
After taking a big bear on the first afternoon of hunting the pressure was off, and I was able to be a little picky and wait on a bigger or color phase bear. After the celebration and stories that followed my first night’s success it didn’t seem like we had very much rest before it was time to head out to the stand for another afternoon’s hunt.
There were already bears on the bait when we got to my stand site the second day. There was both some good and bad news about the bears being there. The good news was it was a huge cinnamon colored bear; the bad news, it was a sow with three cubs by her side and she was off limits. It didn’t take her long to get her cubs and exit the scene, which was fine by me, because I didn’t want to deal with the angry mother.
As soon as I was in the stand and the guide was leaving it wasn’t but just a few minutes and there was another big boar that came into the bait site and he was there for the rest of the afternoon. He was a really nice bear but I didn’t want to be without a tag for the next four days so I held off and watched him.
For the next couple of evenings I saw bears on every stand and a couple afternoons I had several different bears at the bait at the same time. One of them in particular I saw two days in a row and called him patches. He had two big brown patches on his shoulders and had a white V on his chest. This bear should have been in the circus because he tried every way in the world to reach the bait tied up on a pole for two evenings. Once he even fell off of it but caught himself before he hit the ground. It was great to experience all of these bears acting like little kids while I was only 10 to 15 yards away from them.
Prior to the trip we had Code Blue send up some of the Bear Magnet, and the new PST Sow Urine products to the Outfitter. I will give you bears hunters a piece of advice, if you haven’t tried any of Code Blue’s bear attractant you really need too. The first evening I carried some of the Bear Magnet liquid to the tree with me but when I got in my stand I remembered I had forgot to put it out. I decided to just take the top off of it and just tossed it about 15 yards away and let it just run out on the ground. The first bear that came in that night found it and tried to eat the bottle all the while licking the ground where it had poured out. The whole time that bear was in the area it kept coming back to the Bear Magnet. The big bear that I ended up shooting was headed straight to it but I just didn’t give him time to get there. After that night I would squirt some of the Bear Magnet on the bait barrel and a couple trees every time I went to my stand. I also would spray the PST Sow Urine periodically during my hunts and I saw bears on every one of my hunts for the six nights that I was there.
One of the best times of the whole hunt was on the next to last evening when I was on stand with Jim Strelec. He had already taken one bear so we were going to try to get him another one and get it on video. We saw about every different animal in the woods of Northern Alberta but we didn’t see a bear until he had climbed down the tree. I was still in the stand and was lowering everything down to him when the big boar that I had seen on the second night came into the bait and was only ten yards from him at ground level. I hurried down the tree and got the camera but we didn’t have enough light to film. Jim's nerves had gotten the best of him and he was really getting excited. The bear was on the bait right there in front of us at only 10 yards but he would not turn and offer Jim a good broadside shot. He finally got up to leave and Jim got him centered in the crosshairs and his Knight muzzleloader belched a huge puff of white smoke. He couldn’t see what the bear did but from my angle I saw that he only went about 30-yards. To say that Jim was exited would be an understatement. After we gave the bear a few minutes we had no problem finding him. It ended up being a very long night by the time we got the bear and all of the gear out of there, but seeing the look on Jim’s face when he got that bear made it worth it.
I did end up getting another nice bear on the last night and so did my buddy Don who ran the camera for me on the first night. There were seven bears taken out of seven hunters during the week. Three of the guys didn’t get a bear but it wasn’t because they didn’t have the opportunity. They had hunted up there before and they were being really picky. The outfitter that we hunted with was Bruno Martel and this guy’s camp is really five-star as far as a wilderness bear hunt goes. There is nothing that I would have changed about this hunt other than maybe Miss. Audrey limiting hunters to one helping during meals because I ate way too much while I was there.