He appeared like magic…literally. One minute the cluster of bait barrels I was guarding was void of life, and then it was filled with the bruin for which I had traveled nearly 20 hours. Although I had seen over a dozen bears during this five-day Manitoba outfitted hunt with Todd Wohlgemuth, owner of Baldy Mountain Outfitters (www.baldymountainoutfitters. ca), none had jumped my pulse like this one.
Big bears are different than your average bruin, and it was quickly apparent his sixth sense was telling him something wasn’t quite right. As he slowly scanned every direction while inhaling every scent molecule trying to sort it out, I made a move to adjust my camera. In an instant, his blocky head swiveled in my direction and he stared right through me. Our eyes locked as my heart pounded through my chest with each passing second, and when he turned to walk away, I thought my hunt was over. With less than an hour of shooting light left on the last day of the hunt, I knew my 20-hour drive home the following day would certainly feel much longer after this encounter. However, when he paused in the brush and stared back at the barrels and began to slowly inch his way in their direction, fate must have had other plans. I gripped my bow a little tighter with each passing second, and when he presented a clear broadside shot moments later and I witnessed my arrow fly true, I knew my 20-hour drive home wouldn’t be so bad after all.
When I started big game hunting over 20 years ago, outfitted hunts were generally off the table. I was either too cheap to part with the Benjamins needed for such an adventure, or frankly didn’t have enough of them. Furthermore, because I often prefer a DIY approach, I passed on the outfitted option. Over time those feelings have changed. Although the DIY approach is still my preferred method, using the resources that a quality outfitter offers is often a better approach, especially when it comes to spring black bears.
Why choose an outfitted black bear hunt you might ask? Well, they are often considerably cheaper than many other hunts, plus you get to hunt in the spring of the year when virtually everything else is off-limits. Also, with a baited bear hunt, which tends to offer the highest success rates, having the trap set before you arrive is a huge benefit. I’ve personally waited up to a week for a bait to see much activity on DIY hunts out west.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
THE END OF 2020, CHALLENGES COMING IN 2021
SOMETHINGS EVERY SPORTSMAN OUGHT TO KNOW ABOUT. STAY ENGAGED!
SPRING HUNTING IN MAINE
In 1982 Maine closed its spring season, but you can still spring hunt with an outfitter on some tribal lands.
Bears & Gobblers
SPRING BEAR & TURKEY IN MONTANA
Western Bear Hunting
Picking the right outfitter - Picking the right outfitter can make or break your experience.
Three Phases of the Spring
Understanding the Pros & Cons in the Timing of Spring Bear Hunting
Jeff Senger kills for a living.
Canning - Bear Meat
The last six months my non-hunting friends asking increasingly specific questions about how to turn animals into meat.
Bear Dogs - East vs West
The term “bear dog” means something different to every houndsman.
Alaska - One Last Grizzly (DIY)
NOTHING LASTS FOREVER, BUT THE AUTHOR HAS HAD A HECK OF A RUN ON ARCTIC GRIZZLY
Understanding Skull Size in Evaluating Trophy Black Bear
Black bears can be one of the most difficult big game animals to judge before the shot.
With a background in ecology, Shelby Willis brings her love for nature and wildlife to life in soulful and expressionistic paintings.
Amber Balcaen Underdog Bloodline In NASCAR
The New Berry On The Block
This rich little fruit has the versatility of an apple and more vitamin C than an orange—and it’s priced for the very few.
POLAR BEARS OF WAPUSK
Glorious and free
Celebrating Manitoba‘s 150th anniversary this summer with the oldest map of the province
Goodbye, My Friend
Losing this lifelong equine companion was heartbreaking
SMELL THE SUMMER
Think polar bears and you'd think they're found only in the Arctic. The MAN'S wildlife photographer friend from Canada caught these white giants frolicking in a fireweed field in Hudson Bay and the world couldn't have enough of his furry friends
Reading Truth To Power
The struggle over whom Winnipeg’s downtown library belongs to serves as an unexpectedly sophisticated example of what’s possible when leftists organize outside of the electoral sphere and commit to winning a single protracted struggle.
Canada's Coolest School Trip 2019
From teepee building to dancing Métis jigs, students from Teslin, Yukon, experience the best of Manitoba’s Parks Canada sites.