CANADA: Saskatchewan Black Bear Hunt May 2024

Are these Canadian bears good for eating? I've only killed one and that was in North Carolina a couple years back. Those bears in Hyde County make a good living on peanuts and the meat was excellent.
 
And just to add, a CEB Raptor is awfully hard to beat if you absolutely want a pass thru. From a .375 or larger to make a big enough hole to ensure the hair doesn't plug up the bleeding would be perfect. Up close and personal hunting here, no need for excessive velocity. Perfect for slow heavy rounds.
 
Good question on the meat. These particular bears had a lot of worms in them. Some of them would fall out while skinning them. The guides wouldn't eat them and after seeing that, I agreed. I'm just not that hungry.
 
Good question on the meat. These particular bears had a lot of worms in them. Some of them would fall out while skinning them. The guides wouldn't eat them and after seeing that, I agreed. I'm just not that hungry.

Eeesh, hell no! To this day I cannot even think of eating rabbit after picking one up shot earlier in the day to clean it and getting a palm full of worm working its way out of the poor thing. Instant barfing ensued. This was some 33 plus years ago.
 
That is a beautiful bear. I really enjoyed the writeup and understand the focusing on that ONE animal and holding out for it. Respect my friend. This sounds like a place I need to take my wife for a nice bear hunt. Thank you for taking the time to post your thoughts and experience on this hunt.
 
Excellent story. Point about big bullets and exit rings true. I am lucky, live on Vancouver Island, close to Mr Shockey's hunt area, we have tons of bears, no baiting in BC, spot and stalk only. Its straight up or down and dam thick jungle, having him go down real close and preferably within hearing range is great, having them run off and go down into the tangle not so good and a great recipe for a lost animal as the blood stops real quick.

The boat beach hunt is my favourite. See more than 10 daily, eat fresh seafood right from the hook or trap, relaxing and so much fun. Do this every spring and leave in a few days for this years hunt.

Great story, awesome write up and good primer for this season.

Thanks

MB
 
Beautiful bear my friend. Glad yall had a great hunt. Time to start planning the next one.
 
Darn it. Couldn’t you have held out for one more days worth of story. That was a great read. Taking the intermissions for Tech talks added a lot to the tale.
Also the fact of holding out for the One. Thanks for an entertaining story
 
Great write up. Beautiful bear. Thanks for the primer on where to shoot one. Son and I are going up in Aug. hopefully we'll get an opportunity.
Bruce
 
I will share some thoughts on lessons learned on my 3rd bear and on this type of hunt. Bears are not particularly hard to kill unless you wound one and then they can go a LONG ways. They aren't bullet proof or even as strong as a lot of African PG but they deserve respect and a good plan to take them. I've taken 2 of them now with lever guns and iron sights. That works just fine in the daytime but it sure is a challenge in low light.

On these baited hunts, the older trophy sized bears tend to be very wary of visiting the bait during daylight. Anything is possible and they do sometimes come eat in the daylight but the overall pattern is they prefer to visit the bait at last light or in the dark. This was confirmed by talking to these guides who have taken hundreds of bears by baiting.

Low light and dark colored bears are a perfect recipe for using a scope and particularly a lighted reticle. My next bear hunt will be with one of my favorite African scopes...one of the Swaro lighted reticle models. There are similar options out there at lesser price points. Remember that a bear might easily hang up before it gets to the bait at last light and will probably be standing in the shadows under the trees. A black bear in dark shadows is a tough animal to get a good aiming point on.

Another consideration is caliber and bullet weight. Soft expanding bullets of premium quality should be your only choice. I had no issue with the XTP bullets or some of my favorite Africa bullets like Trophy bonded, TSX, A-frames, etc. As to caliber, you can kill any black bear with any rifle appropriate for deer hunting. However, if you're going for a big bear, remember that they can weigh 500 lbs or more and they are built a lot tougher than any deer with large shoulders, heavy bones and a thick hide with a lot more hair than any deer. Consider going a little heavier in caliber than you would for deer. 300 win mag is a good starting point and if you want to exercise that big bore in North America, this is a good opportunity for that. It's not needed in most situations but what if you get a tough angle and you need more penetration? Keep in mind that most of the bears shot in my camp did NOT have exits...not the archery guys and not the deer rifles or 300 win mags. They should have had exits but they did not for various reasons. The only other exit on a bear that week was my friend's 45-70 and he lost his bear also.

When you add up those considerations, my next bear hunt will be with something between .338 and .375 caliber...with a premium bonded or copper bullet...heavy for caliber...with a lighted reticle scope. If I would have had that combination last week, I could have killed that bear 3 out of 4 nights with much less risk and gotten an exit on any angle.

As you probably have as well, I’ve done a lot of coastal bear hunting in Alaska. My go to gun was a .375 H&H with 270 gr A-Frames. You are pretty much guaranteed a pass through on any black bear from any angle, not so much on a big brownie.

Here’s a shot running home with a good bear on board.

Image1716303718.704405.jpg
 
Exactly. I miss Alaska.
 
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Ok, ok...so we are into day 4 of the hunt and the weather has detoriated into cold rain and mud everywhere. Some of the 6 wheel ATVs have gotten stuck and the Gore-Tex and muck boots are regular companions. By the way, you should always take something like crocs or indoor shoes to bear camp. You won't be wearing mud boots into the living areas.

We've also watched as 4 of the 10 hunters have wounded and lost their bears. 3 of the 4 have bought back in at $900 penalty each. There are also 4 bears recovered but nothing large. Every day we are reviewing game cameras and finding mature bears at every bait we are using. Some are seeing 10-15 bears a day but mostly sows or young bears in the daylight. The jumbos are basically nocturnal but are showing up on camera.

One thing that needs mentioned is I have been practicing a repeatable cheek weld all week in the stand with my iron sights. I might have to take a shot in very poor lighting. So I practice that cheek weld with my eyes closed and then open to see if the sights are lined up. I practice that from different positions until I'm repeating consistently with the sights lined up correctly, more by feel than anything.

I go for my 4th evening sit and I'm thinking about how bad the weather is going to be on the last day (tomorrow). I'm really hopeful that tonight the chocolate will give me a chance. By now, the ladder stand is an old friend and I have my routine sorted out. I can get situated quickly and sit quietly for many hours. One thing that helps is knowing that we are getting a little later sunset each day. It's now around 9pm and we have an extra 30 min of legal time after that.

Nothing is moving and it's quiet as the storm clouds gather to dump a good rain that night and the next day. It's 9pm and the sun sets but I'm still watching for the ninja in fur pajamas. Whoa...he starts slipping down the hill at 9:20 and it's dark under the trees. He comes and lays down behind the bait barrel and I can see his ears sticking up through the binos. Come on man...he leaves and circles back...time is running out. Now he stands in front of the bait barrel and I confirm 2x which way he is facing in the dark that is increasing. I raise the rifle and get back into that cheek weld that I've been practicing. I aim at the white bucket on the ground just in front of his nose. I come back to the left past his head and then think, just a little more to the left to get past the neck and into the shoulders. He is standing still and I squeeze the trigger shooting a big flame in the dark. He quickly swaps ends and goes back to my left. I reload and listen to him breaking through the brush. He makes a loud blowing sound and everything stops. I look at my watch and it's 9:30...end of legal time.

At this point, my legs start to shake and I play it back in my mind...it's not ideal but it's the best shot I can make under the circumstances. Did I come back far enough into the body? I know that I didn't go too far but did I cover the shoulders? I call the head guide and tell him to come quickly. He says I know you want to track it but just wait and we will do it together. The next 30 min was difficult but honest to God, I stayed in the stand and waited. I did NOT want to be pushing a wounded bear and losing him like the others in camp.

Blair arrives and we both go to the bait. There is a big splash of blood on the offside where the bait barrel is...so I got an exit wound. We turn the headlamps on and slowly walk to the left...lots of blood...and Blair shouts there he is!!! Dead 20 yards from the bait. Relief washes over me and we slap each other on the back...then we just stand there looking at him for a few minutes. We turn him over and see that I have centered the shoulders and gotten the exit. It looks like the exact shot placement I would have taken in the daylight but I know I'm a little lucky this time. I think about that as we load him into the ATV and make the long drive back to camp.

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Great looking bear, congratulations
 
Did you rent a car at the airport and drive to hunting camp? I see on the outfitter's website that they mention a van for airport shuttle.

Is there an option to take a second bear for an additional fee?
 
Great bear, congrats !
 
Exactly. I miss Alaska.

Me too, but it’s not a great place to retire. You have to go outside for any major medical, and frankly, the winters do tend to wear on you. As a result, most of your friends move out when they retire. I have a few friends who are doing a split year Hawaii and Alaska. Two homes is just one more than I care to deal with.
 
@Green Chile - Great report and congrats on the bear.

Will you be having that bear made into a rug or what?
Thanks. No decision yet but it’s not big enough for a full mount. Rug or just tanned hide most likely.
 
Did you rent a car at the airport and drive to hunting camp? I see on the outfitter's website that they mention a van for airport shuttle.

Is there an option to take a second bear for an additional fee?
They don’t have a van. Might be old info. Drive is about 4 hours. No one was picked up from airport.

One bear province. If you wound and lose the bear you can buy in for $900.
 
Ok, ok...so we are into day 4 of the hunt and the weather has detoriated into cold rain and mud everywhere. Some of the 6 wheel ATVs have gotten stuck and the Gore-Tex and muck boots are regular companions. By the way, you should always take something like crocs or indoor shoes to bear camp. You won't be wearing mud boots into the living areas.

We've also watched as 4 of the 10 hunters have wounded and lost their bears. 3 of the 4 have bought back in at $900 penalty each. There are also 4 bears recovered but nothing large. Every day we are reviewing game cameras and finding mature bears at every bait we are using. Some are seeing 10-15 bears a day but mostly sows or young bears in the daylight. The jumbos are basically nocturnal but are showing up on camera.

One thing that needs mentioned is I have been practicing a repeatable cheek weld all week in the stand with my iron sights. I might have to take a shot in very poor lighting. So I practice that cheek weld with my eyes closed and then open to see if the sights are lined up. I practice that from different positions until I'm repeating consistently with the sights lined up correctly, more by feel than anything.

I go for my 4th evening sit and I'm thinking about how bad the weather is going to be on the last day (tomorrow). I'm really hopeful that tonight the chocolate will give me a chance. By now, the ladder stand is an old friend and I have my routine sorted out. I can get situated quickly and sit quietly for many hours. One thing that helps is knowing that we are getting a little later sunset each day. It's now around 9pm and we have an extra 30 min of legal time after that.

Nothing is moving and it's quiet as the storm clouds gather to dump a good rain that night and the next day. It's 9pm and the sun sets but I'm still watching for the ninja in fur pajamas. Whoa...he starts slipping down the hill at 9:20 and it's dark under the trees. He comes and lays down behind the bait barrel and I can see his ears sticking up through the binos. Come on man...he leaves and circles back...time is running out. Now he stands in front of the bait barrel and I confirm 2x which way he is facing in the dark that is increasing. I raise the rifle and get back into that cheek weld that I've been practicing. I aim at the white bucket on the ground just in front of his nose. I come back to the left past his head and then think, just a little more to the left to get past the neck and into the shoulders. He is standing still and I squeeze the trigger shooting a big flame in the dark. He quickly swaps ends and goes back to my left. I reload and listen to him breaking through the brush. He makes a loud blowing sound and everything stops. I look at my watch and it's 9:30...end of legal time.

At this point, my legs start to shake and I play it back in my mind...it's not ideal but it's the best shot I can make under the circumstances. Did I come back far enough into the body? I know that I didn't go too far but did I cover the shoulders? I call the head guide and tell him to come quickly. He says I know you want to track it but just wait and we will do it together. The next 30 min was difficult but honest to God, I stayed in the stand and waited. I did NOT want to be pushing a wounded bear and losing him like the others in camp.

Blair arrives and we both go to the bait. There is a big splash of blood on the offside where the bait barrel is...so I got an exit wound. We turn the headlamps on and slowly walk to the left...lots of blood...and Blair shouts there he is!!! Dead 20 yards from the bait. Relief washes over me and we slap each other on the back...then we just stand there looking at him for a few minutes. We turn him over and see that I have centered the shoulders and gotten the exit. It looks like the exact shot placement I would have taken in the daylight but I know I'm a little lucky this time. I think about that as we load him into the ATV and make the long drive back to camp.

View attachment 607063

View attachment 607064
SO HAPPY FOR YOU! PURTY LEVER WITH IRONS, WAY TO GO.
 
Are these Canadian bears good for eating? I've only killed one and that was in North Carolina a couple years back. Those bears in Hyde County make a good living on peanuts and the meat was excellent.
YOU PUT A BICK IN THE BOTTOM OF A CROCK POT AND THEN LAYER THE BEAR MEAT ON TOP, COOK FOR 10 HOURS AND THEN THROW THE BEAR MEAT AWAY AND EAT THE BRICK.
 

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Bill J H wrote on gearguywb's profile.
Do you still have this rifle? I'm in the KC area on business and I'm very interested.
Safari Dave wrote on CoElkHunter's profile.
I didn't get drawn for Wyoming this year.




Are you planning to hunt Unit 4 this fall?



(Thinking about coming out)
another great review


 
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