O/T Bear Opener

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O/T Bear Opener

Post by Species8472 » Thu Sep 07, 2017 4:07 pm

Back in December last year my wife and I made the leap into cottage ownership and lucked into a nice little cottage on a beautiful piece of land on a small lake about 15 miles west of Powassan. We back onto 1000s of acres of crown and my thoughts immediately went to bear hunting. It is primarily a family cottage place but in season serves double duty as a base to hunt from. A small taste of my little piece of central Ontario paradise:


So this past spring I set up 2 bait sites on crown. One was canoe access only via the lake and the other was either walk to or canoe to via a large beaver pond. The spring hunt was mostly a fail as I had a bad gout flare up that prevented me from hunting. Based on the action at the baits I did manage to figure out that the canoe bait on the lake was too exposed and hardly getting hit. This summer I relocated this bait further down the lake into a more protected/secluded area and activity picked up.

I started baiting again the first week of August and had action almost right away. I used shaker/roller barrels chained to trees and filled them with a mixture of whole corn, molasses and jujubes. The sites were visited weekly and bait added as needed. At the lake canoe site I was going through about 220 lbs per week and at the beaver pond site I was going through 330 lbs per week. Delivery by canoe looks something like this:


This is my canoe of choice when 2 people are available as it has an asymmetrical hull that makes it fast but also makes it awkward if you are solo. When solo I use my symmetrical canoe that you see further down the report.

Fast forward to yesterday (opening day). I left home about 10am after taking care of a few work related emails and arrived at the cottage at about 130pm. I had lunch and headed to the beaver pond site at about 3pm. I set up SE of the bait on top of a ridge about 25 yards from the bait. My shooting lane is shown below:


Normally you would see the barrel in this position:


but the bears rolled it into the bushes on the right.

At about 545pm I heard a ruckus that seemed to be coming from about 100 yards south of my position. The noise (mostly sticks snapping) carried on for about 15 minutes and I have no idea what was going on but fortunately it did not distract me too much and nor did it dissuade a bear from appearing from the west headed to the barrel. The bear stopped about 5 yards short of the barrel and looked like it was about to make me but gave me a hard quartering towards shot. I decided almost instantly that I would take it as this looked like the target bear I had chosen off my game cam pictures. I squeezed the trigger and the noise behind me stopped, the bear jumped and ran about 20 yards before piling up and starting the moan. I waited 15 minutes after the moan stopped and approached the bear and this is how I found it (less the tag):


Fortunately the bear dropped about 3 yards from the canoe landing. He turned out to be a dry she. I got her loaded into the canoe without too much issue other than going over my right boot and getting a wet foot. All loaded:


Approaching the landing at the truck:


Getting the bear unloaded proved to be a little more problematic and I ended a little wetter with a tipped canoe:


Once on shore I field dressed her and attempted to load her into the box of my truck. The plan was to drag her up some 12 foot 2x6s. Great plan in theory except for the six times she fell off part way up. Eventually I got her loaded.


Once loaded I packed her chest cavity with ice and started the drive to the butchers. The butcher is a family friend and he was happy to meet me at the shop so I could get the bear directly into cold storage. The bear weighed 155lbs field dressed at the butcher shop so probably 180-190 live and is about the optimum size I look for when solo with the canoe. Time line was as follows:

6 pm - shot the bear
8 pm - loaded and on the road
1130 pm - unloaded into cold storage at the butchers

And no story is complete without without the firearm details. 35 Whelen shooting 250 grain partitions hand loaded to 2500 fps. The rifle:

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Re: O/T Bear Opener

Post by SEW » Thu Sep 07, 2017 4:50 pm

Very nicely written ! Perfect rifle for ANY bear. Congratulations.

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Re: O/T Bear Opener

Post by xcaliber » Thu Sep 07, 2017 4:51 pm

Very nice read, congrats!
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Re: O/T Bear Opener

Post by mr meat » Thu Sep 07, 2017 6:21 pm

Great write up and congrats on the bear Joe!
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Re: O/T Bear Opener

Post by tremps01 » Thu Sep 07, 2017 7:32 pm

Very nice pics! congrats!

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Re: O/T Bear Opener

Post by elkaholic » Thu Sep 07, 2017 8:05 pm

-- nice bear looks like you got a spot for yrs. to come

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Re: O/T Bear Opener

Post by Ontario Savage » Thu Sep 07, 2017 8:25 pm

Awesome job congrats...

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Re: O/T Bear Opener

Post by Big John » Fri Sep 08, 2017 8:20 am

😎 Very nice Joe!!! Big Congrats!
Im glad you got a nice slice of Heaven to enjoy for many years to come. One of my favorite things in life is Bear Hunting every Fall.
Beautiful !!!

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Re: O/T Bear Opener

Post by maine hunter » Fri Sep 08, 2017 9:02 am

Great job!!! Love bear hunting😊😊😊
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Re: O/T Bear Opener

Post by vixenmaster » Fri Sep 08, 2017 10:09 am

Whoa that is a pretty place on the lake, bet y'all have some great fishin. Congrats on yer fine yogi, it sure would be a tuff go fer me to load any yogi 150-200 lbs. Those bigger than that i would have to have more help
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Re: O/T Bear Opener

Post by Hi5 » Fri Sep 08, 2017 3:51 pm

Thanks for the photos and entertaining narrative. And congratulations, of course.

I was elk hunting from my ladder stand which is close to a water hole. I had borrowed a couple roadway markers, the sort that are reflective red and white, about three feet tall and four inches in diameter. They have a heavy rubber base that make them self righting (when hit by a car, etc.) Anyway, I set them up as 40 yard markers.

Well, while I was sitting in my stand, day dreaming, Momma Bear and three cubs wandered in and had a drink. The cubs were tiny guys about twice the size of a house cat. All four, momma and cubs, were a deep chocolate brown. Anyway, the cubs start rough housing with each other and then one of them goes to the road marker. He stands up on his hind legs and pushes it over. It pops right back up. He pushes it over again, and it pops back up. I wish I had simply put my cell phone in silent mode and had videoed the episode, but I wanted no risk of it making any noise so I had shut it totally off. He kept at it for several minutes until Momma moved them onwards.

Right about then I started to get a bit fidgety. They headed right for my tree. I started to wonder if those cubs might take a notion to climb up my tree. If they did, and if Momma spotted me, she might just want to join us up there, and I was pretty sure there wasn't going to be room enough up there for five of us. Fortunately they just wandered on and left me in peace.

I didn't have bear spray with me and I didn't want to have to interfere with Momma as long as she kept her distance.

Sure as heck, two days later, Momma returned with her brood, and one of the cubs took another round out of that marker.

Species8472, you have meat, you have a pelt, and you have photos to remember your hunt. All I have is my story. I suspect, however, that we both had enough fun that we're going to be doing it all over again.
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Re: O/T Bear Opener

Post by Species8472 » Fri Sep 08, 2017 5:22 pm

Thanks for all the feedback. Hi5 - cool story.
Never violate a woman, nor harm a child. Do not lie, cheat or steal. These things are for lesser men. Protect the weak against the evil strong. And never allow thoughts of gain to lead you into the pursuit of evil.

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Re: O/T Bear Opener

Post by janesy » Fri Sep 08, 2017 5:34 pm

Great hunt, and a great story. Gotta love the Whelen. I've got two. I swear they were designed specifically for hunting in Ontario. No need to worry about those pesky pine trees getting in the way when your carrying a Whelen hahaha!
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Re: O/T Bear Opener

Post by way123hockey » Fri Sep 08, 2017 5:38 pm

Congratulations on the bear. That looks like a beautiful area for a cottage.
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Re: O/T Bear Opener

Post by amythntr » Sat Sep 09, 2017 6:02 am

....Great story Joe....would love to go bear hunting someday in Canada...my problem is I just cannot climb over the Trump wall! :lol: :lol:

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