Monday, August 26, 2013

Thanks to the Hunters for a great week!

Jillian and I would like to give a big thanks to the all of the hunters. They were all well prepared and patient.That is a good combo for making a quality and quick kill shot. They also worked well as a team when it came time to recover and haul out each bear.Thanks also to my buddy Paul who offered his services when it came time to recover the bears. His strong back helped transport the bears, while his quick feet helped find the road ;) I would also like to thank Bill Griffin for organizing such a great group of guys.(Bill was scheduled to hunt this year but, because he needed surgery, he could not make the trip. We sure hope you are feeling better and that you will be healthy for next years trip). For me, this was one of the most enjoyable weeks  of "bear camp" that I can remember. From the quality of bears taken, to the crazy stories that were told, this was definitely one of the weeks that will be talked about for many years. The only thing that could have made it better was if Shawn could have gotten his bear. He was the only hunter out of five that did not harvest a bear. And believe me, it was not from a lack of effort. He sat on stand longer than all of the other hunters combined. And through it all he kept a positive attitude and was always excited for his buddies when they got their bears. He also helped field dress, drag and video tape the bears for his guys. He is true hunter. Don't worry Shawn, there are still lots of bears out there, and you get first pick of sites when you return.
All I ask is that you don't try to jump and tackle any :)

The one thing I have learned over the years about bear hunting is, there is no such thing as a typical hunt. And, because of the craziness of trying to run camp and get the hunters on stand and bait the remaining sites and haul bear from the woods ect, ect, I did not get a chance to elaborate on how the first week of hunts went.
Well here it goes, I will try to do justice to their stories...

Marc was the the first to get his bear. He shot his on Sunday night around 7pm, after sitting through a very heavy down pour. He watched the bear come to the bait site twice. Each time, though, the bear grabbed a bucket and ran off with it never allowing Marc to get a good clean shot. Well, now that most of the bait was gone, Marc thought maybe his hunt was over. He got down from his stand and walked 20 yds back to the road where he had come in on his ATV. After standing there for a while, he thought maybe there was a chance that the bear may come and check the site one more time. So Marc headed back to his stand to take a look. Just as he reached the base of the ladder stand, he saw the bear making his way down the hillside heading toward the bait again. The bear made it to the bait quickly and then walked down past the bait towards Marc's general direction. Marc assumed the bear was going to follow the small game trail that was just below him so he quickly ran up to the road and positioned himself facing the spot he assumed the bear would be coming through. Well we all know what happens when we assume things. And in this case it means the bear decided to climb up the small ridge right where Marc was standing. Marc said he could here the bear huffing as he made his way of the ridge. Then out of the trees came the bear. He was 5 yds away when he appeared. Marc, with gun ready, took aim and shot the bear before he could get over the downed log that separated Marc and the bear. The bear bowled over and ran back down the ridge into the ravine.
After watching the bear run off and waiting until there was no more noise from below. Marc came back to camp to tell us the news and to gather up the drag team.
We all made it back to site about 2 hours after his shot. We made our way down into the ravine and found no sign of blood (bears often do not leave a good blood trail). So we moved forward in the general direction of the last place Marc saw movement. After about 30-40 min of searching, someone heard a sound. It was a rustling noise near our location. Then we heard it again. Yep, a trackers worst fear, the bear was not dead!
We all assumed that the bear was surely dead since he was shot in the chest at 5 yds. Not the case! We were able to pinpoint the bears location, but we could not get close enough to get a safe shot while still keeping everyone out of harms way. It was dark and we were in some pretty thick cover. It was at this point that I made the call to back out and wait till morning to recover the bear.
After a sleepless night for some of us (Marc slept like a baby), we headed back to the site first thing in the morning. We quickly found the bear right where we had seen him the night before. He had expired soon after we left him. But now we had day light to remove the big guy quickly and safely. We even made it back in time for breakfast. It is always better to back out and return later, than to push forward in an unknown and potentially unsafe situation. All's well that ends well. Nice job Marc.

I think Paul was standing right there!

My little buddy

That was so much fun, we should do it again.

The second bear we shot was by Cody. Cody was hunting at our far west site Monday night, after seeing what the trail cam pics showed. Two very large bears hitting the the same bait. We arrived at the site around 1pm to find the bait completely gone again. Cody climbed into the ladder stand, followed by his dad Shawn. His dad was sitting just behind Cody on a hang-on stand so that he could video tape his son's first bear kill. The pair sat for nearly 6 hours before they saw a large bear coming straight at them through the brush. The bear did not hesitate and walked a straight line right to the ladder stand that Cody was sitting in. The large bear then paused a while and looked right at the hunters perched 15 ft above. As you might imagine, both hunters froze and dared not move a muscle. Cody later thanked me for putting all three sections of the ladder stand together for this site. After the bear analyzed the situation a while, he decided the 2 big blobs up in the tree offered no threat, so he worked his way to the bait. He quickly sniffed around and investigated each bucket hanging in the trees. Once he committed to eating out of one of the buckets, Cody drew back his bow and put his pin just behind the bears front shoulder. As the video clearly shows, Cody made a perfect shot. The bear whirled around and then circled back toward the hunters where he quickly expired not 10 yds from their stand. The video of the event was AWSOME! Nice filming Shawn. The bear turned out to be one of the 2 we had seen on the trail camera. He was a big old boar. The teeth on this big guy were well worn and he had a bunch of cuts and scars from battling some other bear(s). I would but his age at around 15-18 years old. The bear was well over 300 lbs and measured 6 ft 8 in from nose to toes. And at 17 yds this was the longest shot of the week for this group of hunters. They apparently like to be close to the action.  I like when we know it is a confirmed kill and no tracking involved. Congrats to Cody for a great bear...first bear, a bow kill, captured on video, and he had dad with him. I am not sure if it gets better than that. I am also not sure who was more thrilled, hunter or cameraman. Savor that one boys!

That must have been some battle!

The left ear had a big slice out of it from a previous fight.

I think one of the last things I told Cody was,"I don't think he will
walk over that big down fall." Oops, guess I was wrong.

Getting ready for show time.

Jack also had his dad join him on a hunt this week. The pair hunted together at Blueberry Hill the first night, but saw nothing. The second day they focused on fishing. Day three they sat on the ground looking across a creek at WashOut. The bait was about 110 yds away across a beaver creek with the hunters safely tucked away on the other bank behind a big boulder...or so they thought. I was just finishing a late afternoon snack on our main lodge porch when I saw the two of them pull up on their ATV. It was around 6pm. I was bit confused to see them in camp this early and not beaming with excitement from having just shot a bear. Jack's dad, Brad, explained to us what had happened...After sitting motionless for close to 3 hours, the duo heard a commotion off to their left on the same side of the bank as them. Brad said it sounded like maybe a bobcat or linx tangling with something. The scuffle ended and then it was silent again. The silence was soon broken when Brad heard a small rustling just behind him. He looked over his right shoulder to see that a bear had worked to within 20 ft of their position. "BEAR!" shouted Brad, as he whirled around at the bear. The bear ran off into the woods and disappeared like a ghost. Jack, who may just be the most mellow human being I have met, reacted to the close encounter by scolding his dad (without barely turning in his direction), "why are you yelling? You scared him off". According to Brad, the bear never really left the area .He could be heard rustling in the shadows on and off for the next hour or so. Maybe squirrels, who knows. Either way, Brad was not going to sit there until dark and then have to walk through those woods back to their quad. I can not say I blame him. After all, he did not have a weapon; he was just there for moral support. 
Well after that encounter, all moral support went right out the window. After a couple more beers, Brad clearly explained the ordeal to us and said he was done "hunting" for the week. Walleyes are much safer.

A day or so later, Jack was on stand at Fishguts with Marc as his side kick. Marc just loves being in the woods. The pair had done an early day hunt at that location but saw nothing. Now, after a short break, they were back on stand. They sat motionless until it was almost dark.They had no sooner said they would give it 5 more minutes, when they saw motion just behind the stand. Sure enough, here comes a bear. He came down the back trail that goes right past their stands. As the bear walked past Jack's location heading to the bait, Jack took aim and shot the bear in the neck just above the shoulders, The bear dropped immediately and never moved. Another perfect shot! They later paced it off (which did not take long), the shot was 2.5 yds. Not 25 yds, 2 and a half  yards. Like I said, this group apparently likes to be up close and personal with their bears. (The total combined yardage from all 3 shots was 25 yards.) This bear was also one that we had seen on trail cam photos. He actually surprised us by being much larger than we had thought. He was a young boar that weighed somewhere close to 300 lbs and measured 6 ft 6 in from nose to toes. A beautiful bear! And once again, a quick kill with no tracking. Just the way I like them. Great job Jack!


Sunday, August 25, 2013

One and done!

Jay was are only hunter of the week and he is done already. He hunted last night for a couple of hours
before having to leave stand early due to a severe thunderstorm. This afternoon he got on stand at our Goldie locks location around 3pm and shot a nice boar at just after 4pm. Apparently this 300+ lb big boy did not mind moving in the heat. Jay shot him at 17 yds with his crossbow. A perfect shot and the bear still ran close to 100yds. Thanks to my friend Sam for helping us carry the bear out of the woods.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Jack got his bear!

Congrats to Jack for shooting his first black bear last night. He shot a nice young boar with his 12 ga at about 2.5 yards. (No that is not 25 yds it really was 2 1/2 yds). He dropped the bear in his tracks. A nice quick kill and no tracking for us. Way to go Jack!

We have a new walleye leader!

Russ Spletzer landed this huge 29 inch Walleye last night. I can verify its length, as I was in the boat when he landed this big boy. I was able to sneak in a few hours of fishing while waiting for the hunters to get back. We were able to catch a few more eaters for our cheeezers this afternoon and then went out to get yet another bear. See the next blog. Nice job Russ!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Bear Hunting update

Just a quit update to the bear hunting...

Marc shot this young 275# boar Sunday night.

Cody shot this very old 300+# boar last night.

Cody got to take his first black bear with a bow and with his dad filming the action.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

New Cabin Update

Well the new cabin is almost done. It has doors, windows, beds, and has been nearly cleared of all tools and mess. I just need to seal some cracks and hook of the fuel oil stove and it will be ready for guests. I will still have some more little things to do, but they are on hold until maybe next spring. Tough to do the final touches at the end of the season when we are trying to get ready for shut down and prepare for the bear hunters.
Below are some recent pics of the nearly completed project....

View from the big front porch

Monday, August 12, 2013

2 more nice bears!

This is a big boar at a site called North Wall

The next 4 pics are from Goldielocks

So far bating is going well and bear activity is very good. I just hope the forecasted warmer weather
will not affect the bear movement too much. Still plenty of berries out there, so they should remain in close.

Fishing is steadily improving also. The boys are catching some good numbers of walleyes and the sizes seem
to be increasing as well. Hopefully the steady weather pattern will get the fish back to where they belong.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

End of another fun week.

Just a quick recap/update for you daily bloggers. The fishing did pick up as the week progressed and the guys found some nicer fish. I even got out fishing a few times with my brother, who came up for the week with his family. We did quite well the first night out, we boated over 50 fish. The next trip out we got 20 or so. And last night we only got about a dozen but there were a couple of nice 20"+ walleyes. David Rodgers was the walleye whisperer last week as he quietly caught over 200 walleyes for the week, with many in the 24-27" range. Nice work David!! We had quite a few new guests last week and I think the changing weather conditions made it harder than it should have been. Guess that's why they call it fishing and not catching. Jillian and I truly enjoyed meeting the new groups and we look forward to seeing them next year.
Thanks also to my brother and his family for making the long trip up, it is always nice to have family and friends stay for a visit. And thanks for "dragging" me out fishing. By the way, when you look at the pics of the new cabin (which will be up soon), the rocks around the concrete footings was my brother's idea. I have to give credit where it is due :)

He may be the 'smiley-est' baby ever. He is also REALLY close to taking his
first steps! YIKES. 

Pop quiz...who is more tired me or Jeremiah?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Bear Hunting Update...

Just a quick update on how my bear baiting is progressing...I have baited 9 sites so far and will be baiting 5 others today. Almost all of the baits have been hit, most by multiple bears and some definite shooters. The blueberries are out and by the amount of scat that I have been seeing, the bears know exactly where they are (nice snacks for me as well). I will be updating the Bear hunting page as often as I can, so if the pics do not show up on our main page check the hunting page.

I have had some trail cameras go bad on me this year, so I will be a bit slower to rotate the working ones to all of the sites. Should be no problem, however, to have pics from all sites by opening day. I have also had to modify some of sites due to the October snow storm damage. The snow was so heavy that it knocked down thousands of trees throughout the entire region making some roads impassable. I encourage all hunters to be well dialed in with their weapon (as always) and be in good shape, as tracking a bear in this blowdown will not be easy.

I have put pics of small, medium and large bears...can you tell which is a shooter? Tip: look for small ears, big belly and back end, legs and feet that look small compared to body, size of bear in relation to bucket or tires.

Notice the time on the camera, then look at next pic...