Spring 2010 Bear Hunt
Spring 2010 Bear Hunt
June 14th, 2010
Our spring season was looking really good until our grizzly hunt cancelled and unfortunately we have been unable to re-sell it. It’s a little frustrating as we have an abundance of grizzly in our area and they are much bigger than most inland grizzly as they are salmon fed. As with the other game here the grizzly has had very little hunting pressure. I have been itching to get into some of the avalanche chutes with clients as that’s the place to hunt them in the spring. There are some fantastic slides that may have any number of bears on them at one time. However, on the brighter side we may have a black bear hunter coming later this month from Turkey. His wife will be travelling with him as well and I’m getting really excited as he has never hunted black bear before! And it’s always such a pleasure to see the excitement and joy on their face! We have had to push the hunt back a little as the snow hasn’t quite melted off the road yet. But once we get in there it’s going to be great! That’s it for now but I will be back and keep you posted.
Tuesday May 18
It’s been a busy day packing up EVERYTHING, all the equipment, gear, clothing, and building material. We headed to McBride at 4:00pm to spend the night with my brother and his wife. The first part of the 9 hour drive went well. We took along two of our hounds, Metro and Yodel just in case we needed to chase down a wounded bear and of course for company.
We booked a couple from Istanbul, Turkey who would be arriving on the 21st. Sevim and Tony Trupia made the long journey to Williams Lake to come spring bear hunting for two black bear and one grizzly. Two years ago Tony had been diagnosed with lung cancer and at his last checkup he was given a clean bill of health. So this hunt was very important for Tony and Sevim and we would work our hardest to make one of his dreams come true.
Heading into BC in the spring is always a pleasure as most times they are far ahead of us when it comes to growth. The vegetation here is phenomenal, you can practically watch things grow in BC. The bear hunting here is far better than Alberta as far as the amount of bears and it’s so much more fun doing a spot and stalk. We saw an enormous black bear in their field, but by the time I got there to get some video he was finished eating. Things are looking good.
We spent a pleasant evening solving the world problems, went to bed late and got up early so we could get to camp a little earlier in the day.
Wednesday May 19,
Pulled into Comet Creek shortly after 3pm, the road was in good condition. Danny was ahead of me and had seen a couple of black bears at the Cariboo River. Everything looked good, not much mice activity which is always a blessing. We unpacked most of everything, cleaned our cabin and began to settle in.
Peter and Fraser arrived around 7:00 to help with the hunt and getting the place operational for our summer season. On the way to camp Peter saw four black bear at the Cariboo River. Things are looking good!
Thursday May 20,
We left for Williams Lake early as the road isn’t open yet to drive through Likely and it’s an extra 1 ½ hours via Quesnel. On our drive six black bears were eating along the road. We picked up the hunting licenses, the two camp containers in Likely and bought enough groceries to last the entire hunt. It’s been a long and busy day. We spent the night with a couple of friends, and of course solved more world problems!
Friday May 21,
It was time to repack the pathfinder as we don’t know how much baggage they have brought with them. We strapped as much as possible on the roof without caving it in, and the remainder into the back. After a great breakfast we headed for the airport. Of course the plane was early and Sevim and Tony were waiting for us. I was really happy to see that there wasn’t much baggage and we managed to get everything in with room to spare for all the wine, champagne and whiskey we purchased in Quesnel. Tony is a smoker and as there is a non- smoking policy in my vehicle there were frequent stops along the way to keep him happy. Outside of Wells we stopped for lunch and of course a smoke. It was cold and snowing! Welcome to Beautiful British Columbia! After settling them into their cabin we went out for an evening hunt. On our way back to camp there was a small Black Bear which crossed the road then disappeared into the ditch. It got our adrenaline pumping! The weather was cool, windy and rainy.
Saturday May 22,
Cool morning again with fresh snow falling up high. Two Canadian Geese have taken residence here in our yard; they come every morning and evening for several hours at a time. After a great breakfast we headed out for our first day’s hunt. Just before noon I spotted a medium size Black Bear and we did a great stalk on it. The wind was good and it was unaware we were even there. Sevim had her video camera ready for some action. It was a 97 yard shot, and Tony was ready using his tripod he had brought with him. I was certain this was a dead bear, and couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw him shoot to the left and slightly below him. The bear ran down the road, then up into the cutblock, stopped with a good broadside shot at 137 yards. He’s dead now! Another miss, now I’m wondering what’s up with this guy. The bear moved farther up the hill and disappeared over the top. We rounded the corner on the road, but Tony was unable to get in another shot. Tony was very upset and as it turned out one of the legs on the tripod had given out slightly, hence the miss. Well, back to finding another bear.
Later that day Danny spotted a beautiful blond grizzly so off we raced to try and get a shot at it and hopefully everything would fall into place. This same grizzly had been spotted three times prior so it was just hanging around the same area. It was a small grizzly however the color made up for its size. Tony was going to make the decision upon seeing it whether he wanted it or not. We never did see it and after walking slowly and quietly up the road we decided to wait there awhile and see whether he would come back out. Meanwhile Danny headed back to camp and within five minutes saw three black bear! Go figure! We sat until our patience ran out and off we went to drive down the main road. There were six different grizzly tracks headed in either directions, three were made earlier that morning which was a sow and cub with a big boar following them. It was getting late and time for supper.
Sunday May 23,
We woke to a cloudy, cool drizzly day, but that doesn’t bother the bears. After breakfast we headed out to see whether we could find the boar whose tracks we had seen. We didn’t find him, however it was a good morning for bears. Three black bear, one of which was a sow and three cubs, all from this spring, then later across the valley in a cutblock we spotted another black bear travelling along at a good pace. Jumping into the Bronco we hurried over to try and intercept him. He was gone by the time we got there, oh well this one wasn’t for Tony. Looking back across to where we had been, we saw a grizzly sow with one cub. Sevim managed to get some video of them, but they were a long way away. It was interesting to watch them as they made their way feeding along the road. As the bears came to where I had sat previously glassing the sow sniffed around the log then immediately tore down the mountain. I tell you they can run just as fast down hill as they can uphill! Several hundred yards later they finally slowed down. Our travels took us down an old logging road with the most incredible amount of moose sign I had so far seen. The amount of rubs and tracks were amazing. I catalogued that place for future moose hunting.
Meanwhile Danny took his ATV down the road to see how much snow there was. Along the way he spotted a smaller grizzly boar that stayed on the road for a few minutes. Then farther a strange sight, a sow in the ditch with her head stuck in a culvert with the cub jumping on the road above her. Danny sat and watched for several minutes until the cub finally managed to get her attention and she popped her head out of the culvert and they took off into the brush. As it was getting late we headed back to camp for supper. As the last touches of supper were being put together I dug out the hummingbird feeder. Last year there were a few of them buzzing around checking out the red curtains. They are such a delight to watch that I was determined to set out a feeder this year. I was thrilled when one showed up, then all hell broke loose. News travels fast out there and suddenly there were more than ten, scrapping and beating on each other to get some sugar water. Three different species were at the feeder. Over the next several days the numbers dwindled and Danny figured they went into a diabetic coma!
Monday May 24,
Yeah!!! Tony shot his first Black Bear today at 433 meters, right through the base of the neck. Tony’s tripod didn’t buckle this time. Incredible shot. No need for the dogs, the bear dropped like a rock, a big beautiful black bear with a white V on its chest which is called a chevron. Don’t ask my why. Maybe the first person to shoot a black bear with a white V was Mr. Chevron. Maybe it’s something I should research so I sound really brilliant the next time someone asks me. After taking numerous pictures and video we skinned it, headed back to camp to celebrate, drink champagne and to tell the story over and over.
Tuesday May 25,
We woke up to a day of clouds and cool wind and no bears the entire day. The two resident hunters saw a sow with cub down the road, about where Danny had seen her two days before. The vegetation is getting greener and more lush every day.
Danny and Fraser headed for our main camp, Cameron Ridge, to get some salt for the hide. There was 2’ of snow still on the road 1 ½ miles to camp. Hiking in went ok, it was trying to walk on that rotten snow with a load that made things rather difficult on the return trip. The camp looked good; a martin had found its way into the pantry and had a great Christmas. On the other hand that meant no mice activity as that is their main staple of food, besides wooden spoons which they ate last year.
Wednesday May 26,
Today is cloudy with partial sunshine. Not much activity again this morning, however this afternoon we went after a Black Bear somewhat smaller than the one Tony had shot. He disappeared rather quickly though and there was no chance of a shot. We stopped and chatted with a resident hunter for a few minutes that had just spooked a black bear in the direction we are travelling, maybe he’ll be back out when we drive by. No such luck. I think it is the same bear we had spooked a couple of days ago.
We found the cutblock that Danny had mentioned yesterday with the western beauty flowers that bears just love. The root is tubular and sweet, I’ve tried one and they would make a great sweet wine. No bears were there so we are coming back in the morning to sit awhile.
Thursday May 27,
Nothing is happening so we are changing our routine and left camp this morning at 7:00am to a cool, cloudy day with some sun. Danny preceded us with his ATV. We caught up with Danny just before the flower patch. As he got off the ATV he ducked down and frantically waved at us to hurry to him. Parking the Bronco we snuck over to where Danny had last seen the bear. It was a chocolate Black Bear. That would make a great second trophy! He was out of sight for a few minutes then briefly popped back into sight, but Danny was the only one to see him before he disappeared completely. We stayed until 10:30 then slowly drove back to Comet Creek.
Around 4:00pm we headed back to the flowers, nothing was eating on them and after staying until 7:00pm we headed slowly back. Part way back we encountered Danny racing towards us, to let us know of a black bear he had seen not once but twice at the same spot. If our luck holds he’ll still be there. Off again! Parked the Bronco at the corner and walked the 150 yards to where Danny had spotted him. Walking slowly down the road to our left I suddenly saw a flash of black and rustling. Stopping we stood quietly waiting as the bear was undecided whether we were friend or foe. The wind was in our favor and Mr. Black Bear began to slowly make his way around us. Occasionally I was able to hear him rustling through the dry grass. Finally I saw him about 6 yards away behind the willows. He was very cautious and unsure what we were. I was going crazy trying to point him out to Tony. At that distance it was by far too close for a rifle with a scope, so I offered him my 30/30 which he declined. Tony finally saw the bear and shot. I watched the bear spin and the noise he made was a good sound. However after Danny and I went slowly into the ditch there was no bear and no blood. How could it have been possible to miss at that distance? As we found out later it was easy if your scope was still turned to the highest power!
Tony was pretty upset at himself but after letting him know about the scope it was easier for him to accept. Back to camp for another wonderful supper, wine to drink, more stories to tell, and laugh until our sides hurt.
Friday May 28,
It’s a bad day today as we are out of fuel, wine, whiskey and could use some groceries. It’s time to make a dash to town. We hunted in the morning to no avail, and then Sevim and I left for Quesnel. On the way we saw one Black Bear, of course Tony wasn’t with us. We stocked up on everything we could think of and with items we didn’t think of.
On the way back we saw one more bear in our area and two we had seen on the way into town. Danny and Tony headed out on the ATV around 5:30pm to do some evening hunting. They arrived back about 8:00pm with having seen only one small Black Bear a mile from camp.
Saturday May 29,
It was a cool morning as Danny and Tony left early using the ATV once more. A couple of hours later we heard the wonderful news. Another Black Bear on the ground! It was smaller than his first one, but it was beautiful. Tony had again taken a long shot, around 300 meters. Then an awesome cowboy shot as he called it, off hand at a 100 meters, taking the bear down. After many pictures, video and poses, Danny and Peter got busy skinning, butchering and fleshing the bear. We left later in the afternoon to take a slow drive down towards the flowers in hopes of seeing a grizzly along the way or with his face buried in the flowers. We didn’t see any grizzly nor black bear however we did see very fresh sign on the road to our destination. And what a pile! We did see a cow moose up in one of the cut blocks. We glass the same spot every time we drive by and finally were rewarded with some sort of creature on the hillside.
Sunday May 30,
Today we left to check out a very special spot. It’s a long ways in and hopefully Tony will be able to make it. He has incredible will power considering what he has endured the past two years. Off we went arriving far into the afternoon, but Tony did manage to make it. We stayed a couple of hours hoping that a grizzly would come out to feed, but it was not to be. We used a push/pull program on Tony for the return trip and managed to arrive back to the Bronco before dark. Tony is quite an inspiration and made me realize that yes if you really want to do something…
On the drive back to camp there was a fresh big pile on the road. Yup, all the work and he was wandering on the road.
Monday May 31,
We slept in this morning on account of our long day yesterday. Breakfasted at 10:00am and left an hour later to check out some other spots. Along the way we ran into our neighboring outfitter, stopped and chatted for a little while. He was also grizzly hunting and had seen five the previous day. We sat and glassed across the valley into the cut block for about an hour then drove the cut as there are a few places hidden from view. There had been a smaller grizzly travelling the road, but he wasn’t there that day.
We headed for the Ghost Lake Falls to show Sevim and Tony. These falls are fabulous. We ran into a resident hunter who had just finished setting up camp, wonder if he will be alive in the morning as the mosquitos were horrid. Sevim and I hiked down to the lake taking a few flower pictures along the way. They were quick stops as we were getting eaten alive.
Down the road we drove once more hoping to see a grizzly wandering merrily along. Tony began lamenting as to where all the grizzlies were. As we joked and laughed along the way, eating and not paying much attention to what was happening around us, we looked up and there was a grizzly walking down the road heading the other direction. Stopping immediately Tony jumped out much faster than than ever before, however his rifle sling caught around the base of the seat and delayed him a few seconds. As he was struggling I grabbed his tripod and he quickly set up for the shot. The grizzly continued to walk slowly down the road not paying attention to any noise we were making except for the bear heard the shell slide into the chamber even though we were 315 meters away. He stopped, turned and stood up peering in our direction then quickly dropped down and ran down the road. I was watching Tony about to squeeze the trigger when the bear disappeared around the corner. I kept watching and a few seconds later he appeared again running to the left. From our vantage point I wasn’t sure whether he was still on the road or had entered the bush. We sat for about 30 minutes hoping that maybe the grizzly would return or continue walking down the road again after deciding that there really wasn’t a threat, but no such luck. We slowly made our way to the spot where we had last seen him only to discover his tracks entering the bush but there was no further sign of him.
We continued down the road until we hit the snow. I walked farther to see if the grizzly had at any point come back onto the road but he decided that the bush was much safer. During the slow drive back towards camp we were all analyzing and replaying the scene. Almost back to Comet Creek I decided to head back up there as maybe there was a chance after this long lapse of time he may have come back out to the road once more. Along the way we saw a very nice black bear. He was rude and didn’t stay for any length of time for photo’s or video but disappeared down the embankment. We didn’t see the grizzly again nor any other grizzly that evening and decided to head back to camp. There was no triumphant return with a band playing and crowds cheering, only the wine to drown our sorrows.
Tuesday May 1,
Since one day had been taken up with town chores this was then their last day of the ten day hunt. It wasn’t a very pleasant day with rain, some sunshine and mostly clouds. We did see a small black bear on our trip up the road but no grizzly. We sat for awhile then back again. We have been hindered by the snow still on the road as we couldn’t access more of our territory. It had been an early spring, but cold. With Tony’s inability to do much walking each day it limited our options, but even though we did see lots of black bear and grizzly. It was a matter of being at the right place at the right time. Tony did not get his grizzly but he went home with two beautiful black bear, and many wonderful stories. We thoroughly enjoyed both of them and hope that one day they may return for another chance at a grizzly.