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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Two fellow members from my hunting club and I leave tomorrow for Minitonas Manitoba on a truly different adventure. For those not familiar with Minitonas, it’s pretty close to Swan River. Still confused?.…how about near the Porcupine or Duck mountains? I doubt any of that helps a great deal. I guess that’s a good start on how you define an epic adventure…you go to some distant land that you never heard off and witness first hand a culture that is completely different than your own. It’s often said that hunting isn’t really about the kill; but about the journey of discovery which encompasses the entirety of the hunt; from the travel, the people, meals, and of course the actual hunting part. Having been blessed to make many trips like this on over the last four decades, I can say that while I do remember loosening my grip on the arrow on past hunts and everything associated with it; my fondest memories and stories I tell of are the places I visited and the people I met. The hunt merely gives you a good reason to go.

Which brings me to the subject of hunting bears….lots of good folks don’t have any interest in it. That doesn’t necessarily mean they are against it…rather it’s just not near the top of their bucket list for any number of reasons. The fact that they are predators makes eating them a non-starter for some people; though I think it’s quite good….not to mention the fat can be reduced to cooking oil that is highly regarded. Still, when I went to Alberta many years ago to hunt them; I remember the resident cost of a bear license was $35…and you got 5 tags! Bears have a respect problem.

This is a baited hunt. Frankly, I have always had an uneasy feeling about the practice of baiting as a hunting method. That said, I just don’t see my own personal ethical standard that I give other game animals applying to predators like coyotes, hogs, bears, etc. However, bears do start to balance on the peripheral edge of this view point; so I’m not sure I will ever make another baited hunt for them. Frankly, at my age this could be my last one period so my intention to hold out for a P&Y class bear; a lofty goal which probably will leave me just looking at the dead bears that other people have shot. I’m okay with that for this particular hunt. Go big or go bust!

Let’s get on with the trip! I’m anxious to see some northern lights in the sky and hear the wail of the loons on the lakes. It’s been too many years since I experienced these northern latitude joys. With a little luck, I can give an update closer to the Canadian border in the next couple of days
 

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Maybe it’s just me being old school sometimes but actually reading the stories that you post are much more entertaining than a YouTube style video. I used to wait for that old Outdoor Life magazine to arrive every month to simply read the “this happened to me” stories. Thank you for letting us be part of your journey.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
That’s a very nice thing to say. Thank you.

Just sitting in the back of the truck trying to rest some before my drive shift. We are nearing Springfield Mo. We are now hearing of major floods in southern Canada and our outfitter has given us a new route to work around the washed out bridges.

It’s going to get interesting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
For those of you have endured the 24 hour slog to Colorado; I think you can appreciate the excitement of the arrival of where you decide to spend the night. I’ve been up 36 hours without even as much of a nap so the old man is tired:) Tomorrow-is a great day as we will make the one hour trip from our overnight stay in Grafton North Dakota to the Canadian border. Our last 8 hours north of the border will be undertaken with a good night sleep and high anticipation. The area we are going has whitetails, moose, elk….and of course bears.

The flooding is incredible here and I will attempt to post what I I was looking at an hour or so ago. The interstate runs about 12” higher than the water on both sides of the road the last 20 miles.

On a final note; the topography on the eastern edge of South and North Dakota looks a lot like the Mississippi Delta. I wasn’t expecting that! Things are going to change tomorrow as we alter our route from the flooding flatlands to the mountains.
 

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Did the non stop Colorado drive 3x and the North Dakota one 2x so I know how you feel. A good nites sleep will recharge you though.

I didn't realize the flooding you spoke of early in the thread was in North Dakota, I was thinking it was across the border.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
The floods are in both Canada and North Dakota. The bridges are out on our route in Canada so we are going to detour our route to the west of the Duck Moutains.

We just crossed the Canadian border. The guard was tougher than we really expected and one of us has to take a Covid test within 24 hours!

Weather forecast isn’t the best for this week as snow and rain is in the forecast for later this week. The attached picture is the Pembina-Emerson border crossing
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
It’s almost 2pm and we are about 2 hrs from our destination. It’s crazy country now. Snow is still pretty much around and the temps are in the upper 40’s. The area from a climate perspective is like early February with nothing budding out and a trace of emerging green grass except in the valleys. We just left Riding Mountain National Park and we saw several bears and whitetails. The attached picture shows a bear that was more than content to let me take some pictures!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I will post something off the stand later today.but Thursday night the forecast is for an inch of snow and on Friday up to three more inches. Fridays high is 36 with a 25 to 30 mile an hour wind. I would guess that would create a wind chill of about zero!!! I don’t think I packed clothes for that extreme temp!

We will have an hour drive plus a 15 mile ATV ride to the stands today. We should be on the stands about 5pm and hunt until 10 pm. It only stays dark about 7 hours per day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
After a 30 minutes “quad” ride as the Canadians call a four wheeler, I’m settled
in for my 6 hour sit until 10pm when legal shooting hours are over. I’m pretty muddy as we got the four wheeler stuck twice on the ride in and had to winch out.

It’s a pretty location as I am on the edge of a small lake; having crossed a beaver dam across the upper end of the lake to get here. In from of me about 15 yards is the classic 55 gallon drum that is often used for baiting bears…except this one is full of high priced trail mix with a lot of chocolate M&M’s. Perhaps if I want a late evening snack I might chance to grab a handful! The outfitter,
Stickflingers, orders over 90,000 pounds of it a year. I guess bears eat a lot! Seriously though, they frown on clients stealing food from the bears:)

Well it’s about 6pm now and I’ve been here about two hours. Though no bears have shown up; it was pretty interesting when a ruffed grouse came flying in and landed a few yards from the bait. I grabbed my phone and took picture as he moved off the the thicker brush. In the attached picture, if you look directly above the small green trees you might see him though it’s a really poor camera shot.

The loons are starting to wail so at least that is satisfying; odd though why I find something soothing in that particular sound.

Larry Carman from Collinsville and Jerry Casano from Indianola are my traveling partners and they, too, are on stands. Hopefully at least one of us can see some action this afternoon.

Time to put the phone down and settle back in to my vigil. There a great deal of afternoon left on this hunt and anything can happen.

Well another two hours have past and it’s 8 o’clock. Though the best two hours of hunting is left; I’m starting to think the bears might win round one. It’s actually a nice day, the sun is still shining and it’s about 45 degrees with a gentle east wind. The bears should be active but it’s early in the season and they are just getting more active. The fact that the outfitter has lost access to a third or more of his baits due to flooding and washed out roads makes it a bit harder than usual. My hands are getting cold so the last update will be around 10…..unless something happens!

The bears won today. Still, a good afternoon spent looking at beautiful country and listening to foreign sounds that you have never heard before. We get so used to our home environment that when those familiar sounds are replaced with others; you certainly notice it.

Round two tomorrow!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Upshot to yesterdays hunt……

Looks like I was the only hunter of the 7 in bear camp that didn’t see a bear. Jerry shot a monster bear and we followed good blood but eventually backed out at 1:30 last night when we started hearing sticks popping in front of us. Jerry just left with his guide to continue the trail. Let’s hope Jerry finds the bear as a wound ends your hunt here! Jerry has company as a fellow from Maryland has a similar agenda this morning having shot a bear through the neck. Jerry’s was low in the rib cage.

Bad luck also struck Larry. Larry got a chance at another massive bear very late yesterday. When pulling his bow back; the compound locked in a full draw! I never heard anything like that. He eventually got the bow to fire (after the bear had left from all the commotion) by striking the arrow nock with his hand. The string jumped off the cam and is now unusable!!!!! He is headed to Swan River to see if he can find anyone to work on it!

There is no cell coverage on the stand. I am typing in IPhone notes and pasting into the forum when I get back to Minitonas. The good news is the weather forecast no longer calls for snow but now rain is abundant in the forecast. Updates later…,
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Today is Tuesday, the second day of a 6 day hunt. I’m in a location about 30 miles from where I spent yesterdays hunt. This location seems to have much more bear activity so I am hopeful for today. I have picked at the two guides all day asking why I was put in the “gar hole” yesterday. Frankly I don’t think they know what the term
means….or, frankly, even what a gar is. Not sure if that is helping my case or not:)

Things started badly today. Not only has it rained most of the day, neither arrowed bear yesterday was recovered. The hunts are over for those two hunters….one being Jerry one of my traveling partners. I’m going to try to avoid the same fate if I get a chance to shoot a big bear.

On a more positive note, Larry engineered a bow press made from two ratchet straps. He removed the cables and bent some dodad thingy back into position. He is back in the game. I couldn’t talk him into my spare recurve! I don’t think I could ever get a compound to shoot….looks way beyond my pay grade.

I don’t think I have mentioned my equipment so I guess now is as good time as any. I’m shooting a Black Widow PSA recurve that scales 52 pounds at 27”. I’m using 520 grain Douglas Fir shafting tipped with the old “greenie” Fred Bear Razorheads. The combination is a little lighter than I would like but I’m sure it will do the job if I do mine.

Hopefully, I can get a shot closer to dark. If not, I was put in “gar hole” #2!

This is definitely not a gar hole. I have had a black bear laying on the ground 12 yards away gorging on the trail mix for nearly 30 minutes now. The bear is about 125 pounds so it’s not what I am looking for.

He had a bigger buddy with him that had a head that looked
like an oversized pumpkin.
The bear circled around behind me, not taking the path as the other bear, got under my stand, and shot out like a cannon when he smelled something he didn’t like. I should be disappointed but I only had a slight “go” on the shot. Something told me he might be right at 18” and he might fall short of the record class bear I want. Hopefully he will come back before dark and I can get a better look at him. I still have about 2 hours of daylight left.

Final update for Tuesday. The 125 pound bear stayed until 9:40. He eventually picked up his head, pivoted to face away from me, then shot like a bullet back under my stand! I had heard of this type of behavior when the dominate bear in the area is coming to the bait! Sure enough within a minute I heard a crack and movement coming my way. I stood, turned my body to ready for the shot and put pressure on the string….only to see two beautiful wolves come right by my stand!

The bears won day 2…..
 

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Sorry to hear about he 2 hunters that had to end their trip like that but it happens. At least you are getting some action now, maybe that big one will come by today. Seeing the wolves is cool, I've never seen one in the wild before. Good luck today.
 

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Good luck. I love your outlook as far as being about the adventure and the experience. Hope to spend a camp with you someday. Still, it’s always frosting on the cake to have a kill. Keeping my fingers crossed for you my friend.
 
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