Woke up Friday Morning to make the 24 hour drive up to New Brunswick to hunt with Kevin at Big Paw Outfitters. We were due in camp at 6pm Saturday night and arrived 5 minutes early. We got greeted by Kevin at the door and got the grand tour of the cabin.
Based on the number of the bugs on the rental van, I knew we were gonna be in for it.
About an hour later (after we unpacked, got the broadheads on the arrows and settled in) Kevin came and got my uncle and I and we got our bear license sorted out and we paid the final balance on our hunt. We were instructed to keep our license on us at all times so we just folded them up and placed them in our wallets.
As the afternoon progressed, more of the hunters were showing up and getting unpacked and doin the whole "Meet & Greet" routine. Originally there were supposed to be 7 guys in camp but 2 cancled so there were 5 hunters in camp the week I was there (Me, My Uncle, A brother-in-law team (1 from Arizona the other Alabama) and the 5th hunter from New Jersey.)
The next morning we woke up, ate a great breakfast and shot bow and talked with the other hunters in camp. We watched a movie on how to judge bears and joked around in camp. After we ate lunch, we were all just pacing around and getting the final touches done on getting ready for the afternoon hunt.
I was told that Joe (One of the guides) would take 2 hunters to their stand and Kevin would take the other 3 to their stand. We'll I got left behind as Kevin took my uncle and the guy from Jersey out and he come back about 40 minutes later to pick me up. On the way to the stand, Kevin told me my spot had been getting hit hard and I should have lots of action. I was already excited so I told him thats good news and I was just excited to be there.
We get back in the New Brunswick boreal forest about a mile from the road up one of the many logging roads that go for hundreds of miles up there and he stops and we walk down to the stand. I get up in, he carries my bow and pack up the ladder and hands it to me (one of the things he does to make sure everyone gets settled in and secure before he leaves as he preaches safety an its importance). Before he leaves he tells me 2 things. He said, "Practice coming to full draw on the stand so my bow wouldnt hit the rail and 2.) Good Luck.
Before I knew it, he was back in his truck and headed back out to a spot between us 3 hunters where he would sit in his truck and listen for one of us to come on the 2-way radios in the event we harvested a bear or had an emergency. You only turned the radios on in those 2 cases (Shot a bear, emergency). So I got settled in my seat, got my gear organized, my Thermacell on and practiced drawing to make sure I wouldt hit the rail in the event I had to take a shot. Once I got 100% settled in I snapped a few pictures;
Bait barrel is the blue barrel (20yds) between me and the white syrup bucket (30yds).
Fanny Pack with all my gear and drink
Hung up the ol' Mathews!
The GODSEND for hunting in Canada in the Thermacell.
The whole time sitting up in the stand I just couldnt belive that I was in the middle of New Brunswick, with my bow, hunting black bear. My first time hunting out of PA and I was just in shock or something, I loved it.
Kevin told me that the "magic" hour would be 7 for the bears to start moving. I got in stand at 4:45 and as I was sitting there watching red squirrels I would hear heavy walking but the woods was SO thick that you couldnt see anything. One time around 7:30 I looked up and saw what I thought was a bear but wasnt sure, I looked away for a little and looked back and it was gone so I assume it was a bear.
A little while later at 8:05pm I caught movement above the bait barrel and there for the first time ever, saw my first black bear while bowhunting. He come in and dug around at the base of a tree for a while then walked over to the barrel and just ripped it away from the logpile in front of it to get to the donuts inside...he was surrounded in a fog of mosquitos.
I didnt know how big the treestands were and I had a tripod in the van but I didnt get the actual shot on video.
CLICK PICTURE TO WATCH VIDEO (NEXT 2 PICS)
When Kevin got to me he said, "Do you feel good about the shot, where was he and other information seeking questions." We went over to where the bear was standing and found my arrow burried 6" in the dirt and covered in blood, a perfect pass through. I knew exactly where I hit him and told Kevin the shot was perfect. So he told me stay in sight of the barrel as he went to look for the bear and blood. He was out about 20 minutes and I heard him say, "Hey JOSH!".. He walked over to me and said, I saw your bear. He was laying on his back with all 4 paws in the air next to a blow down that he crashed over. When I got close to him, he rolled over, sat on his butt and looked at me and walked off into the brush (About 10 min.) after the shot occured. So Kevin and I agreed to back out and wait till the morning. He looked at me and said, "You might think Im crazy but I dont want the coyotes getting him", so he took his jacket off, then his shirt and hung it in the tree next to the stand and put his jacket back on. He said in a joking manner, "Im the type of guide that will take the shirt off their own back for their hunters."
We made it back to camp that evening and when we got there my uncle had hit the bottom limb of his bow off the rail and missed a big bear clean. The guy from Arizona shot a big bear with a 35 wheeling (rifle) but would have bowhunted had he known he needed a bowhunter ed. card. The terrain it was in was to bad to do a night recovery so he and I had a sleepless night waiting for morning to come to go out and get our bears.
The next morning, my uncle, the hunter from Jersey, myself and Kevin went out to look for my bear. (Joe the other guide and the hunter from Arizona went and got his). Well we get out there, get on great blood, found where he fell over the blowdown and walked off. My Uncle, Me and the hunter from Jersey is following great blood while Kevin goes out to see if he can see it. We're following blood and Kevin comes over to me and says, "Josh, I hate to tell you this but I dont think we're going to recover your bear." My heart sank and I dropped my head but I thought to myself, "Im not giving up cause I still got great blood." I looked up at Kevin and said, "I want to look a little longer cause we still got blood." He said, "I looked everywhere, were just not going to recover this bear." As I was just about to throw-up, Kevin looks at me and said, "Im just messin with ya, hes laying over there!" About 15 yards from where we found last blood my bear was tucked up next to a tree in a little hole.
I was giving everybody high-5's, handshakes, and goin crazy. I was so excited to get my first bear with the bow.
Jim (the guy from Jersey) said, "Kevin winked at me and I didnt know what was goin on. I thought he was getting a little fresh with me." So that lead to a week of rated "M" humor for the rest of the camp.
We get the bear field dressed, tagged and tied to a 10' tree that we cut down and my uncle and I carried him out of the woods. (Kevin would have did it, but I told him I paid for the experience and I wanted to be part of the whole ordeal, not just be a trigger man. I would carry my bear out of the woods!) So we got the bear to the truck and back to camp for a picture session.
My bear was 210# and measured out right at 60" or 5'. Chads bear was close to 300# and measured out at around 5'8". I was excited and HIGHLY pleased with my first bear. I couldnt have wanted anything different.
Since I was done hunting for the week, I decided to hang out in camp and sight see. My uncle harvested a smaller bear the next night with Kevins gun as it was raining and he didnt want to risk losing a bear with the bow due to loss of blood so we were tagged out by Tuesday night. We spent the next days goin to the ocean and hitting up local stores and having a nice relaxing time before the 24hr. roadtrip back got its hold on us.
Had Steeler Nation in Bear Camp
Got smashed by a wave at the ocean in 45 degree weather
Got fresh lobster from the ocean
And saw some Moose
I loved Bowhunting in Canada!
Maybe next on the list?? LOL