Fur season is just about over unless you live so far north that the sight of an igloo isn’t uncommon. That doesn’t mean you can’t continue to predator hunt. Springtime coyote control is always in season. Small varmints that invade your woodshed also have to be dealt with, but how about something that you can sink your teeth into? Why not plan a black bear hunt this spring?
There are options for do-it-yourself hunts in states like Wyoming, Idaho and Montana, to name a few, but if I had my choice I’d head north. Don’t travel to igloo country, but stop short in Alberta. Why Alberta? It has a crazy population of black bears. In fact there are so many of the future bearskin rugs that the province hands out two tags per hunter.
Several years ago I had a great hunt with outfitter Jeff Downing who owns True North Outfitters. The smoke was barely cleared from my first muzzleloader black bear when I unpacked my Mathews bow for another bear encounter during the five-day hunt.
Bears were definitely not timid and sitting in a treestand or a ground blind was ridiculous since the bears basically ignored your presence anyway. More than one yearling cub attempted to climb into our homemade ground blind. We even had a bear bite into the dining tent at one point during our trip and nobody is sure how, or when it slipped into camp and left its toothy tear on the door.
While building our ground blind we had a boar march in oblivious to the ongoing carpentry work. The bear soon sensed urgency, raided the bait, and left in Olympic record time.
Realizing we needed to finish, our outfitter Jeff Downing started tossing gear to us inside the blind so he could hustle down to the bait and retrieve the bait bucket and his daypack. Unfortunately it was too late. A sow was now in line for the buffet.
The nearby boar sensed the sow’s presence and rushed back onto the scene to defend the vittles. The sow raced off in a flurry, but the big man needed one more bite and it gave me the seconds I needed to find a shot opening. I was standing in the wide open at 9 yards as the boar leaned into the bait. I drew my Mathews bow and released a second later with a can’t-miss shot. The Rage broadhead performed even better than expected. Blood shot from the wound and the big boar died within 30 steps.
I took a moment to regain my composure and take in the unbelievable encounter I had just experienced. Bear hunting is unnerving due to the nature of hunting big predators, but my hunt in Alberta was downright crazy with the coziness of the unpressured bears. Now do you understand why your predator season is not even close from being over?