The one thing that drives all of us hunters crazy is the long months between hunting seasons. So this year I decided to go on a spot & stalk black bear hunt. This would help get me through until the fall hunts begin again in August. My guide of choice was Scott Mackinzie, owner of Big Time Hunts in British Columbia, Canada. He and his lovely wife Jodi run the operation, along with Scott's brother Shawn Mackenzie and a few other assistant guides.
I chose this hunt due to the abundance of bears in different color phases. My plan was to take one of each, a mature black and a mature cinnamon colored bear. The average size for these inland bears is about 5 to 5 and 1/2 foot squared. But Scott and I were optimistic we could locate and harvest a larger specimen. I purchased my airline ticket to BC and headed straight to West Houston Archery. I always take two bows on my hunting trips and my backup bow was several years old. Therefore, I thought it might be time for a newer model. I had been shooting the Elite Answer manufactured by Elite Archery and it served me very well. With this in mind, I wanted to purchase the newest Elite bow, which is the Impulse. It's significantly faster with more let off and the same axle to axle length. What more could an archer ask for in a bow?
Now that my equipment and outfitter were in place, all I had left was to practice shooting, pack my bags and get on the airplane to BC. Once I arrived Shawn picked me up at the airport for the short hour and a half drive to camp. After meeting everyone I was shown to my cabin where I unpacked and took a few shots at the bear broadhead target. Everything seemed to be in order as I got ready to begin my hunt the next morning.
Breakfast was at 8 am, then we loaded my gear in the Rhino RV and drove into the mountains to begin hunting. The first morning we spotted a large bear in the far distance but it quickly moved into the timber. Scott and I both thought it might have been a grizzly since there are many in the area. The weather was beautiful with lows around 45, highs in the 70's, and much cooler at the higher elevations. It was absolutely perfect for bear hunting. Later that afternoon we headed back to camp for lunch and returned that evening to resume our search for bears.
At 4:30 pm Scott and I headed back to the mountains, searching every cut block, field, landing and dirt road for bears. We had about an hour of daylight left so we decided to walk across a cut block to check a spot where we had seen fresh tracks earlier that morning. After walking for a while we came to the top of a hill and there was a black bear feeding in the clover. Immediately we knew it was a large boar. So I slipped off my boots, knocked an arrow and moved closer for a shot. The bear was behind a stump at 25 yards so I knelt down and got ready.
As the bear fed, he moved even closer to me. The last time I ranged him was at 18 yards. Finally, he stopped and looked straight at me while smelling the air and curling his lips. He was now at 15 yards from me. We stared at each other for what seemed to be an eternity as a mosquito drilled into the side of my neck, making it difficult to remain motionless. This staring contest lasted for about three minutes or so. With my release on the string D-loop, I waited until the bear made his move. Then I drew my bow and released the arrow, and it passed straight through his heart. My Gold Tip arrow with a Muzzy Phantom broadhead did the trick again, putting this magnificent bear down in only 20 yards. I spent the rest of that evening and the next day skinning, fleshing, salting and cleaning the skull.
The next several days Scott and I spent driving and hiking in search of other bears for pictures and videos. We found a few of each color phase while videoing two different cinnamon bears at 5 and 10 yards. What a great trip this was! My black bear will place in the Pope and Young record book with a skull measurement of approximately 19 1/2 inches and a squared measurement of 6'6". He also had 4-inch long jet black hair and no rub spots.
The next time you’re dreading the long wait until fall hunting season begins, think about a spot and stalk black bear hunt. These hunts are reasonably priced, laid back and a lot of fun. Who knows, you might even find a large bear like the one I was after.
Good luck and shoot straight.