Habitat for Wildlife
I hunted with BTO in 2015, 2016 and 2017. I was very happy in 2015 as this was my first bear hunt and BTO came highly recommended on Bowsite. I scored a small bear the first evening, looking back this was probably not a coincidence since I was open about my willingness to take the first animal that presented itself. We left the second day there as my brother had a job interview back in the states,and we drove up together. For the very limited time I was there, I really enjoyed the experience and the people.
The food and accommodations were excellent! Personally this is a low priority for me as I go up to hunt and can suffer through less than ideal conditions, but for many this is important so I thought I should say something and not just rate it with a number. Jeannine's cooking is outstanding and you will never go hungry! Hot showers also were a pleasantry provided.
Two of us were planning to go back up in 2017, when in early 2016 Ron called me and asked if we would be willing to move our hunt up a year because he had some cancellations. I was able to wrangle 3 other guys to go up and we were expecting more of the same as the previous year. Ron did give us a discount as the deposits from the other guys helped offset the full costs and allowed us budget-wise to move up our planned trip. We were very grateful for this!
Stan, the hunter we were in the same cabin with the previous year and I noticed things seemed much different this time. The first night both of us were hunting with winds blowing directly to the bait. We had asked before the trip to hunt the lake baits as it seemed bigger bear were over there the year before and were told we could. We were told the conditions were not right for that once we arrived, even though we went over to help Ron set baits up for the next guys coming in. We were frustrated as at least two more times we were put on stands with our scents blowing to the bait.
Stan took a bear the last evening, the only bear he saw, I only saw one bear the entire trip and it was on a day that I asked to be dropped off early and sat the entire day. It was a nice bear that never presented a shot, laying on the ground facing me while eating the entire time. We were very disappointed to say the least, and thought there were many less baits out and active than the previous year.
In early 2017 I sent Ron a PM as I had not received my bear rug and skull yet from 2015. I was told 1 year at the time I shot it. He convinced me to leave it with him to make a rug out of it. Ron called me and said the rug was almost done and then invited me up to hunt again that year, apologizing for what had transpired the previous year. He made a very generous offer, and also gave Stan a discount to come back.
We went again, and after 3 days left. Out of the four guys in our cabin, Stan saw a bear the first night 40 yards behind his stand and that was all the four of us saw. Out of the other 4 guys, 3 scored a bear, two of them being hunters there to film a TV program. The numbers observed were very low except for one hunter who claimed he saw 12-15 bears that week. He did not shoot one, but let his friend hunt there a couple nights later who did shoot one.
Stan and I actually tried to go to another outfitter while up there as multiple other outfitters had threads going of their hunters observing multiple bear almost daily and very high success rates. Based on the threads the week before and after we were there, BTO appeared to be much slower. I documented my hunt on Bowsite BGF named 'Bear Track 3'.
We are well aware that BTO comes highly recommended, and this report is just one of many and in all fairness to Ron should be judged accordingly. Maybe it was a bad couple of years and things will turn around next year?
Four of us that hunted together up there in 2016 have scheduled a hunt together again in 2018 with another outfitter. Deposits have already been paid. We hope to post our experience next year.
My biggest disappointment is that I have never received my bear rug, and realize at this point I never will. So if you are successful, I would highly recommend you bring your skull and hide back with you and have your own taxidermist do the work.
I tried to be very fair and balanced with this review and hope that I have accomplished that!
Was the outfitter notified of problems? - YES
One of the many great reasons to be a Bowsite sponsor IS the Outfitter Reviews and mostly the ability to respond to a less than true review that seems to have an intent to tarnish the reputation we value so well. Many of you know our reputation on here and our generosity to the community here is beyond any other outfitter. I've been in the outfitting business for well over 20 years guiding over 800 guests to various big game, moose, caribou, whitetail deer, bear plus waterfowl. I've only "fired" 2 guests in all that time and considering the numbers, we've been lucky. I considered asking Frank to leave, but chose to stick it out for the week, as I offered this hunt to him as a free hunt due to something that happened on his hunt from the previous year and he brought a hunter he met at our camp also the previous year with him and I much enjoyed Stan. It was I who offered and encouraged him to come for a free hunt. Readers of this review and response, if forming an opinion should read Frank's thread, Bear Track 3. His thread was used as attempt to tarnish, what our client base feels is an honest outfitting business with a solid business plan. The lack of love and support in this thread he ran surely seemed to fizzle his tirade. Moving forward, I had promised to take Frank out on the river and lake, but late ice out and severe winds dictated we stay onshore and not bait the lake till safe enough to do so coupled with more than enough bears at our road and atv accessible baits, just made obvious sense to not push the safety issue on the big lake too much. In fact, I asked a friend to come up and help me catch up on my baiting and bait the river while Frank was there and weather was stablizing for the final 3 weeks of the season. Normally we will get an "ice out" the 3rd or 4th week of April, but this past spring, was not till 2nd week of May. That said, he is very incorrect that there are bigger bears on the lake and river. The previous year Frank was with us, he fell over backwards into the river right out of my boat in the dark, which can happen I suppose, but I felt Frank's safer place, for this particular hunter would be on land throughout his hunt with me. Decisions as this are my responsiblily. Frank and Stan were given my best guide and best area to make up for the late baiting of the lake and river, along with more bait sites in our east hunt area than my other guide had to hunt, and the 4 bait sites I was hunting. This particular week, I was asked my Travel Manitoba to host a tv crew to shoot a promotional show for the province of Manitoba. My paying guests come first and I took 4 baits to hunt 3 guests that were the most difficult to access and felt this would be fair to the guests by not showing preferential treatment. It is not quite true that one guest I had saw 12-15 bears. In 4 days this guest saw 18 bears but was on his 3rd hunt with us and holding out for an extra large boar and left camp saying it was by far the best hunt he was ever on and especially after Frank left. He is the 1st guest to leave 40% of his hunt behind. From the first couple hours in camp, Frank had us on edge and annoyed the other guests in camp to very high limits. He and I had a meeting with his guide for the week and Frank went on and on with how many people he knew and could fill my camp for the whole season and he knew people with a lot of money, blah blah blah, and punctuated his bragging with how much money he made in a year. None of this concerns me or my guide and shortly after I mentioned to his guide "get this guy his bear cause he's got some sickness at home, I think will entice him home early and outta here". Though out the short week Frank was in camp, I was getting constant information and complaints about him accusing us of over hunting our bears, the place was shot out, Ron's an a$$hole etc. and maybe I let it slide too much, hoping he's shoot a great bear once we had the preferred wind direction. ON the Wed. I told him to be patient as the weather was about to change and so would everyone's sightings. Frank packed up his things and left after 3 days of hunting, which lifted the tension in our camp immeasureably. So we owe him a thank you I suppose. We do wish he would of had a talk with us as to why he was leaving but he chose to run away without a even a wave. As for his bear rug, it was ready 1 1/2 years after his first hunt due to delays at the tannery and it was he that said he'd pick it up this past May. I paid over $80.00 to Fed-Ex his CITIES permit from Ottawa to be here on time and received it the day he left. He's been informed long ago, leaving was a big mistake as shipping and fees were going to cost him an extra $200. All these, his poor choices. The nasty emails from him are countless and uncalled for. His rug and skull are here and will be shipped once all in paid for and not before. He's been given the amounts due and I am being accommodating by letting it run this long. The permits are set to expire and unfortunately, I am not required to hold product forever. In closing, thank you Pat and Bowsite, for the opportunity to respond. anyone wishing further explanation may call directly 204-224-4873 or email, firstname.lastname@example.org Ron and Jeannine Dare
Perfect conditions, rained briefly just part of a day. Maybe warmer than normal and wind was at times bothersome in that on two of the hunts it was blowing from me to the bait.