First off, this was my first bear hunting trip so I did not know what to expect and wasn't sure how this outfitter compared to others so, I had to additionally rely on a few of my friends who were on the trip and who had each been to 3-4 other outfitters during their bear hunting career when putting together my review.
During our week at camp there were 11 hunters. 9 of whom were in my group. There was also another guy from France and another from Norway (Tim - who on a side note was hilarious!!!) Overall it is an understatement to say that we had a blast! The outfitter, his wife and son / guide are fantastic people and have a great sense of humor. It was obvious to me that the guides were working their butts off to keep us on bear and to make sure that everyone was prepared for the hunt and well informed of what they needed to do to keep the odds in our favor. The guides were constantly checking trail cameras and baiting sites during the middle morning when we were resting.
The weather during our week of camp was an interesting mix to say the least. The first half of the week was in the mid 80's and humid, the second half of the week was cold and rainy, the only constant was the mosquitos and black flies as both species are apparently imune to rain and colder temps. Bear movement wasn't the greatest at times, nothing to do with the outfitter, just a weather related not.
Of the 11 of us who were at camp, 5 killed black bear, one person made a bad shot and did not recover his bear on the first day. The largest was 400 lbs, the smallest was mine which I will not disclose the weight of:) The other harvested bear were in the 150-200 pound range.
A typical day at camp was as follows: 0730-0800, breakfast served, coffee is available earlier 0800-1200, rest (more as the week progressed), shoot bows, prepare / wash clothing and equipment, hang out 1200-1230, lunch served, insructions for the evenings hunt are given out as well as guide assignments. 1230-1330, dress, tape up bug suits, load gear 1300-1600, drive in groups to bait sights, drop hunters off at each 1400-2100, once on stand you hunt until dark. Depending on how far your bait was from the lodge, people got into the stand between 2-5 pm. 2100-0000, hunters were picked up and brought back to camp. Recoveries were done the next day after breakfast, during daylight. 0000 (midnight) dinner served.
Food - Janet, the owners wife is an awesome and accomodating cook. You will gain weight at camp.
Additional information. The lodge is actually the owners house which surprised some of the first timers. The house is located in a rural neighborhood of sorts. I was expecting a huge lodge in the middle of Canada, this however worked out nicely. All of the bait sites are well away from the house on either private or public land. Despite my initial concerns about not getting to hunt in the Canadian wilderness, all of the bait sites were plenty remote enough for me to experience the splendor of the north. There is a large bunk room downstairs with 6-8 bunk beds. There are also 3 semi-private rooms throughout the house and I believe that there were more private rooms above the pool room. Those might be for friends or retuning guests - I'm not sure.
The outfitter has been doing this a long time and knows what will work and he is not afraid to tell you. After all, his reputation depends on you succeeeding in your hunt as well as you enjoying your time with him. He requested that we use fixed blade broadheads only and that we not use Thermacells. He also preached making quatering away shots. The fur on bear is thich and spongy and he said it was critical that we get a broad head into the vitals and kill the bear and not rely on a tracking job because the bear wont drop alot of blood and the undergrowth was scary thick and tracking into and through it would have been impossible at best. The Thermacells, he said, put off an odor that will send bear running. Most of us have watched bear hunting videos where they were used so I don't know what to tell you. He was adamate and we honored his request. I will say that for those 10 of use who were bowhunting, the trees where we were instructed to place climbing stands, were all within 15 yards of the bait site. Do not expect to make a long shot, the woods in most cases were too thick for it.
Also, we all took coolers to bring our bear, meat and all back in. Yvon felt very stongly about not eating bear meat. He said that the meat was full of worms and paracites which if consumed by humans, would make them very ill. They were able to clearly show us the worms and parcites in the meat as he described. He said that was our bear and that we could eat it if we wanted to however, all of us agreed with him and simply kept the hides. We did a little internet research on the way home and confirmed the outfitters claims about ingestion of bear meat and found it to be a justified concern.
If you go to this outfitter, make sure you take a Bug Tammer suit, plenty of duck tape and your own alcohol. If you get there early on Sunday and need to eat somewhere (because they dont feed you on Sunday) they will direct you to a nearby pizza place....go there! The pizza was fantastic and they served something that I do not remember the name of but, it consisted of french fries covered with cheese curd and a thick curry gravy. My heart is still not beating regulary but it was so worth it.
Jeremiah Gillam...planning a retun trip around the spring of 2017.
Thak for the great report... see you in 2017..
half of the week was very cold and rainy.