Archive for the ‘Bear Hunting’ Category

SNEAK PREVIEW – California Archery Black Bear – Dave Beronio

Monday, September 12th, 2011

I thought I’d wet your whistle with a preview of one of the most exciting webisodes we have ever had on Outback Outdoors. You wont want to miss this show as Dave Beronio and cameraman Chris Callinan spot and stalk big bruins in the high country of the Sierras in California. After months of trail cams and scouting Dave and Chris get up close and personal in this heart pounding and physically demanding bowhunt.

 

Californa Bears Hit the Ground

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

I am still suffering from adrenaline overload from this years California spot and stalk bear hunt.
What an exciting hunt with all the highs and lows associated with bow hunting. Our spring and summer scouting provided us hundreds of bear pictures, increasing our excitement and anticipation for the upcomming season but as we all know, things change in the field.

Opening weekend came around and we hit the mountains hard. I spent hours pinned behind the glass of my Nikons searching every nook and cranny only turn up sows and cubs. This was special in its own right as it allowed us opportunity to watch nature at work and kept us on our toes. One situation in particular put us 12 yards from a sow, with her two cubs under 10 yards, her bluff charge raised the hair on the back of our necks and as Fred Bear said, “it is a feeling that will cleanse the soul”.

Heading back to work for a couple days, I gave Chris a couple days off from running camera.  He used this time for scouting, but with bow in hand he found himself 18 yards and at full draw.  Chris took advantage of this gift and filled his tag with a nice California bear.

 

I was still with an unpunched tag when the hard work and dedication finally paid off.  Spotting a great bear with the first rays of light our stalk would be fast and the final seconds even faster. Forty yards of berries and steep High Sierra country kept us from the bear, but only clean mountain air separated my Goldtip arrow from his thick chocolate coat . With camera rolling, my first shot hit the mark. The bear hit the deck, regained his footing and sprinted uphill only to realize there would be no more up. This is when the real fun begins. Without giving away too much, I leave you with this; My first shot was at 40 yards, the second was at 7 yards and I never moved my feet.

 

With Chris Callinan running camera and me behind my Hoyt CRX 32 we have gained memories that will last a lifetime. We hope you enjoy watching this hunt as much as we had bringing it to you.

We will see you where the white rocks and the green trees meet the blue sky.

Scouting Update for California Bears

Monday, July 11th, 2011

Just shy of six weeks from the opening day of the California bear season and the bruins are reading the script to the story perfectly. However, until first light on opening morning I will not know which animal will play the leading role. We have a number of contenders but the unpredictability of animals is a factor left in Gods hands.

Chris Callinan and I have been documenting all aspects associated with scouting and preparation for this hunt. Many hours of video footage, still photos, and trail cam pictures are the appetizer to what should turn out to be another great Outback Outdoors webisode. We’re excited to share this adventure from start to finish.

July 1st found us high in the mountains trying to avoid the high 90° temperatures that lurked back home. It wasn’t only the air temperatures that were hot; our trail cameras were on fire. Staying out of the area for a few weeks, this was our first trip back to check on them and the new locations were turning out to be extremely productive.

Tucked into a small basin, the mountain spring boils out of the hillside and weaves its way slowly through an aspen grove only to disappear into the sage flats below. With no opportunity to glass the area our scouting is comprised of reading the many signs on the ground, gauging the marks on trees, and viewing nearly 1700 trail cam pictures from this one camera alone. This honey hole is turning out to be our most productive set to date. This headwater serves a dual purpose for the bears in the area. Pooling up under a natural grassy bank, the small gravel tub is both a water hole and a wading pool to soak their thick coats.  The water is constantly moving through the pool so there is always clean drinking water or a freshly drawn bath.  This location will make for a difficult hunt but with the number of bears in the area, it offers great opportunity. 

Here are just a couple of the trail cam picts we enjoyed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moving on to one of the other cameras later in the evening we were stopped in our tracks as one of the bears from my original post, “Scouting California Bears”, lumbered out of the willows. Bandage is a very distinct bear with a white blaze chest and a bandage like stripe across his nose. With camera rolling Chris and I contemplated strategies on how we‘d stalk him as he feed through an open park just a couple hundred open yards away.  I’m hoping this situation replays again in six weeks as it would have made for an exciting hunt. 

Bear Hunt In British Columbia

Monday, June 20th, 2011

I just returned from a hunt for black bears in British Columbia and the hunt was the absolute definition of what Outback Outdoors stands for. Wild adventures and hunting with new and old friends. I headed up to the Purcell Mountains in Southern British Columbia to hunt with A/Z Outfitters. Brent Dubois is a third generation outfitter in his totally road less area. His grandfather began guiding in this wilderness in 1954. The equipment and stock date back to the 1940’s.

I arrived after a short 3 hour drive from my house. I was going to be hunting with Kristy Titus from Pursue The Wild and my good friend Rockie Jacobsen from Bugling Bull Game Call Company. We all spent the night in the Cabins At Whitetail Lake. They are rented out for day trips, fishing trips, hunting, snow mobiling and hiking adventures.

After a quick breakfast we all met at the corrals to start and sort through all of our gear. We were going to be riding in on horse back some 24 miles the first day into a main cabin. Because of the limited space on the pack horses we were going to have to bring roughly 60 pounds total for each of us in gear. When you start to add up your clothing, sleeping bag, weapon and camera equipment it tends to add up fast. Everything was laid out and weighed and put in pack boxes or canvas bags.

The pack string was going to consist of 6 pack horses and 6 horses that we would ride. We had 3 hunters and 2 guides and a cook.

It would take them several hours to assemble all of our gear and strategically place it on all of the horses and mules. Some of the stock was better at carrying certain items and he trusted a few of his horses with our expensive camera equipment. In the mean time I found my four legged taxi and tied on my bow scabbard. I was going to bring just a bow while Kristy would bring a rifle and Rockie would carry both. I really wanted to take a bear with my Hoyt. Four hours later the string was ready and the entire crew began our 7 hour trip. Along the way the scenery was going to be fantastic and I kept my still camera at the ready. We also traded places running the video camera to document our wilderness trip.

The first few hours were spent in the narrow draw following Dutch Creek but as we climbed in elevation the valley began to open up. The problem we knew that faced us was the high amount of snow still in the high country and the high water crossings. I have rode horses in the past but never had taken a trip of this length. The secret from getting a sore bottom is to walk a lot and ride the horses up hills and across the water. This will help you from getting to sore and will also keep you in pretty good shape.

My still camera was clicking away at the beautiful grandeur that was in front of me. Pristine wilderness with very little human interaction. This is the kind of hunting that I love. Along the way we saw elk, deer and mountain goats. The huge avalanche slides were still covered in snow and the trail was difficult to find at times due to the snow level. These horses have made this trip dozens of times before so they were pretty much on auto pilot.

After a long but awesome ride in we had made it to the main cabin. The accommodations were amazing for being this far in. Two main cabins and several out buildings. We had nice beds and a wood stove in our cabin and the other was the main eating cabin and its where the guides would sleep. After taking off the steel bars used to protect the cabin and welcome mats filled with nails for the grizzly bears we unpacked and got our gear ready for the first hunt. The weather was very nice going in but clouds soon rolled in and the skies opened up as it rained for the next 12 hours. We opted to go out anyway and we rode about 3 miles up the trail and sat and glassed the first avalanche slide we came to. The only thing we spotted were mountain goats and elk. Bears are more of a fair weather critter and do not like being out in the rain too much.

If you plan on hunting in the harsh spring climate of the mountains you better have good rain gear and quality hunting equipment. This is no place to find out that your gear has failed you. I stayed warm and dry and the camera equipment did as well. After a night of no bears spotted we headed back for a warm fire and and a good hardy meal.

 

 

The next day the weather cleared and we decided to head to another cabin about 10 miles further up the drainage. We packed up all our gear and enough food for 3 days and rode the horses further up the trail. We had to negotiate the deep river and it all went off without a hitch. The country opened up more and there were slides to glass and greener grass where we could locate hungry bears. The second camp was much like the first. Warm and roomy and full of all the amenities you could want in a wilderness camp.

My excitement level was high on my third day and the weather was once again cooperating. We had just gotten off of the horses when Fred the guide spotted a black bear on a distant slide. After sizing him up and making sure he was a boar the Hoyt was taken from the scabbord and the long stalk began. I was going to have to go up the far East side of the slide in hopes of intercepting the bear. He was feeding along the tall willow brush and occasionally we would catch a glimpse of him. Once I was half way up the slide I had to rely on hand signals from the crew below. After nearly 45 minutes and a climb that yanked the breath from my lungs we staged by a big spruce tree. I looked down the slope and saw the guide motioning for me to draw my bow. I switched into panic mode and began glassing the hill side. I could not see very far due to the angle of the hill and the tall brush. After several minutes I spotted a set of black ears.

I could not get a range on him but knew he was close to 60 yards. I had to get closer so I dropped down and began working my way closer to the bruin. He must have heard our approach because he was staring right down on us but did not run off. These bears do not see many people so they are a little more tolerant of strange forms walking around. I finally ranged the bear at 53 yards. I did not have a clear shot and wanted to get closer if at all possible. I slowly kept walking toward the bear and found a lane made from a fresh slide which would lead my Gold Tip right to the bear. I ranged him one last time and got a reading of 41 yards. I made sure my camera man, Rockie was on him and drew back. I settled the pin on the near straight up shot and gently squeezed the release. I could see my orange wrap right in the sweet spot as the bear ran off. He went only 50 yards into the dark timber before piling up. I had my first spot and stalk bear and I could not think of a more prettier place to do it than in British Columbia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are interested in a class A hunting operation for either archery or rifle hunts be sure to contact Brent Dubois at A/Z Outfitters. They specialize in black bear, grizzly bear, mule deer, white tail deer, elk, moose and mountain goat. There is no draw for most tags in British Columbia so reward yourself to a trip of a life time.

Rockie and Kristy both took good bears as well but that is for another story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scouting California Bears

Friday, June 17th, 2011

Scar Face/pumpkin head

The excitement level is rising with every trip into the mountains and the anticipation for the opener of bear season is becoming obsessive. For me, scouting for any big game can never start early enough or maybe it is just my excuse to get more time in the mountains. Either way it is paying off both for deer and bear.

This past Wednesday I met up with friend and Outback Outdoors camera man, Chris Callinan, for our second trip into the mountains checking

White Nose

the trail cams we have set for bears.  The state of California does not allow baiting as a means to take bears. So in the backcountry of the Eastern Sierra’s we rely on signs of bear activity to determine where our cameras will be most usefully placed and our glassing concentrated. Chris and I have been focusing out efforts to one deep canyon. Lined with pinion junipers and aspen pockets, the lush grassy parks are showing sign of an active population of bears.

 

A nice chocolate bear gnawing post

Scratching post

One tell tail sign of high bear activity in the area is a railroad tie fence post. This oil soaked object is being used as a scratching post or a scent marker. The top quarter gnawed away giving a great indicator of the size and dominance of the bears in the area. This location along a high mountain cattle grazing fence line is turning up some great pictures.

Bear trail inspection

Another indicator is a fascinating sliver of aspens displaying signs that many generations of bears have been lumbering under the quaking canopy. There are trails beaten into the soft earth by the tight gait of bears following in the same foot step as the previous bear. Nearly every aspen is clawed or chewed upon as markers and scratch posts with many showing claw marks nearly to the top.

White Nose

We will be heading back in to the area at the end of June to see what these areas are producing.  All this leading up to what looks to be a potentially awesome California archery bear hunt. 

California Bear Tag in Hand

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

A pleasant surprise in the mail today, my California hunting license and bear tag.

With internet access we have updates and tag results at the push of a button. But one thing that never gets old is picking up the mail at the gang box, sifting through the stack of bills and seeing an unmistakable letter from a Department of Fish and Game.

As the shadows of evening cast into the canyon the bear was spotted feeding up a long side a thin red willow patch. Chomping the lush grass that lined the willows, this bruin never heard Outback Outdoors camera man, Chris Callinan stalking into position at the head of the willows. The wind was perfect, cover minimal, the bear never knew he was there. Chris kept tabs on the animals location by watching patches of hair through the thin willows. With the bears head pinned to the ground and moving uphill, chris could get positioned and drawn without detection. The moment of truth came when the bear cleared the brush 8 paces from the tip of Chris’s broadhead. With perfect shot placement all hell broke loose in the bottom of the canyon. The bear spinning and biting at whatever penetrated behind his shoulder while Chris sat motionless in the grass only yards away.

The most terrified person was Chris’s wife Celest who was sitting on the adjacent hill a couple hundred yards away watching the events unfold through the spotting scope. To her it looked like the bear was on top of her husband. As the bear fell a sigh of relief came over her as Chris stood out of the deep grass bow raised thankful for a great hunt.

This is what I have to look forward to archery hunting CA bear. California does not allow baiting so there will be no waiting for bears to come to us. There will be plenty of excitement as we spot and stalk them in the high alpine country of the Sierra Nevada mountains. With Chris filming over my shoulder we will bring you the excitement from the ground.

Bear Hunting Update – Jim Brennan in Alberta Canada

Monday, May 10th, 2010

Bear hunting season is finally here and Outback Outdoors’ Jim Brennan is with Garrett Brothers Outfitters in Fort McMurray, Alberta hunting big black bears. Some of you might not realize this, but Jim is a black bear aficionado. He has, in the past, owned and operated his own black bear outfitting service in Saskatchewan, CA.

Yesterday I received a text from a phone number that I didn’t recognize. it said the following. “Borrowing phone its jim no service up here big bear down.” After texting him back asking for a pic and more info, he responded, “Cant he was black around 6 foot 3 no neck big head 12 long 7 and 1/2 wide 310 on scale no phone pics.”

Translation – Jim killed a smoker of a black bear at over 300lbs and 19 plus inch skull! Congrats Jim and can’t wait to see the pics and the video!