Bear Hunting -- Saskatchewan Style
Dear Friend and Customer:
This column is about a Saskatchewan, Canada, bear hunt I went on in May, 2002 with my wife Debbie.
Debbie is no rookie when it comes to hunting. She scored on a nice antelope a few years ago in Wyoming ... dropping hers at 275 yards with a 7mm-08! By the way, that 7mm-08 is an excellent cartridge for both antelope and deer. And if you get the Remington Model 7 youth rifle, it will fit your woman hunting partner, son or daughter like a glove. And best of all, it has very light recoil.
Just like for her antelope hunt, before we headed to Canada, Debbie practiced a lot at the range. I had her shoot and shoot, and I gotta tell you, she's ALMOST as good a shot as I am!
I also had her study bear anatomy charts for bullet placement, plus watch lots of videos about how to field-judge the size of black bears. After all the target shooting, chart studying, video watching plus all the tips from old G.O., we were ready to leave.
I can't fly because of my back and leg problems (I've had five back surgeries, two of them 3-level fusions), so Debbie drove all the way to Usherville, Saskatchewan, (about 820 miles), while I reclined in the passenger seat.
We arrived and were greeted by our hosts and friends, J.D. Guiding & Outfitting (http://www.jdguidingandoutfitting.com). The Danyluik family -- Louie, Denise and Joe -- own the business and they have been outfitting and guiding for many years.
The plan was that we would be driven to our stand, me in a seat that reclined, Deb on her 4-wheeler, then both of us would hunt from the same stand so I could video her first bear kill.
We got to our stand about 3 p.m. and hunted until dark, which up there was about 9:40 p.m. Deb stared at that bait barrel so intently, I thought her eyes would cross!
By the way, she was using a 7mm Magnum and because she's petite, I had installed a muzzle brake and a heavy-spring recoil pad available from answerrifles.com. Its "Answer System" makes a 7mag have the recoil less than a .243 and I highly recommend it to anyone who hates recoil.
The first day passed and we didn't see any bear. It was much of the same the second day.
The next day, Deb announced she was ready to hunt ALONE in her new stand. Louie took her and I to two different stands. I saw a 300-pounder and after that two cubs. However, I passed on the 300-pounder because I was after a 500-pounder or better.
The next day, Louie put Debbie in her original stand because he had a hunch. And believe me, when Louie has a hunch, you go with it. He's the best woodsman and hunter I've EVER met!
And sure enough, about 7 p.m. ... wait a minute ... why not have Debbie tell the story:
"I saw something move right behind the barrel ... I watched the bear lay down ... I slowly took off the safety and in my head I could hear everything Gary taught me like breath deep to keep calm," Debbie said. "After 20 minutes, he got up and kept looking at the beaver bait Louie put up above the barrel. I could tell the bear was larger than the barrel, which meant he was a keeper. He stood up for the bait and I took my shot. He went down on the spot and the barrel fell right on top of him.
"My heart was beating very fast again ... I felt so proud," Debbie continued. "It meant so much for me to do, not only as a woman, but as a hunter. Now I want Gary to get his dream of a bear over 500 pounds that he always has wanted, just as he wanted for me to harvest my first bear."
The bear had a huge head (18 to 20 inches -- I'm waiting to hear from our taxidermist) and giant front paws.
By the way ... for some reason, this area has all the color phases of black bear ... black, chocolate, blond, cinnamon, and I even once shot a platinum, or silver one, with black hair tips.
The entire camp of hunters, the Danyluik family and myself, had lots of celebration, picture-taking and videotaping going on that night and the next day.
I hunted the balance of the week, saw a few more small ones, and left empty-handed but, with a heart full of joy for Debbie.
Besides the great hunting, the Danyluiks treat their clients like one of the family and Denise serves up some great meals ... expect to gain five to 10 pounds in camp! They also offer a discount to clients who hunt with them for the first time if they mention they read G.O.'s column. The price of the hunt includes meals, taxes, lodging, and transportation to and from your hunting stand. The only extra is you will have to pay for your license.
We're going back there in the fall. This October, I'll hunt bear and Debbie will shoot geese and ducks with Louie (I'll be damned if I'll let her shoot a bigger bear than me! ... well maybe). Then, we'll be going November 18-23 for more of those huge whitetails. It will be Debbie and her son Mike's first whitetail hunt. If they're patient, they'll have a good chance to get one that will score 150-plus Boone & Crockett.
If you would like to chase some of those huge Saskatchewan whitetails, the Danyluiks have a few deer permits left for this year. If you hurry and call, your group just might get in. You can reach them at: (306-547-3301 or 306-547-4756, http://www.jdguidingandoutfitting.com).
Enjoy the Outdoors,
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