My 2016 spring bear hunt was with Northumbrian Resort located just south of Sioux Lookout, Ontario Canada. I found Northumbrian Resort through a google search. I chose Northumbrian because the owner, Greg, was responsive and his rates were affordable. I booked a seven day, eight-night stay and received three bait sites.
Northumbrian is a small outfit with seven customer cabins, office building, fish house and screened in sitting area that overlooks Abrams Lake. I had a cabin to myself, but the cabin has beds to sleep five people. The cabins have full kitchens, bathrooms with hot and cold running water, electric heat, bedding, towels, pots, pans and dishes. The outfitter also has fly-in fishing and moose hunting camps north of Sioux Lookout.
I had three bait sites that were started about three weeks before I arrived. The baits were all within two miles of town and within five miles of camp. The baits were way back off the main roads on logging roads. Some of the roughest roads I’ve been on because of the rocks, washouts and flooded areas.
The bait sites were just inside the woods in areas that were clear-cut. I put cameras on all three baits and hung stands over the two best. Once I arrived, I took over the baiting chores. The bait I used included dog food, grease and a beaver carcass. I brought frosting, butter scotch sent and cookies. During the week, I was also given popcorn and bacon grease. After I got cameras on the baits, I found there was a yearling at one bait and about a 200 lb bear on another. I put out my sweet smells to draw in more bears. It took three days of baiting, hunting and checking cameras before I figured out which bait to hunt.
While baiting one morning I met a large bear on the trail leading back to my truck. With a pole saw in one hand and a bait pail in the other, I met the bear coming in my direction on the same trail. This happens to bear hunters occasionally, but it was a first for me. I yelled at him but he kept coming, so I yelled louder and raised my hands. Finally, he stopped about 30 yards from me, turned and wandered off.
On the fifth day I got to the stand at 8:00 am. At 3:20 in the afternoon, a sow came into the bait. It is illegal to take a sow with cubs during the spring hunt in Ontario. I watched this bear feed at the site for about 10 minutes to be sure cubs didn’t follow. After deciding this was a legal bear, I waited for a broad side shot and took it. The shot hit farther back than I wanted, most likely through the liver. The bear wandered off and I called the outfitter.
The outfitter arrived about an hour later with his dog and a friend. We followed the blood not more than 30 yards and found the bear curled up in a ball under a tree. The assumption was that the bear was dead, but I asked the question, “are you sure it’s dead?" The outfitter wanted to train his dog to find bears, so we held back and let the dog find it. The dog noticed the bear and begin to bark at it, the bear lifted its head and growls and snaps at the dog! I nocked an arrow, drew back and put another arrow in him from about 15 feet away. The bear got up and ran away from us. We backed out and Greg went back to the truck to retrieve his rifle. We waited about 45 minutes before going back in the bush after the bear. We found the bear dead no more than 20 yards from where we found it curled up.
I feel that I didn’t do my job correctly on this hunt. That bear should not have lived more than 5 minutes if I would have taken the time to aim more carefully before releasing the first arrow. Hopefully, I will learn from this experience, and it will make me a better hunter in the future.