2000 Bear Hunt

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My brothers and I had long discussed doing a bear hunt with Dad. With my return to my home state it was time for acting upon those discussions. In March of 1999 my brothers and I attended a Cleveland Sport and Outdoor show at the convention center. The time with my brothers walking around the show is a memory in itself but that story will not be told here. We stopped at many of the bear hunting booths that day and gathered a great amount of information and specific details on bear hunts – several guided western US hunts and those offered in Canada. After the show we decided to sit down to some wings and beer while discussing which outfitter we were going to use. Money was obviously one of the major factors here along with what our money bought.

The final decision after weighing everything was to use an outfitter up at Kipawa Lake located in Quebec, Canada for a spring 2000 (May) bear hunt. The cost was $900 Canadian funds per person and included the cabin for 7 days, bear tag, pre-baited stand areas, two boats for 4 people with unlimited fuel, and all the fishing we wanted to do. The drawback was we had to drive 15 hours one-way to the outfitter and then do the same after a long week of hunting/fishing. Had I known more about western bear hunting then, it may have been a different outfitter being used. But 14 months couldn’t get here fast enough. 

The neat thing about setting up a hunting trip with my brothers and Dad is then we were able to get together several times more to plan clothing, hunting needs, travel logistics, sight in our rifles, and reminisce on past hunts.

We left on a Friday evening and drove all night.  We arrived at approximately 9am at the far western shore of Kipawa Lake and waited for the outfitter to pick us up along with our gear.  At 10:00am the outfitter showed up on his boat, loaded us up, and navigated the 1 hour boat trip to the island the cabins were at.  Once there and after unloading our gear into the cabin we then spent several hours with the outfitter taking a boat to all of the pre-baited hunting stand areas that dotted the land surrounding the lake so we could learn the areas.

Dave, Joel, Me, Dad

We hunted that Saturday evening with each of the 4 of us taking what we felt was “our” stand. Nobody saw a bear.  The plan for the rest of the week was to get up early each morning and complete a morning hunt, return by boat to the island for lunch and a couple hours of fishing, then return by boat to our stands for the evening hunt.  We did this like soldiers every day.

My stand was northeast of the island about a 20 minute boat ride.  The stand was pretty close to the water’s edge and was situated in a tree that overlooked the bait pile that was at the base of a thick pine forest about 40 yards away.  My brother dropped me off on Sunday morning (every morning that week) and then proceeded on to his stand.  Monday morning I observed a bear in the woods making its way toward the bait pile – there was no shot available but at the bait pile (hindsight not a great stand).  Unfortunately as well, the wind was at my back blowing my scent directly towards that bait pile.  Before leaving the heavy timber that bear got a good whiff of me and bolted back into the hillside.  Monday was a bust.

Let me interject this – black flies.  May in northern Canada is certainly not insect friendly.  We had to wear full nets – tops and bottoms.  We duct taped our gloves and boot areas to the nets to prevent bites.  You wore a hat that had a rim around your entire head so the netting was not against you.  If that netting was lying on your bare skin you were getting bit.  The evening hunts came with a reprieve about 30 minutes before sunset.

Tuesday I saw nothing.  Wednesday I decided to set up an alternate tree stand at the same site but gave me much better view outside of the bait pile.  I still saw nothing Wednesday.  Thursday about an hour after I got up into my stand I heard something in the forest behind me making its way towards me.  The forest was thick in that direction (and most other directions) and all I could hear was it getting closer and closer.  My heart was pounding!  To my surprise a young bull moose stepped out of the woods and walked directly under my stand and stopped.  He was no more than 10 feet below me.  I could easily count the 10 points he had.  I had no moose tag so it was just great seeing this animal so close.  After about 5 minutes he slowly made his way back into the forest and was quickly out of sight.

Friday and Saturday came and went – I saw nothing.  Friday my older brother Dave harvested his bear.  It was about 175 pounds.  He has the rug hanging in his family room.  My Dad and younger brother Joel also did not harvest a bear that year.  The following year my Dad got his bear and he proudly has the rug lying on his floor.  We have not been back since but the time spent with Dad and brothers on a hunt is always a great memory.  So the elusive bear is still a dream of mine… for now.

Brother Daves Bear


numbnutz's picture

Another Great story, Congrats

Another Great story, Congrats on getting a fine bear. I would love to harvest a bear and i have been trying for a few years now. I'm being very picky though. My wife has said I can get 1 rug so I want to make sure i get what i want. I dont want to waste any of the bear as i do like bear meat and dont want the hide to go to waste on a smaller bear that i dont want turned into a rug. I have had a few chances at bears in my hunting endevours and only 1 chance at the bear of my dreams and obvisously it didnt work out. Would you recommend the outfitter you used for the hunt as  I want to do a spring out of state hunt?

Retired2hunt's picture

  Yes, I would recommend this


Yes, I would recommend this outfitter.  Just google search Kipawa Lake and you will find about 16 different outfitters.  The three with Kipawa in their name are the outfitters my dad, me and brothers have used - all good people with fairly decent rates.


ManOfTheFall's picture

Great story, I really enjoyed

Great story, I really enjoyed it. It sounds like you all had a great time and that is the most important thing. Spending a week like that with your family has to be a wonderful thing especially place like that. Congratulations to your brother Dave and to your dad whom got his bear later on. I hope you don't give up on your dream of getting a bear some day. Thanks for sharing your story.

hunter25's picture

A great story about a great

A great story about a great hunt. Even though only one bear was taken the experience shared is the best part. I'm sure all have noticed that most of my stories involve my dad. I have no brothers or sisters so my dad and I are very close and now my only son adds to that chain as well. My daughter hunts as well but doesn't get to go as often.

I was sure with a Quebec hunt that the success was going to be much better. We have a bunch here in Colorado but like you I have not yet been able to bring one down. One of these days I will get one though I'm just not sure where yet.

Ca_Vermonster's picture

You know what, I don't think

You know what, I don't think I'd hesitate on a hunt like that, if the drive was the only thing you were worried about.  It sounds like you got a ton of stuff for your money, a pretty good deal.

Very nice story, and sounds like it was a great hunt.  I have not shot a bear, but wouldn't be against it.  Lots of my family members hunt them up in Maine, and I have eaten plenty, I just was never there when the season was open.

Thanks for the story!  Great looking bear!  175 pounds may not have been the biggest bear in the area, but it's no slouch either.

Maybe you will get a bear one of these years in Colorado. I might even consider picking up a tag when i am deer and elk hunting, since guys on here say there are alot of them wandering around.

SGM's picture

Vermonster, It really depends

Vermonster, It really depends on where you are hunting in Colorado if it is worth getting a bear tag especially with the price of an out of state tag at $351. Just some food for thought as I would hate to see you pay that kind of coin and have little to no chance at a bear.

GooseHunter Jr's picture

I too always lov those those

I too always lov those those family hunts, spending quality time in the field with family is more inportant than the kill itself.  I too have always thought that is kill or harvest is always a bonus and time in the field with family is the real prize.  I have alot of great memories in the filed with my dad that did not include a harvest of an animal and I would not trade those for anything.  Congrats on a sucessfull bear hunt and thanks for sharing your story with us.

SGM's picture

Always like reading real

Always like reading real stories about families and their hunts. I have told my kids and wife time after time that just because we did not fill a tag does not mean it was an unsuccessful hunt. I never hunted with my dad but we sure did allot of fishing together. Now that he has passed I can always think back and remember those great time. Hope you get a chance to get out and get that bear someday. Now that you are in Colorado and retired you might have more time to really get out and find one. I started putting in preference points for a limited area so I can get one in Colorado once I retire in 2-3 years. You can do OTC tags  but I want that 28 day bear season tag so there is no rush and it gives me another season to hunt. Thanks for sharing the story.