Agassiz Outfitters-2017 Spring Black Bear Hunting Review

The spring of 2017 arrived early.  By April 1 we were able to drive into camp already which is rare up in our area.  Usually by the middle or third week of April we can access camp, so this told me that our spring was about 2-3 weeks early compared to a more normal or average spring.  However on Friday, April 14, light rain started and continued all into the next day and by Sunday turned to snow which saw accumulations up to 3 inches of the white stuff.  This did not slow us down, as most baits were out and stands up.  By April 23, we were noticing some sign amongst our travels and some baits were already being hit.  By April 28 and to May 6, most baits were being hit and getting real active, which was great as our first hunters arrived on Sunday, May7 which is when we like to start the hunting.

Arriving was one of our good guests and re-peat hunter Richard Price and his party from Wyoming.  Bear activity was slower the first evening but still should have had two bears down but unfortunately both were missed.  A total of 7 bears were seen this evening.  The next evening avid bear hunter and repeat guest Josh pulled the trigger at 5:30 p.m. on a beautiful black bear. After waiting for a good hour up in his stand, Josh decided to get out and start walking out to meet myself.  As Josh stated to leave his stand, another big black bear started walking towards him and stopped at a mere 10 yards.  Josh had enough of this, yelled at the bear which eventually disappeared into the thick, dark spruce.  Wednesday afternoon/evening saw a wicked cold front come through which slowed down the bear activity as only a few bears were seen.  On Thursday, I decided to move whoever was left to new bait sites.  And it paid off as Richards’s good friend Chancy shot a huge 450-475 lb black.  What a bear and heck of a first bear ever for Chancy!  Finally by May 12, the sun was back out and it looked to be a perfect day to bear hunt.  Baits were really heating up now by this time. Richard waited to the end to finally take a good boar.  Passing on some other bears throughout the week paid off too as Richards bear pushed 400 lbs.  What a start to the season, some big bears down and 100% opportunity.

The second week we were 100% opportunity again.  This week saw some re-peat guests and first time bear hunters from Wisconsin and also our long time guest and avid bear hunter Mr. Earl Olaughlin and son in law.  It didn’t take husband and wife team; Greg and Terry from Ohio long to shoot their first bear as Terry pulled the trigger on a beautiful boar at 8:15 the first night.  Terry made a great shot and the big boar only ran 20 yards.  Steve and Tammy, another husband and wife team from Wisconsin watched and passed up 3 bears the first night.  Steve was sitting with Tammy until she got her bear and then would hunt on his own.  The opening of the Fishing season was also this week and it was absolutely crazy as everyone was catching tons of fish.  Meanwhile, it didn’t take Tammy long either, as on the second night after passing on some good bears, decided to squeeze the trigger as well.  Tammy took a gorgeous 250 lb bear which is an excellent spring bear especially being her first bear ever!  On Wednesday, May 17 we had light snow flurries and strong north winds, however Earls son in law John watched and passed up 5 good bears.  Steve from Wisconsin saw 3.  Ryan from Missouri had a slow evening and didn’t see a bear tonight.  On May 18 we had a perfect day for bear hunting.  Light breeze and sunny with some cloud cover.  The “General” Mr. Earl Olaughlin pulled the trigger this evening at 7:30.  Earl has shot some big and beautiful color bears with us over the years and this was another.  Earl couldn’t of been happier with this 350 lb boar.  Earl’s son in law John of Minnesota saw a couple other bears, Steve saw 5 more bears and Ryan saw some bears and couldn’t get a good clean shot at 400+ lb boar that worked his bait just before dark.  By Wednesday this week we were already 100% opportunity and everyone was seeing lots of bears.  Finally on Friday both Steve and Ryan got their bears.  Steve took a nice 275 lb boar with his bow which ran about 30 years and Ryan took a nice 250 lb boar, his first bear ever too.

The third week saw all great guys and repeat hunters of Agassiz Outfitters from many past years.  All from Virginia, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Minnesota.  The first night saw real strong winds and everyone was being patient as everyone this week had taken big bears in the past.  By Tuesday, Brandon of Methodical Media took his first bear.  A real nice 300 lb. boar.  At this time, when walking hunters in we were seeing some real good bears at the baits.  Mark from Wisconsin who was seeing lot of bears too, took another good bear on the third night.  Wayne from Pennsylvania shot too which was a great decision as his bear was 350+lbs and biggest to date.  This evening, good friend Jeff from Minnesota saw 4 bears, Brad from Wisconsin saw 4 and shot a bigger boar with his bow and Brian a.k.a “Doc” from Minnesota shot a gorgeous reddish chocolate at 9:30.  Jason from Wisconsin was also having lots of action as he saw 9 this evening including a huge black, a big cinnamon and smaller chocolate and all wouldn’t give him a good shot with his bow. Great patience Jason!  What a week!!  The fishing remained hot and the biggest this week was a whopping 47 inch Northern caught by Mark a.k.a. “Killer” of Wisconsin.  For the most part, guys that fished this week couldn’t keep them off as 100;s a day were caught and released in short periods throughout the day.

By May 28, I was noticing lots of pre-rut activity around the bait sites and it was even heating up more and more with each passing day.  This week which was our fourth hunting week, saw good repeat hunters/guests from Missouri and new guest from Nebraska and a grandpa, father and son team from Oklahoma.  The first night most guests saw lots of bears.  Dana from Nebraska saw 5 including 1 big cinnamon and 1 frosted color bear.  Dana was hunting with traditional archery and couldn’t get a shot at either bear unfortunately.

Terry from Oklahoma first time/night bear hunting saw 4 bears which he decided to pass which would pay off big time later in the week.  Terrys Dad Spencer saw 3 bears the first night and shot a beautiful first bear.  Greg from Missouri pulled the trigger on Wednesday evening.  Greg and his guide walked into the bait site with a good sized cinnamon on the bait and would later see him again but decided to pass him which paid off too as Greg shoots a big 300 lb. boar that was with a sow.  Greg saw 5 bears in total that night.  Dana from Nebraska shot a big chocolate at 8:30 with his bow and Terry who was passing up tons of bears all week, shot a monster 500+lb. boar that was with a big sow also.  This monster bear squared close to 8’ and green scored 20 8/16 and should rank in the top 5 in Manitoba for 2017 Non-Resident.  What a bruin!! And what a night/week as Terry’s son Caleb pulls the trigger on his first bear that has a beautiful white V on his chest.  Grandfather, Father and Son all tagged out on big bears!  What memories!!  Mike from Nebraska unfortunately misses with his bow and sees 3 others after.  Lots of activity, lots of bears!

This 5th and final week saw more good re-peat hunters/guests from Ohio and the Hill brothers from Iowa who also brought Brian’s son Adam.  Well it didn’t take good guest and avid bear hunter Jason Kunkle from Ohio to tag out as Jason passed up 3 bear when suddenly a huge boar appears chasing a sow and presents Jason with the perfect shot. Jason’s bear tips the scales at 500 lbs and again makes the Manitoba record books.  Another monster takes a dirt nap!  George from Iowa also shoots a nice black bear with his bow.  Frank sees 6 bears and a gorgeous cinnamon.  Dave from Iowa shoots a gorgeous cinnamon way to the north at 8:00 and passed on 2 others before this.  The next night, Dave’s brother Brian shoots a beautiful cinnamon too.  Wow, two brothers, two color bears!  Again, what memories for these brothers!  George from Iowa also shoots a good black bear with his bow after passing up another.  On Thursday, June 8, Frank from Ohio sees 4 more bears and shoots one at 8:30.  Jason Pike from Ohio also shoots his first black bear at 8:45 and Adam sees 4 more but is still passing them up.  However, the next night Adam sees 3 more and decides to take his first bear ever.  After Adam shoots his bear, a big boar walks in which happens lots.  Again 100% opportunity during this week and for the whole spring season.

All in all, what a spring!  Great guests, great experiences and lots of more great memories in bear camp! Thank you to everyone who hunted black bear with us in 2017 and congratulations to everyone on your success!  We look forward, cant wait to see everyone again soon and look forward to hunting big black bear in 2018!

Happy Hunting,

Rick

*Please watch for our ads in upcoming issues of Bear Hunting Magazine*

**Fall Black Bear Hunts were all a huge success and 100% Opportunity as well**