Alberta Bear Hunt: First Bear Down

Bearstare1_2 Had another good bear hunt tonight. Spent most of the evening with a very hungry six-and-a-half footer that came into the bait every hour on the hour starting at seven. It would hang out for a few minutes at a pop, eating with vigor before easing back into the woods. When my guide came to pick me up at dusk at 10 p.m. the bear was right underneath me and didn’t leave until the quad was about 100 yards away.

The bear was bold, something I learned the second time it came in. Instead of hitting the bait, the bear walked right past the food and stood at the base of my stand looking at me. We stared at each other for about half a minute before it turned around and slowly made its way to the food to have some more to eat. It knew I was there but didn’t care.

After watching how quickly the bear was able to climb the crossbeam holding the beaver carcass, which it tore in half by gripping it with its teeth and hanging underneath it, I was glad the bear decided to stay on the ground when it was sizing me up.

I spent a lot of time glassing that bear as it came and went. I’m using one of the ultimate low-light binocular configurations, a 7x50 Swarovski SLC. The 7x50 is the classic magnification/objective lens setup for nautical binoculars, the reason being its superb performance in dark conditions thanks to the large exit pupil diameter—approximately 7 mm, which more or less matches the maximum size the human eye is able to dilate—coupled with a magnification level that’s easy to handle from the deck of moving boat. These qualities also make it a good choice for piercing the gloam of the Alberta woods at last light. The binocular isn’t light, but when hunting from a stand that isn’t really a consideration.

Firstbear1_2 Back in camp we celebrated the first bear down. The father and daughter from Colorado took a gorgeous looking black bear. The father shot it with his 7mm Rem. Mag. and the bear folded up 5 yards from the place where he was hit. ¬
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—John Snow_