One of the many nice things about returning to a resort or lodge you have been to before is, it’s like going home. When you make a destination a tradition, the people are like family, the fishing hotspots are fresh in your mind, and you know the bear hunting is going to be second to none. That is truly a reality at Belle Chasse Outfitters. My bear hunting trip last spring (spring of 2018) was nothing short of spectacular. My guide, Bunny, had me on bears the whole trip. It was just a matter of choosing the right one, and when he showed up I put my Ravin crossbow bolt on the mark of that beautiful trophy bear.
The minute I left that spring of 2018, I immediately wanted to go back. Owners Hartley and Mark Smith were very gracious in inviting me back, and this time I returned for the fall black bear season with my Mathews bow in hand. When I arrived, my Guide, Bunny, met me at the lodge door to show me trail cam pictures of multiple bears coming into a site where he had a tree stand set up on one side of a hill, and a blind on the other in case of rain so we could still film. It was great to experience the same amazing high-paced action on this trip that we did the spring prior, as we had bears giving us an opportunity on every sit.
Passing early in the trip on a couple of smaller bears and borderline shooters, I was on an adrenaline high awaiting the one that caught my eye. During my last sit, I had a sow and cub come in taking advantage of the tasty offerings my guide had set for them. Whenever you have a sow with a cub in the area, it is typically pretty tense and uneasy. This time was no different: the sow was very nervous as she could sense other bears in the vicinity. It wasn’t long after they showed up and started browsing when she let out a loud bleat, alerting her cub, and off they went.
I knew there was another dominant bear not far away. Not minutes after the sow scurried off with her cub, I noticed a big bear coming in behind me, then walking down the trail right under my stand, smelling every shrub I had touched and huffing the whole way to the bait site. As soon as I saw that big bear, I knew it was the one I was looking for. Although it wouldn’t give me a shot right away, almost as if it knew I was there. It eventually turned broadside, presenting me a perfect shot behind the shoulder with my arrow. It fell not even 30 yards from where I put my Rage broadhead, capping off my return visit.
Belle Chasse Outfitters is one of the most amazing bear hunting destinations in Ontario, and owners Mark and Hartley’s ultimate goal is to be able to watch their client’s hopes and dreams come true. Belle Chasse has one of the largest black bear management areas in Northern Ontario. Mark and Hartley properly manage over 90 bear sites within that BMA, so you’re guaranteed to be the only hunter on your hunting site for that season and have multiple bear opportunities. Belle Chasse offers fully guided and semi-guided hunts to suit whatever your hunting needs may be. The guide does all the baiting, drops you off, and picks you up from your stand or blind. The most important goal at Belle Chasse Outfitters is giving their guests the best opportunity to have a bear hunt of a lifetime!
Putting trail cameras on bear sites is a must and one of the most useful tools in big game hunting. It allows you to take advantage of the prime hunting times and gives you the freedom to take advantage of the excellent fishing Belle Chasse has to offer.
And the fishing is awesome, whether you hire one of their skilled fishing guides or go out on your own to pursue a number of fish species on the many lakes within minutes of Belle Chasse’s doorstep, or the seven lakes accessible by boat from their dock. Walleye, lake trout, pike, and even splake are available for those looking to enjoy high-paced action. For walleyes, jig and minnow or plastics are a mainstay, but hair jigs or crank baits are always a great option. Chances are the pike will keep you busy on those same baits. If targeting pike, spoons and spinnerbaits are typically best; 3/4 - 1 oz spoons or jigs with 4- to 5-inch white paddle tails or tubes vertically jigged are great for lake trout; trolling bigger spoons is also a good option.
The lodge is so beautiful and such an original. It’s built around a transport truck that they pulled in and dropped down and used for the shower and kitchen portion of the structure. It has a living space as well as multiple individual showers. And they used much of the old lodge’s wood to keep that awesome rustic look when building the rest of the lodge. It’s a great place with a cool layout for dining and hanging out, telling stories with the other guests.
They also renovated the six individual cabins (that sleep between two to six people) one by one, bringing them all up to date, all with kitchenettes, refrigerators, and bathrooms for all the comforts of home. They definitely strive to keep you happy and very comfortable.