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Hunting in Bear Country

Rustic interior of Red Pine Lodge • Credit: Scott McGuigan
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Hunting in Bear Country

A black bear hunting trip at Red Pine Lodge

When I was growing up close to Canada's most southern point, bear hunting wasn't really on my radar, but this year I finally made the long drive north to bear country and, boy, was it ever worth it!

I began planning my trip a year in advance and sought out Garry Litt at Red Pine Lodge near Foleyet. Garry has been operating Red Pine Lodge since 1988 and has enjoyed a high success rate. With over 800,000 acres of land to access, not only did I have an excellent chance to harvest an Ontario black bear, there was the real possibility of taking a monster.

The hunt began on Sunday evening and was scheduled to last the week. On Tuesday evening the temperatures dipped and hopes were raised. At about 6:30 my senses kicked into gear. Something pulled my attention to my left. I sat motionless in the tree stand, waiting for something to appear. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I watched as a black bear walked right in front of my stand. Initially, I kept my cool, as it appeared that the bear was headed for the bait and an opportunity would present itself. Well, it didn't, and as I watched the bear creep back into the forest, my heart began to thump uncontrollably -- to the point that I was concerned the bear would hear the rhythmic pounding.

After a few minutes of uncertainty, I heard movement in front of me again. Having collected myself, I stealthily drew my compound bow, as an opportunity seemed imminent. The bear approached the bait, and as it raised a front leg to reach into the barrel, it presented a perfect shot. There was no doubt. I knew I'd harvested my first bear before the arrow left my bow.

Gary Litt and his elkhound with black bearGary Litt and his elkhound helped Scott McGuigan locate his first black bear, harvested out of North Eastern Ontario’s Red Pine Lodge. (Photo credit: Scott McGuigan)

With the help of Garry and his Norwegian elkhound, the bear was easily recovered. Back at camp, the bruin was skinned and quartered while I enjoyed breakfast the following morning. The hospitality at Red Pine Lodge couldn't have been better, and I was even able to enjoy some excellent fishing in the mornings prior to the hunt. I stayed in a private cottage, and although it was equipped with a full kitchen, I opted for the American plan which provided all meals.

By Thursday all the hunters in camp had filled their tags, and so it was with great satisfaction that we sat by a campfire under a starlit sky, enjoying the bounty we had driven hours to pursue.

Learn more and book your trip at: www.red-pine-lodge.com

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