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Ontario Crossbow Adventures

• Credit: Ty Sjodin
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Ontario Crossbow Adventures

Experience epic bear hunting with a crossbow in Northern Ontario

These 3 Northern Ontario lodges offer amazing opportunities for big game hunting.



If big game hunting is your passion and bear hunting is something you like to hunt (or is on your bucket list), then Ontario is the place to go.

Ontario has a huge black bear population and is abundant across the whole province from Sunset Country to Superior Country and all through Algoma Country. I've hunted all these regions and have found success in both Spring and Fall. Many lodges, resorts, and outfitter operations offer bear hunting across Ontario, and they vary from fly-in to drive-to and fully guided to self hunts.

The crossbow is a weapon that has been around for a long time but became extremely popular in the last dozen or so years. It is possibly because they have become a more proficient weapon, being faster, more accurate, and easier to use. Also, both the U.S. and Canada have made them legal for the mass population, where it typically was a weapon only older folks or those with shoulder and other injuries could enjoy.

Here are a few fantastic Ontario Crossbow Adventures I have been on over the years. And in one case, it turned into a special hunt for myself and a very excited young lady.

Watson’s Kaby Lodge

If you're looking to plan a fly-in to a truly remote wilderness hunting destination, Watson's Kaby Lodge is a place you need to experience. It starts with a beautiful drive to White River, which is in the heart of the Algoma Region of Ontario. From there, it's a quick floatplane ride into the remotely located Kaby Lodge on the south end of Kabinakagami Lake.

Tom and Michel, owner and operators at Watson's Kaby Lodge, can accommodate up to 56 guests and have ten staff catering to your every need. Delicious home-cooked meals are served in the dining room at the beautiful main lodge overlooking breathtaking Kabinakagami Lake. Breakfast is served a la carte with a wide variety of delicious hot or cold meals to suit your appetite. Dinners at Kaby Lodge are nothing short of spectacular, with a different entree served each day of the week along with a full hot and cold salad bar and fresh homemade bread.

During this bear hunt, I was very excited to bring my niece, Kalie, on her first-ever Ontario Experience. There were a lot of "firsts" for her on this adventure. Her first time in Ontario, her first time on a floatplane, and best of all, her first-ever bear hunt. She would be behind the crossbow scope on this trip, and I was there as her mentor. It was just as much fun for me to see her enjoyment on this extraordinary adventure at Watson's Kaby Lodge! It's truly memorable to spend time with a family member and watch them experience all these "firsts."   

Before our first evening hunt, we made sure Kalie's shot with the Ravin crossbow was dead on and nothing had been bumped during our trip. Once we confirmed she was hitting the bullseye on the target, we headed off for the first sit.  

The journey started off with an excitement-filled evening with a smaller-sized bear coming to browse and giving Kalie a shot of natural adrenaline. It was beneficial to have that smaller bear come in where she could practice going through her progressions to help her prepare for when a shooter-sized animal did arrive.

Following day one, the weather turned to unseasonably warm temps along with heavy rain for a couple of days, which is not ideal for getting a big bear to move during daylight hours, but with the trail cam pictures showing bear in the area, we hunted through it, getting excited with every sound and breaking twig. Kalie was a trooper with her determination and excitement never wavering. With the trip coming to an end, we were very encouraged with the weather changing in our favour bringing cooling temps for our last day.

As we arrived at our stand and settled in for that last chance at a bear, I looked at Kalie and said, "I feel it, it's going to happen. A shooter is going to give you an opportunity this evening." The minutes then hours would go by, and with an hour left to go on that still and quiet day, I heard a huff back in the thick bush.

I looked at Kalie in disbelief and asked her if she heard it too. She confirmed and immediately got her crossbow on the shooting stick. As the bear came around the bait barrel, I knew it was a shooter and told Kalie to get ready and talked her through what was about to happen.

A minute seemed to last forever as the bear would slowly move in and huff multiple times to let any bear in the area know it was in charge.

Unfortunately, the big bruiser would quickly grab a sample and run back into the bush. Kalie was in disbelief that her chance might have slipped away, but I reassured her that the bear would be giving her another opportunity and stay ready.

Like the bear had read the script, it turned and came back in, almost identically to the first time. I told Kalie that it would do the same thing but would give her a little longer opportunity. This time as the bear reached for the bait, Kalie was ready on the trigger and squeezed, sending the crossbow bolt to the perfect place right behind the front shoulder. Her prized bear wouldn't go 30 yards to its final destination. Her smile and excitement were all I needed to see, and knowing that this was a trip of a lifetime for her was something I'll never forget!     

Taking my niece, Kalie, on this adventure was a highlight of my season and an experience she and I will remember for a lifetime. What better way to introduce youth into the incredible paradise: Ontario than a trip like we had at Watson's Kaby Lodge. Tom, Michel, and their staff do it right, from their friendly full service to the delicious cuisine and everything.

Suppose you want to experience unbelievable hunting for trophy bears, moose, or even a wolf hunt. In that case, Watson's Kaby Lodge provides these unforgettable experiences and more at their top-notch, full-service fly-in lodge, all in the unspoiled beauty of Northern Ontario.

Ritchie Falls Resort

The drive to Ritchie Falls Resort is breathtaking with a scenic 4-hour drive north of the U.S. and Canadian border crossing at Sault Ste. Marie, MI in the Algoma Region of Ontario. Because the resort is laid out in such an isolated setting, it's as close to a fly-in destination as I've experienced by the vehicle.

Matthew Owl and staff operate Ritchie Falls Resort as a fully accommodating resort offering hunting opportunities from bear, moose, wolf, and small game for the individual to the family.

On this trip, I would bring my crossbow to attempt to take a fall bear. When I arrived at the resort, the staff made me feel right at home in the main lodge, where they first greet you with a tasty home-cooked meal, followed by reviewing your itinerary for the week, meaning, showing you the active bear locations you will hunt. The sites we reviewed all had been getting hit by multiple big bears all week, but we did have a big natural obstacle to deal with during this hunt: BLUEBERRIES!

Berries are a natural food source for bears in Ontario, and they will pretty much leave all other food options if they can get their mouths on that sweet natural sugar. During this Fall trip, the Algoma region just happened to have the largest crop of blueberries Ontario had experienced in the last 25 years. In addition to that, the unseasonably warm Fall weather decided to show up. We knew we had our work cut out for us. What we had in our favour was a great population of big adult bears along with numerous bear sites and knowledgeable Ritchie Falls Resort staff. They run approximately 200 bait sites per year across 1,444 square kilometres with roughly 40 of those sites rotated each week, allowing for plenty of opportunities to connect on a trophy bear.

It seemed we were one step behind these smart bear which does prove that it is truly hunting no matter if you are baiting or not. Matthew pulled out all the stops, changing up his bait offerings, keeping an eye on all his bear sites through trail cameras and moving us to different site locations to give us the best opportunity to close the deal. Each evening he would sit down with each hunter in camp individually and game plan the next day's options. This paid off for a number of the hunters in camp during our stay as they connected on some amazing trophy black bear. However, for me, it was bear tag soup. It wasn't from a lack of bear or effort from myself and the Ritchie Falls Resort guides. As any hunter knows, it's called hunting for a reason. It's all about the chase, the experience and being a part of the outdoors. It's what drives us to get back out there and keep learning to make ourselves better at what we love to do! Will I go back to Ritchie Falls Resort? There is no question, as soon as possible!

If hunting big black bears is your passion, like it is mine, and you're looking for a trophy bear in a piece of heaven — Ritchie Falls Resort provides hunting packages with all while experiencing Northern Ontario's beauty that is sure to never be forgotten.

Belle Chasse Outfitters

Belle Chasse Outfitters is located close to the small town of Longlac, Ontario, which is a rural part of Northern Ontario's Superior Region off the most northern highway that passes through the province. A scenic five-hour drive from the Canadian border gets you to Belle Chasse's doorstep, a remote drive to a destination with secluded pristine beauty and endless adventures.

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The operators at Belle Chasse Outfitters strive to keep you happy with very comfortable accommodations, which include six cabins that sleep between two to six people each with kitchenettes and half baths. The super unique main lodge, with a cool layout, has a living space, kitchen and dining area as well as multiple showers in individual rooms.

Belle Chasse has one of the largest black bear management areas in Northern Ontario, with a massive 171 square miles allowing them to properly manage the bear population and harvest some of the largest bears in Ontario each year, with multiple trophy bear being taken well over 350 plus pounds every year. Belle Chasse offers both spring and fall bear hunts with over 90 bear sites, so you're guaranteed to be the only hunter on your hunting sites for that season. Belle Chasse Outfitters 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 hunt of a lifetime with lots of opportunities to tag a bear of a lifetime.

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My trip was nothing short of spectacular. My guide, Bunny, showed us trail cam pictures that he had of multiple bears coming in at all times of the day. During my trip, I had seven bears within eyesight and during my last sit, I actually had three bears coming and going at the same time, with the big ol' boy coming in and putting the run on the two smaller bears. Once that big bear came walking in, there was no question he was the dandy I was looking for. Putting my Raven Crossbow scope crosshairs right behind his front shoulder waiting for him to take his final step, ending in a clean shot and hearing him fall to his end just 10 yards from the bait barrel was something I will never forget. It definitely topped off my first ever unforgettable Ontario Spring Bear hunt.

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With all my bear hunts across Ontario, one thing has always been consistent. All these destinations offer some of the best multi-species opportunities for those looking to add some fishing to their adventure.


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