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Finding a Sportsman's Utopia

In And Around Golden Eagle Camp • Credit: Dale Hainer

I would like to fish every day. I would love to hunt every day! I dream of fishing every morning and hunting every afternoon! I woke up and found it at Golden Eagle Camp & Outfitting in Northeastern Ontario.

Searching out my dream week was made easy via the web by visiting GoHuntInOntario.com. On the website, I quickly came across Golden Eagle Camp located between the towns of Matachewan and Elk Lake. Both communities offered fine services for stocking the food shelf before hitting Camp.

Speaking with host, Jennifer Wilkins on the phone I was blunt and to the point. “Can I catch fish? Lots of fish? Walleye? Bass? Pike? Every Day? Enough for Supper every night? And bear? Can I shoot a bear? In the evening can I hunt for bear? Seriously, i will see a bear and shoot it too?” Jennifer’s answers came back as quickly as i was asking them “Yes. Of course. Sure. You Bet.....” and eventually she rolled into answering something like “Ya-Sure-Definitely-Positive-Yessum-Yessum......”

Meeting hosts Jennifer and Bruce Wilkins, I had to re-confirm the dream-purpose intentions of my visit. It took me about 5 minutes to realize that Bruce was a persona-mirror image of myself, in his intensity, humour and snappy wit. Poor Jennifer.

The late august sun came up bright and clear on the the lake, actually a wide section of Sydney Creek that flows into the Montreal River a short distance out.

I took a walk about, checking out the grounds and facilities. How about all these other folks, the ones with portable kennels and dogs and the ones with tents and trailers and little kids? What are they doing here? What about that cottage with the Ranger Bass Boat parked in front? Are they all hunting bear too? “Its a year-round season family camp”, explained Jennifer. “There is always someone here, coming for the fishing, the hunting, the beach and water-slide, the swimming and water trampoline, or in the winter for ice fishing and snowmobiling, or just to camp outside yet still have clean drinking water and laundry services available, or like right now all of the above.” I was secretly sceptical on how well this cauldron of  cultures would mix once we started bringing dead bears into the morgue.

Hunting experience at Golden Eagle Camp

My incredulous instinct was soon laid to rest by the second evening when hunters, hosts and guides gathered at the Bear Shed and began reporting their days kills. Large jet-black furred bears were brought to the shed to be skinned, and prepped for table fare but not before pictures and stories were shared. To my delight, most of the non-hunting guests were present as well. Cameras in hand and some with babies cradled in their arms, they joined in with the excitement, the pride, the camaraderie, and fellowship of the hunters to hear the tales and see the beasts that often lurk outside the eyes of so many.

This was truly a unique situation. This was a very inspirational hunt camp for me, and for my son in law Troy McAdams, whose 241 pound boar bear hung proudly for a moments display as he answered the questions of the non hunting onlookers and guided the children and teens who inquisitively wanted to feel the bears fur and see the claws and teeth.

Troy had to hang up his shooting iron after filling his bear tag and it was time to introduce him to the fishing boat supplied by Golden Eagle Camp. Wilkens encourage the bear hunters to stay for the duration of the week, even after getting their bear and to take in some of the great fishing opportunities.

We were introduced to our boat, a 16 foot stylish aluminium, 25 hp Yamaha motor, electric bow mounted trolling motor, fresh water live well,  padded swivel boat seats and an electronic depth sounder.

While I continued with the bear hunt, Troy went to discover the Montreal River. The river bottom was riddled with historic logging debris creating perfect fish habitat. This section of the Montreal River offers enough bends and islands to comfortably shelter a boat fisherman even on a windy day. Before I left camp for a  evening sit down near a bear bait station, Troy had already returned with a limit of walleye and was in the fish cleaning station making them ready.

Fishing on the Montreal River with Golden Eagle Camp

Near weeks end, it was hard to keep up with all the outdoors action and tales. Hunters were seeing bears daily and hanging some in the shed. Others, like Troy were pointing the successful hunters toward the finer fishing spots on the Montreal River. Yet others were heading back into the bush not with gun in hand but with cameras to capture memories of wildlife including the majestic northern Timber wolf.

My bear, a big old sow with worn down teeth, had crept into view long enough for me to make her some prized food for family and friends. Bruce and Byron carefully skinned this one out for me as my intentions were to get a bear hide throw made... something that the grand-kids and ladies back home could appreciate. 

By weeks end, most bear hunters had taken their game, filled their bellies with fish, and were relaxing by spending the day preparing the kills for transport home and packing up their gear or like Troy and I, just hanging out in the boat and playing with the local fish populations. 11 bear hunters, seen 26 bear over the past week and killed 7 and all in camp were satisfied as success is measured on a variety of levels.

With daytime temperatures allowing a comfortable level for water activities, the picnic area was everyone’s popular gathering place during the day as some tossed horse-shoes competitively across the pits while others, kids and adults, enjoyed the long water slide to the lake. There is nothing better than a floating trampoline with hydra-catapult to entertain participants and viewers alike!

I give Bruce and Jennifer all the credit in the world for successfully bringing together such a celebrated time and event, for hunters and for those who seek to see what it is we hunters do. Golden Eagle Camp and Outfitting is a pearl in the heart of Northeastern Ontario.

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