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Black Bear Canoe Hunt
So bear with me (no pun intended) if this subject has been visited already. I didn't wade through all the previous posts and new threads too much to see what was/wasn't there. I'm looking to do a canoe-archery hunt at a reservoir here in Northwest Montana for Black Bear and am wondering what everyone would suggest for a gear list. My desire is to set a base-camp and canoe out towards the middle of the reservoir every day, glassing shorelines for bruins and then moving in from there to stalk to within a decent shooting range. That's if the planets align in my favor and I brought my lucky rabbit's foot... you know, in a perfect world. Anyways, what gear and/or preparations would you suggest making to accomplish such a hunt. Keep in mind that I'm not new to either bow hunting or pursuing bruins so if everyone reading this, as seasoned hunters, were to do the hunt, how would you prepare and what would you bring? Thanks in advance for your input and advice. I look forward to it all.
This may sound obvious, but if your canoeing in the dark, make sure you have some kind of light source on shore to get back to in the dark, and a light source on the canoe for other boats to see you. Maybe you don't run the lights on the canoe all the time, just if you hear the need or see the need. Years ago I ran over a paddle boat on the lake coming in from fishing, I was going about 10mph, but never seen it till the last second, i didn't know if I killed someone or not, I came in called the sheriff, they did a search, ended up it was from a bible camp across the lake, they took a head count everyone was there, they just didn't tie the boat up that night.
I think I would paddle to the shore to a glassing point depending on wind direction for the stalk. Bobbing around and glassing seems counter productive. Yes you can see EVERYTHING but you want to be steady when glassing #1 and #2, the wind must be a consideration for your stalk.
I'd definitely take my GPS!
Back in the days when I'd never heard of such a device, I hatched a splendid plan to ambush some whitetails that were consistently using a trail that crossed a shallow creek feeding a 20-acre lake where I had permission to hunt.
I needed either an east wind or a completely windless morning to position myself in the canoe for the ambush.
Waited patiently for the right conditions and about a week later they arrived. I launched in the predawn darkness with plenty of time to do a slow paddle to the shallow end of the lake and get into position. Couldn't see the front seat of the canoe because of the dense fog. Figured wrongly that my sense of direction would be enough to get me to the hundred yards or so to the shallow end and the fog would lift enough for the final bit of navigation in time. Wrong on both counts!
Finally just paddled as well as I could in a straight line without any particular target, and must have circled for at least half an hour before I bumped into the bank and could start paddling very slowly with it in sight (maximum about six feet away) until I found the cattails that only grew near the little creek that I sought and could slide up to "the spot" and lock the canoe into position with my paddles. Positioned myself for the shot, and watched the fog take on lighter grays, and listened to the deer crossing the gravelly bottom of the creek, crunching the acorns as they approached, and then splashing lightly as they crossed the feeder creek at the exact ambush spot....which still lay about six feet beyond the bow of the canoe, that was itself about six feet further than I could see even with sun completely risen and warming things up.
It was nearing mid-morning when the fog finally lifted that day, and a (slightly) smarter hunter slowly paddled back to his launch spot, already dreaming up his next great idea.
A compass would have been very helpful, a GPS even more so.
Sure sounds like fun, though. Good luck.