Four of us that hunted bear together in MB stayed in touch over the last two years. We wanted to share another hunt together. Stan is from IL, and for the fourth year in a row we hunted bear in MB together, the last two he came to KS first and we drove up together.
We met Brian and his daughter McKena, from NE, outside Council Bluffs and drove up to Grand Forks, ND where we stayed for the night, and proceeded to Sleeve Lake the next morning.
Their clients stay at the Harvest Inn, owned and operated by a husband wife team, Peter and Candace. Their 11 year old son Patrick helps out when needed. This entire group made everyone feel at home! They are just great, down to Earth folks who are transparent about everything.
The accommodations were first class, and the food served by Candace is second to none. I think her goal is to make such great tasting and appealing food that you naturally gain weight because it is impossible to say no to seconds.
Plan B sounded good, and based on Evan's transparency, it took us all of two minutes to decide we wanted to go. We were convinced any adjustments he made would work. We were right!
Brian informed Evan that he would not hunt until his daughter tagged out, and so asked if they could start early. Evan agreed immediately and then called the rest of us to let us know we could also start a day early. No favoritism to anyone! He told us to get up there by noon on Sunday, that they would feed us, we could check our bows at their range, and then they would take us out.
Evan called us on our drive up Saturday to check on progress, and then again Sunday morning to make sure we got through the border OK.
His timing was perfect, he had me program a different route into our GPS that eliminated 30 minutes of travel time!
Upon arrival, we had a real good sense that our ever increasing belief that we picked the right outfitter was completely justified. The group could not have been more warm and inviting. We knew immediately who they thought was important, and that they were prepared to work their tails off to accommodate our goals.
I was day dreaming when I heard a snort or wuff right below my stand. I look down through the mesh floor of my 16' double stand they use for most sites, and a nice beer is standing on his hind legs with his front paws on the ladder of my stand. He shakes it, but decides I am not a threat and proceeds to the bait site which is three different barrels (2 large and 1 smaller one) consisting of a variety of goodies including meat scraps, sweets, oats, fryer oil, popcorn etc.
When he first arrived I waited until he was distracted with the food and texted Evan to say thanks, that the hunt was already a success to me. I came to see bears and have an opportunity, I did and left my bow on my lap. I cannot describe the emotions pouring through me, there was a flood of them. It was easy to stay calm, though the bear knew I was there the wind was in my face, advantage Hunter. He once tried to climb the tree next to me.
Within 2-3 seconds of the bear leaving the third time, another bear comes in fast directly upwind of me and goes right to the barrel. He is as tall as the barrel. He is 10 yards, a steep angle. Without hesitation I draw as he immediately turned perfectly broadside, as if letting me know his time had come.
Once in the sweet spot, and holding just a tad low due to the angle, I released a GT 340 topped with a Thunderhead 100 out of my Hoyt Defiant set at 67 lbs.
The bear grunted and took off on a hard run. He made it maybe 50 yards before crashing and rolling loudly. It was silent for a few seconds before several death moans sounded out, and then total silence.
I texted Evan and let him know. Retrieving the bear was tough as that 50 yards was in some nasty thick stuff, but with a blood trail that was very easy to follow.
I was excited because of all the action, and did not realize that even though my bear was as tall as the barrel, he was standing next to the small barrel.
I am very happy with him, actually her. Relieved to have a humane kill, and safe hunt.
That is another practice I want to compliment this outfit on. They had cameras at each site. They knew bears were using a site before they even considered placing a hunter there, which is how it should be. They showed us the pictures, and had the bears pretty well patterned. This gave hunters a lot of confidence.
I am booked for next Spring, and probably going back with Brian and McKenna. Stan, after reading they do a combo bear/waterfowl hunt in the Fall and since he normally goes there each Fall to hunt ducks, is more likely to book that for next year. I will do the same after retiring from the college and having more flexibility during the Fall.
I have been to Canada probably close to 20 times between fishing and hunting trips. This was my most enjoyable ever! Sleeve Lake I hold in the highest regards. Thank you Evan, Dave and Cyril! Best wishes to all of you, it was a pleasure being your guest! God bless.
Robin did not tell me that Sandy went into hospice the Wednesday before we left, and that she passed peacefully on Sunday, within a short time of me taking my bear. Robin let us know when we arrived home. She did not want it to cause us to change plans. What a wonderful wife and person you are Robbie! Love you dearly, and one day we will all be reunited in God's glory!
And Thank you for all the kind words, we are already looking forward to next springs bear hunt with you fellas.
Never had this happen before, but crossing back into the U.S., there were no other vehicles, cars or trucks. We pulled right up to the agent without stopping! Doubt that will ever happen again.
Another note, I drive a Tundra which are notorious for poor gas mileage. And that is true!
If you fill up in Pembina, you can make it to SL and all the way back to the border without buying expensive Canadian gas. If you have a more fuel efficient vehicle you can probably make it from Grand Forks and back to the border. Fuel was less expensive in GF than Pembina.