Sitka Mountain Gear
Sleeve Lake 1
Bears
Contributors to this thread:
Alexis Desjardins 02-Jun-18
Boreal 02-Jun-18
Fuzz 02-Jun-18
Fuzz 02-Jun-18
standswittaknife 02-Jun-18
Zebrakiller 02-Jun-18
Ibow 02-Jun-18
Hammer 03-Jun-18
Bowhntn 03-Jun-18
mitchelk 03-Jun-18
LesWelch 05-Jun-18
T Mac 05-Jun-18
t-roy 06-Jun-18
02-Jun-18

Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Brian and McKena at SL shortly after our arrival.
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Brian and McKena at SL shortly after our arrival.
Wanted to share our experience this year at Sleeve Lake.

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.

02-Jun-18

Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Big eating area to the left, two big bedrooms each with it's own jacuzzi tub/shower.
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Big eating area to the left, two big bedrooms each with it's own jacuzzi tub/shower.
Brian convinced myself and Stan to try SL, and glad he did! SL is owned by a son/father team, Evan and his dad Dave. They employ one other guide, Cyril, who has been friends with Dave since childhood.

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.

02-Jun-18
Great cell/wifi access. Satellite TV, but did not get watched much except for the end of the hockey and basketball playoffs.

02-Jun-18
The nicest surprise about SL is how much Evan stayed in touch with us throughout the year since we sent our deposits in. He would send pictures, and words of encouragement. He questioned us to find out what our goals were. I think everyone but me wanted something special, either big or a color phase or both. I was looking to see multiple bears and to take one home. I told Evan I was not looking for a giant. I wanted something I could hang on the wall of my man cave, and would want to share the story with people when they came over. I was looking for an overall positive experience.

02-Jun-18
Evan called us the week before we went up because there were several fires in parts of his hunting area that threatened to grow quickly because of the dryness they were experiencing. He offered us a full refund, or to apply our money to a hunt next year if we did not feel comfortable coming up. He said he had plan B in place for situations like this. He would be forced to change plans somewhat as there was a ban in place for vehicles in the woods between 12-5PM each day. This meant we would have to access sites by walking, though he could use the ATVs at night to pick us up. He was a little disappointed as he had a couple huge bears using bait sites a good distance into the woods that would probably not be used until the ban on vehicles was lifted. This occurred mid week after Stan and I left.

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!

02-Jun-18
SL had three hunters total before our group of four. He has two hunters there after we left. He has 30 bait sites spread over a huge area. The sites are not pressured, the bears felt comfortable coming in during daylight. I commented on this to Evan. He splits his tags 50/50 between Spring and Fall hunts to keep it that way. We liked the way he thinks!

02-Jun-18
Another favor Evan extended is allowing all of us to start our hunts one day early, on Sunday. Typically hunters arrive Sunday afternoon, and hunt the following Monday through Friday.

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.

02-Jun-18

Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
On stand for less than 50 minutes after Cyril dropped me off before my first beer came in! I was shocked!

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.

02-Jun-18

Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
I am having problems loading the video. But this bear came in three times. Climbed on top of the barrel to get to a hanging beaver, scratched his back etc. I was in heaven.

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.

02-Jun-18
Awesome thanks for sharing.

02-Jun-18

Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
He left each time with a meat scrap. Evan told me there was a very big bear in there, and to shoot if it was as tall as the barrel, the big barrel.

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.

02-Jun-18

Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Picture after dragging her to the bait area and back on stand awaiting help.
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Picture after dragging her to the bait area and back on stand awaiting help.
I realized immediately that this was not the big bear. I replayed what happened after I drug him out so we could get to him with the ATV.

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.

02-Jun-18

Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Looks like a big one here.
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Looks like a big one here.

02-Jun-18

Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo

From: Boreal
02-Jun-18
Congrats on a nice bear Frank! I'm glad that it worked out for you.

02-Jun-18

Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Here is my guide, Cyril, coming in to help me retrieve my bear. He brought the cart expecting to haul out the giant they knew was in there, at least in the pre-rut.

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.

02-Jun-18

Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
McKena's
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
McKena's
All four of us tagged out! Three of us, myself, Stan, and McKena the first evening. Both of them taking nice bears, with McKena's green scoring 18.5".

02-Jun-18

Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Stan's
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Stan's

02-Jun-18

Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Green scores 20"
Habitat for Wildlife's embedded Photo
Green scores 20"
Brian's absolute monster. Shot Thursday evening, his first bear ever, after having passed multiple bear every evening. We all saw multiple bear.

02-Jun-18
What a great time! Lots of action, beautiful country and wonderful hosts who displayed a lot of confidence that they could accomplish their clients' goals, yet such humility they were fun to be around!

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.

02-Jun-18
One sad note...if some of you remember our hunt last year, Robin's kid sister had been recently diagnosed with terminal cancer. She fought a brave battle with class and dignity remaining positive to the end.

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!

From: Fuzz
02-Jun-18
Sounds like a great time and a high quality outfitter! Thank you for sharing! How far of a drive was it from Grand Forks? Any issues at thw border? Also, Sorry about your family's loss.

02-Jun-18
Thank you. About 2 hours from the border to outfitter, one hour from Grand Forks to the border. Easiest time ever getting through, maybe because this has been 4 years in a row?

From: Fuzz
02-Jun-18
Heck that's not bad at all! Gotta do a bear hunt one of these days...

02-Jun-18
Very sorry to hear about your sister in law Frank, best wishes to you and your wife from the whole SLO crew.

And Thank you for all the kind words, we are already looking forward to next springs bear hunt with you fellas.

02-Jun-18
Great write up and sounds like a very good respectable outfitter. Congrats

From: Zebrakiller
02-Jun-18
Nice write up! Congrats

From: Ibow
02-Jun-18
Great write up Habitat - really enjoyed reading the story and am happy to hear about your success!

From: Hammer
03-Jun-18
Looks like you had a great time . Congrats on some beautiful bears !

03-Jun-18
Thanks guys, it was a great time.

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.

From: Bowhntn
03-Jun-18

Bowhntn's embedded Photo
Bowhntn's embedded Photo
Absolutely the best hunt my daughter and myself have been on! I have been in a lot of camps through North America and this is the best operation yet! We will be back next year! Thanks Evan, David and Siri ??

From: mitchelk
03-Jun-18
Glad you found a good outfitter, after the experience you had at bear track you deserve a good bear hunt.

From: LesWelch
05-Jun-18
Wow! Awesome! The way a guided hunt should be. Congrats all around.

From: T Mac
05-Jun-18
Very nice congrats!

05-Jun-18
Thanks guys! Brian and McKena's picture is the best and says it all. What pure happiness there! Great duo to hunt with.

From: t-roy
06-Jun-18
Congrats on a great hunt for all of you!

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