In the late nineties the Natives which he traded with called him "Doc" Lavoie. As he started bringing them the "white Mans Medicine". So called cures for ailments. He worked for the Hudson's Bay company till 1905. Then started work for another memorable Manitoban, Richard Beliveau. Beliveau Junior High was named after Richard.... the Jr High school I attended.
My Great Grand Dad and Grand Father loved and lived in the outdoors. Isaie Lavoie "Doc", travelled by freight conoe. He lived and loved the outdoors. His love of the wilderness must be in the Lavoie blood!!!
He Isaie Lavoie, was a City Councillor St. Boniface ( Winnipeg) for 8 years. Was the president of the board of trade of Manitoba and the Northwest Commercial travellers Association.
His love for the outdoors was passed on to me!!! I grew up in St. Boniface, fished and hunting with our family in Northern Manitoba until 1974. That is when we moved to Vermilion Bay Ontario to run a Tourist Resort. My dad bought the camp off a gent from Ohio Kenny Null, Null's Pine Acres Camp.
1974 was the tail end of the "Oil Embargo". Canada was not impacted with the Embargo except it affected the American Travelling habits..
Our first ever bear hunters, randomly came off the highway, looking for cabins for their large group for 3 weeks. They were a "BIG" group of bear hunters from Knoxville, N.C. and Florida. Gene White... Rented the whole camp. Badly needed business!!!
Gene White, used just Plott Hounds for his running of the bears. He had a dog solely as a "Strike Dog". Would perch the hound, Clyde, on a mounted rack on his front bumper. Drive roads real slow till the dog struck up a scent of a bear. It was amazing how good this Plott Hound was at picking up a scent of a bear.
After Clyde sounded off on a scent, Gene would pull out another small Plott, Springer, to see how good the scent was. Springer would tell him how fresh the scent and whether was worth the chase. If Gene liked Springers reaction, a Chase was on!! Usually Gene would take the dogs that were in the truck ( dog box), and put them on the track at this point and put Springer back in the truck. Save his strike dogs for another fresh scent.
There was no such thing as a gps collar and radios were not the best!!!
Gene White took me under his wings and taught me all I wanted to learn about bears.... I was 12 years old.
So, back in the late sixties and early seventies, logging was going heavy all over this area. Creating huge clear cuts that was accessed by many miles of roads. Along with the clear cuts, came the huge fields of blueberries. BEAR FOOD!!! Early Seventies was over flowing with bears. Just as they are now in 2019.
Gene White, owner of White hollow Plotts, had a Bear Hunters Dream in front of him. The many roads created miles of clover growing on the aging , remote road shoulders, where Bears came out to eat Clover in the Spring. Leaving FRESH BEAR SCENT!!
1974 was also a year that Sammy McNabb of Erwin Tennessee showed up with his own group and pack of hounds....Blue Ticks, Walkers, Black and Tans etc. Sammy had a mixed bunch of hounds. Sammy heard we allowed hound hunting so here he came!!!
There was absolutely no one offering baited / hound... bear hunts mid 70's around here in NW Ontario. Had all to ourselves!!
Imagine a noisy pack of hounds in camp.... very noisy. We eventually kept the hounds out in the bush at an abandoned logging camp. Still had a barn for horses and a little wee cabin the loggers stayed in while working..... couldn't be handier!!!
Around 78', Sammy asked us to do some baiting before they arrived. So that they could have fresh runs right off the bat when they arrived. We did and it was the beginning of the end of Hound hunting at Pine Acres.
In the early 80's, Lands and Forest's only allowed 1 bear per season. The interest in baited bear hunts was tremendous.
With the closing of Maine's Spring bear hunt in 1982, Ontario had to do some quick, long term planning for the Ontario Bear population... good thing that they did.
1983 we saw the the introduction of the Black Bear Validation Certificate. Only Ontario Bear outfitters were allowed these. My dad, Rene, sat on the Black Bear Committee for the Northern Ontario Outfitters Association.
Anyone remember these names?? Norm Parent of Bear Crossing Guide service, Wayne of Foggy Mountain, Phill Copp's Black bear hunts. They all moved to Ontario in 1983 and 1984.
Wayne died recently, last couple of years and his best bear guide took over his business. Brandon Bishop. I actually met Brandon the year I met you at the Grand Rapids Show. Brandon had a booth at the show. Wayne had his camp on Mckay Lake, Long Lac. He left after they closed the Spring hunt in 1999. Now just in Maine.
Norm Parent was a guide out of New Hampshire back in the 70's and 80's. Tried to move to Ontario but got kicked out.
Phill Copp Sr died about 10 years ago. His son took over but haven't heard much anymore about them. He was in Dwight Ontario.
Just so happened that we had a bon fire in camp one Spring evenning, popped a lot of popcorn for all to enjoy. Had a lot left over so my dad said to try the left over popped corn for bait. I did...can't remember what I mixed it with, but the Bears loved it.
We took an old tire. wired a piece of plywood size of the hole ,on each side. One side had a hole cut into the plywood big enough for a paw. Other side just had scent holes drilled into it. Put a hole through the rubber and hung it from a tree about 3 feet off the ground. Stuffed with our mixed popcorn.
That is how popcorn was first invented for bear bait, 1979...by accident and now used for ever after by many an outfitter... I was actually popping popcorn when I started this thread. Have 750 lbs of kernels to pop for Mid July.
The most recent Bear shot from this site was from Courtney Collins, taken June 2019. A pope and Young contender for sure. Her dad is a official Pope And Young scorer and green scored it for us. Here is her bear... amazing how the Bears just seem to be getting bigger from this site!!!
Thank you for sharing!!
I am going from decade to decade. LOTS more to post.
Success in the early 80's actually made me look good but in reality, I still had much to learn. Such as, okay, I have a bait hit but where and how to place the hunter. I do not remember how many BOWHUNTERS we had then. Bowhunters at that time supplied their own treestands. Rifle hunters hunted from the ground or supplied own stand.
Hunters supplies own stands then, which created a problem at first. When showed the active bait site, they had to hang their stands. Created extra scent, noise etc. Bait would go dormant for a day or so.
Bowhunters were new to me in the early 80's.... what I know now in 2019, was learned first hand by the hunters we had in camp in the early years.
What I went through as growing pains in the early years, many outfitters in Ontario are going through right now. In 2019, we have a high Bear population in our favour, like I did in the early 80's, making getting bears easy. Many have no idea right now how to prepare for a Bowhunter.
In 1984 there was 1846 bears harvested in just the Northwest Region of Ontario. Lands and Forests had no idea of whether this was too high or not high enough. I have more data for the later years I'll post later.
We hired Gene White...the man who taught me so much about bears. We had a lawyer do the paper work for his work permit. He brought his 2 best bear dogs with him, Springer and Clyde. He thought they would be good for tracking of the wounded bears. They were!!!
You don't know how hard it was to get a Bear hound hunter to switch to baiting bears. But he worked hard to get results.
One memeory was of an older, repeat hunter who hit his bear but it ran off. Gene and I went out the next morning with Clyde to get on the wounded bears blood trail. The bait had been hit since the hunter wounded his bear so Gene told me to keep Clyde on the leash. I did and was a big mistake.
Found the trail and Clyde did his job. When he crawled under a dead fall I had to follow. No matter how low I had to go. Just as we got close to the bear, Clyde again went under a log, with me following. Just as I was getting back on my feet, Clyde saw the bear and jumped at it. I was slammed to the ground, losing my breath. I had the leash wrapped around my wrist so he started to drag me as he chased after the hit bear. Finally pulled Clyde back to me, wasn't easy and unhooked him. Chased began and only went for about 30 yards.
Gene ran up to me and we ran into the commotion of the bear / dog fight. Was extremely thick. The bear was dispatched quickly.... Was VERY EXCITING for a young Bear Guide!!!
Problem with using hounds to track hit bears is most times the Bear dog wants to chase the many live bears in the vicinity of the bait.
Older hunter, who just tagged his bear, said was the most EXCITING hunt of his life!!! Gene worked for us till end of 83' spring season.
Another great memory is of a hunter I met in 1983 from Wisconsin. They camped in one of our sites. LOL, snowed almost everyday he was here hunting. Was cold too!!! Brian Phelps AKA Screwball still comes up to either hunt and fish. Was also my best man at my wedding in 1989.
Reminds me of watching the old VHS bear hunting videos that Bob McQuire (sp???) made. Good ol’ day’s!
I just love this thread Chris. Keep it going! So much good history here!
Thanks again for starting this thread Chris. For many of us it brings us back to our early days in Ontario. Such good times!
!985 I built a walk in cooler and freezer. Meat cutting area, band saws and all. Cooler ran for us from 1985 till 2017. Got our moneys worth out of it. Hope the new one last as long.
!987 was one of the best Spring Bear hunts we had in the 80's. Was an early Spring so things got greened early, like around May 5th.
After the 87' Spring hunt there was rumors of "BIG" change's about to happen for 1989. BEAR MANAGEMENT AREAS!!!
Had a Bear hunting buddy that started hunting at our camp in 85. Dale from Indiana. Came up for a few weeks in 1987. Had a time of his life. Great young hunter enjoyed life to the fullest.
Just before he went back to College, August 87', he went to a party at a lake shore cabin on Lake Wawassee Indiana. Dove off the end of dock. Apparently in shallow water. Broke his neck and has been on a ventilator from August 1987 to Early June 2019. Had a will to live for 32 years. Rest in Peace Dale!!!
I wanted 8 Bear Management Areas. So I had to work out the boundaries with 8 or more other outfitters. This was going on all over Ontario. I got what I wanted. Just had to do finishing touches with the borders.
I received 8 BMA's in 1989 and 1 more later in years. I was more than happy!!
1989, Ontario's Bear hunting changed for the good.
Bear hunting Data for 1989 shows that the number of Non Resident bear hunters in just one WMU, went from 800 bear hunters in 87' to 220 bear hunters. The resident hunt stayed the same at about 30. The data shows there was no change in this one particular WMU till 2013. 2013 was when the data ended.
One major factor in the lack of hunters was there was the beginning of a recession and Gulf War. Also many hunters had to readjust their bear hunting activities according to their new boundaries. Along with the cancellation of the Spring hunt.
Ontario's healthy Bear population was again on the rise.
Most outfitters drastically cut down on their numbers of hunters, after the cancellation of the Spring hunt, as they were not wanting to put up with the summer heat during baiting season (August). Or they didn't want to combine hunters with their fishermen. Or just didn't want to do the Fall hunt period. BIGGGG MISTAKE on their part!! I'll explain later.
OMNRF suggests no more than 40% females to be taken. Only 20% of which should be adult females.
Pine Acres hunts bears out of 4 different WMU's. WMU #8 is one of the areas we hunt out of.
Ask questions on the data on the graph if you like!!
Many Outfitters were in Chicago attending a show when the Northern Ontario Tourist Outfitters Association's Executive director announced the closing on January 15th. Many outfitters left the show 3 days early after the announcement.
The Executive Director of NOTO apparently was told by the minister of the decision well in advance, but decided to not tell the members of NOTO. The Executive director of NOTO a year or so later started working in the Ministry of Tourism and just recently retired from his cushy Government appointed job....traitor!!
There was also another, high profile Bear / Canoe Outffiter ( Eco Tourism Outfitter), that the Shad Foundation ( Robert Shad) sent his employees to for paid ECO vacations. He infiltrated this outfitter's business. This same outfitter phoned me and asked me and many other bear outfitters to "stop" the fight for the reinstatement of the hunt. I said NO!! We all said no...
I didn't find out about the cancelling of the Spring hunt until I heard it on the local news...
I won't dwell on the closing of the Spring hunt....
I took the compensation and put new windows in 2 cabins, painted and started to build a fence all the way around the camp.
I booked hunters for the early Fall bear season (August 15 start) expecting an announcement as early as possible. LOL... they didn't officially announce the early start till August 1rst. 2 weeks before the hunt. At this point I was ready for anything!!!
I had always had a Fall hunt right from the early years so I felt confident on success. Most other outfitters quit bear hunting . Many got mad at me for continuing with a fall hunt as they wanted to do a boycott with the hunt....But I had a HUGE mortgage. I had to pay FULL price for the camp.
Well, lol, July 1999, we get a letter from Revenue Canada saying they wanted to do an audit. They said they noticed a big drop in declared income and wanted to investigate. Made a date and she did her thing.
At the end of the audit, she couldn't find any unpaid taxes. But wanted to tax Goods and Services tax on the compensation fund we received. I expected to pay income tax on the fund but this was ridiculous. After a week or so we received a letter stating we did not have to pay the GST on the fund.
As a side note....Back when we first moved to Vermilion Bay, 70's, I had a paper route that took me walking around town delivering the Winnipeg Free Press. I delivered daily to the Local Game Wardens house. One day I noticed about 12 skinned out animals. He had just the carcasses in his truck. Asked him what they were and he explained. There was a bounty on Wolves at that time. Trappers were paid to trap them and the Lands and forests paid the trappers per wolf carcass. Trappers kept the hides of course. The Lands And Forests closed the deer season in 1978 till 88' when they finally rebounded.
The, low moose population coinsiding with high bear populations, indicates to me and most hunters of Ontario, that the population of bears and lack of moose means Bears are to blame. I don't have to be a biologist to figure this out!!! Decline of Moose started about 7 years after the closing of the Spring season in 1999
OMNRF called this hunt a "Spring Hunt Pilot Program". It was a 5 year Spring Hunt. Ending June 15th 2020. The OMNRF was going to also conduct their own Bear Bait line. They would use a can of sardines hung about 7 feet off the ground. This can of sardines will be surrounded by barbed wire. Barbed wire was to snag hair off the bear as he reaches for the can of Sardines. They would check the each bait once a week. This survey will be how they attempt to get an estimated bear population. The OMNRF bait survey was run from approximately May 20th to 1rst week of July.
The hair collected off the barbed wire was sent in to a lab and DNA would be extracted. Then, if an outfitter, was also hunting the same area of their bait survey, the outfitter would be asked to send in the teeth from each bear harvested in the area of their study. They then extracted DNA from the teeth collected and compared the DNA with the DNA collected from the hair from the barbed wire.
The 5 year program and the information they get from outfitter forms 33 along with the OMNRF baear baits will give them ammunition against the Anti's.
The OMNRF had no such data on bears in 1998 and the Bear Alliance used that lack of data against the Ontario Spring hunt. Now, we will have such data in our fight to keep the Spring hunt.
Also, the reason for the closing of the Ontario Spring hunt was because of the possibility of taking a lactating sow. The 5 year program will prove the shooting of lactating sows just does not happen. So if all works out....there will be a Spring hunt for ever.
I will not post the score of a bear before the actual drying period, 60 days. Jumping the gun. We had a couple of Pope and young Scorers in camp this Spring. I like what they said about what they were seeing in camp.
***Young Bowhunters or young Gun hunters are my advertiser. They are going to remember their first bear harvests here at Pine Acres for years to come. All hunters work hard to come up with their hard earned dollars to pay for their hunts. I "try" to treat all my hunters as if they were number one!!
Screwball, your most likely right!! Is your brother on his way up??
Map1, I didn't say I don't cater to high profile hunters. I said I don't give them free hunts in place of advertising...
Hope everything works out for the owners. Fire fighters set up a sprinkler line all around the camp. Awesome job they did.
The ministry guys had an emergency sprinkler system rigged up at our camp for part of the week, but flew in and took it down towards the end of our trip.
Our first Wolf only hunts began in early nineties. A few states did not allow Wolves to be imported into them. Now, all states allow the importation. A wolf requires an export permit and a CITIES permit. I obtain all permits needed to get the wolves back into the US. I will hand you all relevant permits to you before you leave.
We have a few Wolf hunts available for Sept 15th 2020.
For anyone wanting to know more on our hunts for 2021 you can call 1-807-221-9793 or 1-800-757-2241 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
I will post my Fall pics on the bear success thread . Have a great summer all!! Chris Lavoie
About 25 minutes after getting to the cleared area, I noticed a bear standing there looking at me. I grabbed the bucket and a stick and banged the empty bucket on the bottom with the stick to spook the bear. It worked....so I thought.
Went back to planting and again noticed the same bear watching me, but a lot closer than the first encounter. I stood up, made lots of noise and again banged the bottom of the bucket. This time he just stared at me with no fear of me. I knew when the bear came back that he was possibly a rogue Bear. Was about 150 pounds and had a white patch in the shape of a V.
I stood up on a stump and opened my arms to try to look big. Didn't work as he then stood on his hind feet and made itself look big. It worked!!!
I looked behind me and there was one of the spindly Black Spruce behind me. I backed up to it slowly and as I backed up he came slowly towards me. I reached the tree and he was only 15 feet from me. Mouth open and looked curious. I had runners on and started to climb the tree. The branches were only as thick as my fingers, I broke them off as I climbed the tree. I climbed to about 20 feet up.
The bear sat under the tree with his fore paws on the tree, half in a sitting position. Could tell he wanted to climb but I think the tree was too small for him. After deciding not to come up after me he tried to shake me out. Imagine a tall spindly tree with 175 pounds at the top. Top was bowing over a bit. But I was safe up in the tree. I was swaying as he tried to dislodge me out. I held on for dear life.
I had a can of off in my back pocket and decided to spray the whole contents into his face. All it did was make him mad. He tried to climb up...couldn't. Slapped the tree and ground. I was kinda spooked at this time. He then gave up and went to feeding on fiddle heads underneath me. Felt like I was in the tree for a couple of hours. Getting close to dark and I had to pick up the hunter.
The bear started to walk away finally. I thought to speed up his exit and started hollering at him. Bad decision as he ran back to the tree. Really just walked around under me, not trying to get me anymore. He again, about five minutes, he started walking away again.
He walked about 40 feet from the base of the tree slowly. I knew I had to get out and only had one chance to escape. I knew the branches all broke off as I climbed up. I slipped down the tree till about 12 feet from the ground and jumped. When I hit the ground I looked at him at about 50 feet. He twisted around saw me and I grabbed the empty bucket and stick and ran as I banged the bucket. Never once did I look back till I got back to the truck a kilometre away from the tree. I made it.
I was about 40 minutes late to pick up the hunter. He had a bear so he was not annoyed that I was late.
This has been the only time that I sensed trouble in 45 years. It was a good thing my senses kicked in or I am sure I would have been eaten!!!
*** 10 ml is 1 cm....2.5 cm to 1 inch.
Spent the last few days checking out the roads we use for bear....all have washouts but are being repaired in the next week or so. Quibell outpost and Mutrie Outpost are both inaccessible right now. Luckily not being used this Fall. Will be fixed by Deer season though.
Glad it happened now and not any closer to opener.