I have written various bear articles and one important fact I want to focus on is:
How many hunters is too many?
A good outfitter will only take the amount of hunters that they can successfully bait for. Overselling hunts to fill a market need may be good for the pocketbook but it is bad for the overall population if too many bears are harvested at one time and in turn can be bad for the hunter if there are no bear to spot. If there are no bear spotted, the reputation of that outfitter can be short lived and the operation will be deemed a ‘fly by night’.
Knowing when enough is enough is crucial to the longevity and credibility of a successful outfitter. With 40+ years of bear management experience, we have proven year after year that balance can and should be practiced!
We run 55 baits a year and take no more than 20 hunters for a 1200 square mile bear management unit. The key term is bear MANAGEMENT. Our job is not to eradicate all bear but to regulate the population to ensure proper balance to the natural chain. Running a well organized hunt creates a win/win situation with hunters helping us control the population while hopefully harvesting a trophy for themselves 🙂
Taking the right amount of hunters that can dependably be baited for is a tedious balance but should be first and foremost in the outfitters list of priorities. We bait an average of 2 stands per hunter in the event a bait goes ‘cold’. Weather, surrounding food sources and/or outside interruptions can cause a bear to spook away for a few days or leave the area all together. In cases such as this, it is always important to have a back up plan in place.
So remember, 20 bruin harvested last year with an outfitter may sound impressive but pair that with 100 hunters over baits, that number quickly becomes feeble. When you contact outfitters, ensure you first ask for spot rate (which is a mandatory recording in Ontario), followed by hunters participating and finally bear harvested as this will give you an accurate overview of success.
Take this small tidbit and keep it in mind when you book your next bear hunting adventure!
Until next time….When the opportunity presents itself, GRIN AND BEAR IT!