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An illustrated Guide to the Best Game Meat Cuts

There are plenty of hunters out in the field bringing home dinner and we figured we would share some great guides on the best cuts and how to get them from your harvest! ¬†Click on each picture to enlarge for greater detail ūüôā

This diagram is the basic overview of the quarters and can be applied to deer, moose, elk and caribou.

illustrated deer

This second diagram is a more in depth cut selection and is coded for the sections as well.  Again, this can be applied to deer, moose, elk and caribou.

deerchart

Ensure before you properly care for your game in all stages of meat preparation to give not only longevity to the meat, but reduce the risk of cross contamination of any bacteria that could not only spoil the meat but could also make you very sick.

Happy Hunting!

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Posted by on July 5, 2016 in game, recipe, Wawang Lake Resort

 

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How to Size a Black Bear

……… WHEN SIZING UP A BEAR

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A big bear swaggers and walks with attitude. He doesn’t jump at every sound like a small bear will.  A big bear doesn’t have to; he believes he’s got nothing to fear. Once you’ve spotted your bear on the bait site, it’s time to get serious about analyzing how that bear is behaving.

It is important to note that long before you judge the size of the bear, you must judge the sex of that bear and here are some things to take into consideration:

A big, old sow will have all, or more correctly, almost all of the physical characteristics of a big, old boar. She’ll have the nasty looking face that’s seen one too many years in the ring, the potbelly and the sway back.

Watch to see if the bear stands on his hind legs and rubs his back on a tree, that’s a boar.  If it walks along and straddles small trees, wiping its scent on that tree, it’s a boar.  If it stands up and breaks saplings over its shoulder, it’s a boar.  If it encounters another bear and gives chase, it’s a boar and if it is following a smaller bear, it’s a boar.

SCALE:  There is one last general appearance tip to judging black bear that makes the top three in importance, and that is scale.   A big bear looks big . . . but so does a closer, smaller bear.   Here’s a help tip on how to gauge more accurately.  If the bear is 150 yards away but the hunter thinks the bear is 200 yards away, the hunter will overestimate the bear’s relative size by somewhere near 25 percent.   In other words, the hunter is in for a serious case of ground shrink when he walks up to his bear.  TIP:  Let the bear get as close to you as possible and preferably on the bait itself.   The closer the bear, the less chance there is of misjudging the distance to relative size.

SPECIFIC TIPS FOR JUDGING BLACK BEARS: If the bear fails any one of the above general conditions, then it’s advisable to pass up on it or let the bear walk. It’s tough and you could be wrong, but at least there isn’t a dead small bear lying on the ground.   Call it a personal aversion to guilt.

BODY SHAPE:¬†¬†¬† Bigger bear are older bears, and like most of us, they don‚Äôt have the svelte bodies they once did. They tend to look ‚Äúheavy‚ÄĚ and out of shape. Remember, they monopolize the best feed and habitat, and therefore exert less energy to live.

HEAD SHAPE:¬†¬† A big bear (boar) will have a deeper, wider and longer snout than a smaller bear or a female. His ears will appear to be wide apart and small. If he is aware of you and looking your way, his ears won‚Äôt stand up on top of his head like a dog‚Äôs ears, they‚Äôll seem to be aimed out to the side of his head. A big bear will have well developed ‚Äúbulging‚ÄĚ muscles on the top of his head.


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LEGS:   A big bear will have massively developed front shoulders. His shoulders will look big and burly. A sow’s wrist will pinch in directly above the foot. Not so with a boar. The lower forearm, wrist and the foot on a big boar are all the same width. A big bear often appears to have shorter legs because the body is so much thicker, but keep in mind that the best-scoring bears for the records book are often the lankier looking, longer-bodied bears.

There are bear that have meatier heads; bear that look great and are great trophies, but that don’t score well.  There are others that have short skulls, block- headed beasts that look impressive, but that don’t score well at all and there are lanky, skinny bears with donkey faces that score like the devil, but that a hunter seriously looking for  a  records book bear wouldn’t walk across the street for. Black bear morphology is just too darn diversified to make a science out of judging.

The best way to hunt for a record boar is to simply shoot the bear that looks good to you and that hopefully  you’ll  appreciate all the time and effort you put in for the hunt.  If it’s got a nice hide, be happy with your animal. If it has long claws and weighs a ton, good for you and congratulations. If it isn’t as big as  you’d like, don’t fret, you’re not alone and the rug on your wall will still look great. If it happens to be one of those rare few bears that has grown a skull that qualifies for the record books, thank your guide for the good fortune that made that bear come to the bait site.

To easily judge, remember:

  • Check out the ear size in relation to the head
  • Mickey Mouse ears means a small bear.
  • Watch to see if the belly is low to the ground
  • Legs that appear short means big bear.

Watch the bear’s behavior around the bait Рsmall bears will be skittish and afraid of a larger bruin in the area.

Look for a log around the bait and use it as a reference, check to see the length and height of the log before climbing into your stand. When the bear enters the bait site use the size of the log to help determine the overall size of the bear.

SKULL MEASURING

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Hope this information helps develop your judging skill on your next hunt, and,  good luck out in the field.

For further information, or, to book your next bear hunt please contact us at:
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Black Bear on Bear Highway

It cant go without saying that this year’s batch of hunters fortitude has been tested over and over. ¬†With weather that seems to be taunting them by cold raining one day and jumping to 80+ degrees and sunny the next, these guys have been putting in the hours and time after time have in most cases been rewarded.

On Saturday, Dave, Tim and Jason made the long drive up from Iowa to try their best to outsmart a couple bruin and get a day or two of fishing in.  Optimism high and clouds beginning to hang low, the stands began to be assembled for the drive to the baits.

Each man had a different weapon but all agreed that failure was not an option. ¬†The first day was a shorter than normal sit of only 4 hours and all were thankful that it was a restful sit as they had a long drive before and had sat long enough ūüôā

The men arrived back in camp late after a dark trip through the woods.  Dave was ecstatic to let me know that his bait had proven effective and he had spotted an average sized bear that he had decided to pass on and Tim and Jason both had heard but not spotted activity.

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The next day, the three went out, excitement and weapons in hand. ¬†The weather had cooled down and was determined to hold that mercury low for the day. ¬†The boys had layered and knew it would be a good, long, cool day. ¬†The day wore on for us here at the lodge as we completed one task after another waiting for the telltale early truck arrival signalling a downed bear. ¬†As we waited and watched, the clock ticked on. ¬†The sun had already set and the boys were already 30 minutes passed the expected arrival. ¬†We would give them 30 more minutes before setting out to ‘track’ our hunters. ¬†As the minutes dragged on, I had begun to assemble my gear, ready for the drive out with Terry.

At 11:20 pm, a set of headlights pulled through the trees and the truck slowed to a stop in front of my door.  I emerged to a truck full of smiles, not only had Dave taken his boar of 368lb glory, but Tim had taken his as well!!

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As we iced the bears down for the night, I had the chance to go over the hunt with both hunters, as a returning hunter to Wawang, Dave was so excited to tell me about all the bears he saw on ‘the bear highway’ today. ¬†He couldn’t help but beam when he told me about the sow and cubs that came for two visits that day as well as the mid sizer that came in between. ¬†He said that with all the action on the bait, it was very simple to decipher the size of his boar. ¬†He was clear that it had trumped everything else that had come for a visit and was so proud to share the pictures. ¬†“There were just bear everywhere I looked!” he repeated.

Smiles all around, Tim spoke up about his hunt and was proud of his harvest, though it wasn’t as big a bear as Dave’s, the tell white half chevron of white on the chest that made a winking emoticon made it very simple for me to dub this boy ‘Winky’ . ¬†Both had prime hides and will make for not only fantastic stories but beautiful mounts to be enjoyed for year after year.

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Jason was so proud of both of his hunting buddies and is determined to add to the celebration list too!

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Bull-In the Rut

Understanding the Moose Rut

Once you understand the moose rut, you will have a much better chance of finding moose. During the moose-rutting season moose are found in different areas than other parts of the seasons.

What Season Is the Rut?

Typically the peak of the rutting season for moose is the first two weeks of October. This is only an average though. The further north in the hemisphere you travel the earlier in the season the rut happens and the opposite is true for going south.

There are of course always exceptions to the rule, but for the most part early October will be the peak. Some have hunted in early September and been able to call bull moose in using and estrous cow moose calls in an area that I know the peak rut is October. There will always be some cow moose that will start ovulating early and of course a bull moose that hears the yearning calls of a cow moose in estrous will investigate, and may even vocalize his approach.

Where do the Moose Go During the Rut?

We have been asked many times where do the moose go during the rut? Hunters have been out pre-rut scouting and located the moose. Once the season has arrived they return to where they found the moose and cannot find any! Why?

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Before the bull moose go into rut, they are usually found in the higher elevation areas. They will seek out cooler and thicker areas of the forest, higher in elevation trying to escape insects and predators.

Cow moose and their calves on the other hand will stay in the lowlands near water. The cows seek out water for two main reasons… food and safety. Calves are vulnerable, especially to wolves and bears. A cow with calf will use the water as an escape when threatened by predators. Sure the insects will be more bother but the safety of water will outweigh this.

When the moose rut begins and likely for a few weeks before the beginning of the cow moose estrous the bulls will move down out of the higher elevations to seek out the cows. The bulls will stay in the lower and wetter areas within proximity of the cows with hope of getting the breeding done. As the rut winds down the bull moose will once again move back to the higher elevations.

This migration makes for a sometimes elusive hunt.  Scan the area and look for all sign and be prepared for one exhilarating experience!

Join us next time for what to do when you spot your moose!!

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Posted by on March 27, 2016 in hunting, moose, Wawang Lake Resort

 

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The Bear Facts – What You Should Know

Despite divided opinion about the political correctness of bear hunting, it is something every hunter should try at least once. But a word of caution, if you want to make the most of your outings, there are a few key things you should know. The more knowledgeable you are, the better your chances of tagging a trophy.

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Black Bear can be found roaming the woods in every northern state, all provinces and many eastern and western states. The smallest member of the bear family in North America, black bears are the most populated. Thriving in almost every jurisdiction, populations are on the rise across the continent.

Black bear can be hunted only in the fall at Wawang Lake. Each state and province has specific regulations dictating when and how bears can be hunted. If you want to spend more time in the woods, black bears make the perfect prey during the fall. With thick coats in prime condition, fall is the preferred choice of bear hunters that are looking for that trophy bear. If you’re fortunate enough to connect with a trophy-sized black bear¬†chances are you’ll end up with a beautiful specimen, well worth making into a rug or head mount.

Over-the-counter tags are only available in certain states and provinces. Some states issue tags only through a limited entry draw/lottery process.

In many ways black bears are misrepresented and misunderstood. Ironic but true, bruins are gentle by nature. This stands in contrast to their stereotypically vicious reputation.

Found in a variety of color phases, pelage can range from white through yellow, with black, brown and cinnamon being the most common. Their ominous looking dark shiny coat is the obvious contributor to their malignant image; it may also be the black bear’s slow, methodical and calculated gestures. Whatever the reason, these quiet, yet dominant nomads of our coniferous and mixed forests, are worthy of both admiration and respect.

A sow will typically accompany her cubs for 16 or 17 months. At the end of this period she will sever ties, forcing the youngsters to go off on their own.

Females will reach their maximum size at six years, and boars continue to grow to a maximum size at 12 years of age. On average, most bears taken by hunters weigh somewhere between 175 and 300 pounds. Any black bear topping the 300-pound mark is considered large.

Aside from body weight, black bears are judged by the size of their skull, with a Boone & Crockett minimum eligibility score of 21 inches and a Pope & Young score of 18 inches.

We often hear of bears being territorial and, in a sense, this is true. While there exists a distinct hierarchy within the ranks of bear world, it is not uncommon to find many individuals residing in a given geographic area. Home ranges can span from two to 10 miles and resident populations will often hold a variety of boars, sows and cubs.

Heavily timbered forests near logging areas often sustain good bear densities.  With blueberry areas, black bear favor the accessibility and abundance of such forage and often reside in proximity.

As forest dwellers, black bear are omnivorous. Predominantly feeding on a variety of plants and berries throughout the summer, springtime offers a feast of dandelion and fresh grasses. Opportunists extraordinaire, black bear  will also feed on carrion. Consistent with this and the fact that bears favor beavers as a staple food source in some regions, areas with spruce and poplar mixed forest and cascading beaver dams can be dynamite locations for the hunter to focus his/her attention.dam2

As with ungulate species, black bears undergo an annual rut cycle. Beginning in late May and continuing on through most of June, boars go in search of breeding partners. It is during this approximate six to eight week period that most large bears are taken by savvy hunters. Just as with members of the deer family, the larger, educated and otherwise reclusive boars become more visible as they readily cross roadways, clear-cuts and feed in open areas as they look for sows in estrus.

Black bears den up in late October and drift into a state of torpor. This is not a true state of hibernation, but rather of slowed metabolism, during the cold winter months. In this suspended state, they cease to defecate, urinate or eat for the next 5-6 months. They do however periodically awaken from this sleep to stretch and walk around. Usually only a brief interlude, black bears soon return to the den to wait out the long winter. Sows will deliver and nurse their cubs in the den and as the snow begins to melt and spring arrives, they’ll leave the den to begin their search for food.

Bear meat brings mixed reviews. Some savor every morsel, and others grimace at the very mention of it. Its greasy, coarse texture and sweet flavor requires a certain kind of palate. A word of caution however, bear meat should be thoroughly cooked as it can carry a parasitic infection known as trichinella, a potentially dangerous disease to humans.

Black bear have relatively poor eyesight, but an outstanding sense of smell and an uncanny hearing ability.

When hunting black bear, consider food source. Focus on areas with a sufficient forage base. There should be water nearby along with good cover. With the aid of topographic maps, look for spots with streams, rivers and ample low ground to provide damp, dark and cool cover. In boreal forest regions, this will be dense moss-laden areas bordering swamps and isolated marshy wetlands. In mountainous regions, this will often be found in drainages along creeks and other waterways.

Once a general area is identified, begin your search by looking at trees. Claw marks on deciduous trees are the most obvious indicators. In mixed forest areas mature poplars wear the battle scars revealing claw marks of days gone by. While rarely do you stumble upon fresh markings, these lasting scars unveil a historical presence.

Bear leave tracks. A great place to look for these is in the wet sand and soil along shorelines of rivers, streams and lakes. Most often at least one or two old or new tracks are found, keeping in mind that bears frequently use these movement corridors. A 5″ or better pad/track can suggest a good bear is in the area.DDW-Bear-Hunt-086

Nomadic creatures, bears commonly travel traditional trails along ridges, in valleys, and along drainages. Finding fresh scat can instill further confidence in your pursuit and help you identify the size of a particular bear.

A variety of strategies and techniques are proven effective in pursuing spring black bears. Whether floating down a river, walking cut-lines, spot and stalk hunting, baiting or calling, black bears are very huntable. Each strategy has its own merits.

A good set of binoculars is a must when spot and stalk bear hunting. Once spotted, the stalk begins. The regular rules apply – keep the wind in your face; remember bears rely heavily on their sense of smell. The best time to spot and stalk black bears is the five to 10 day window just prior to, or just as the deciduous trees begin to bud. With little food available in the woods, they can frequently be seen browsing on cut-lines and south-facing slopes where the first green grasses begin to sprout.bin

Baiting is far from easy, and holds no guarantees! From time to time you get lucky and have one move in cautiously to inspect the provisions, but this is frequently more the exception than the rule. Perhaps the biggest advantage I see in baiting is that, if and when a bear finally does come to the bait, it can allow the hunter time to assess size and stature. This is advantageous for the trophy hunter, allowing the option to pass up smaller bears, thus diminishing the odds of falling victim to ground shrink.

Predator calling bears has come into its own in recent years. A myriad of videos and how-to articles are available to hunters looking for an alternative approach to hunting bears. I sometimes carry a Lohman wounded rabbit call for scenarios where calling might come in handy. While patience is required in this game of calling, it can take some time before a big old bruin responds favorably. But when they do, be ready, because they’re coming in for dinner!wawanglakebear

As a rule, black bears want no more to do with you than Superman does with kryptonite. The fact is, it’s important to treat them with due respect, be aware they possess immense strength and are able to cause considerable damage. To get an accurate picture on the nature of bears, I highly recommend a book entitled, Bear Attacks – Their Causes and Avoidance written by Dr. Stephen Herrero. Having heard him speak at a conference, the clear message I gleaned was that if, and when, black bears show aggression, most often they’ll bluff charge … stop 10 yards away and bounce on their front legs. Periodically they’ll stand up, but this is usually to help them get a better look at what is going on. This is intimidating, but most often harmless.

The only thing predictable about black bears is that they are unpredictable. Although many will avoid humans at all cost, there are some that have no fear at all. Caution and respect should always be exercised.

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Hi Bear!

wolf2Nathan was unsure of what to expect when he arrived at Wawang Lake.  He knew first hand that we produce nice bear as his father-in-law Randy had taken one the year before.  Randy had planned his return visit as soon as he landed his bear and knew he just had to bring Nathan.

Nathan had a very eventful first night with plenty of action….from the wolves!¬† As he returned to camp the first night, he was so excited to tell us that he was ‘almost eaten by a wolf!’.¬† As he sat his stand, there was a full wolf symphony surrounding him and echoing in the trees.¬† At the last minute, he caught a flash of white from the corner of his eye and caught the tail end of a wolf leaving his bait site.

On the second day of their hunt Nathan got his bear.  A nice 175 lb black bear and very credible with beautiful black/blue cape and all.174
While waiting for the others in his group to come by to pick him up Nathan amused himself by walking out to the road to see what he could see, when suddenly he saw a HUGE black bear walking right towards him.¬† Quickly thinking, he made himself bigger by raising his arms above his head and yelled ‘Hi Bear!!”, however, his voice cracked from¬†anxiety and came out in a high-pitched, girly,¬†squeal instead¬†.¬† Just as the bear veered and went into the bush Nathan turned around and¬†noticed¬†a couple more bear walking out from the other side of the road¬†towards his bait site but these ones¬†paid him no mind.

bear (2)It was beginning to get dark and Nathan started walking towards the junction where he was to meet up with his hunt party, he turned and shuddered¬†–¬†ANOTHER BEAR¬†and¬†this one¬†was glaring right at him from out of the brush¬†just behind where he stood.¬† The hairs on the back of his neck stood right up as again Nathan said in a high pitched voice while waving his arms high above his head, ‘Hi bear!!’ hoping to scare it off.¬†¬†¬†The bear disappeared back into the dark abyss of the shadowing timber.

After seeing numerous bear all around¬†he abuptly¬†went into¬†a hunting stance, now alert as he¬†pointed and aimed¬†his bow, swinging in all directions – getting ready for the attack.¬† It didn’t happen and at that very same¬†moment the truck drove up as Nathan sighed in relief – it was a welcome sight.

It was a tense moment there for a while, one we’re¬†sure Nathan will never forget and that¬†he’ll repeat over and over for years to come of¬†his encounter¬†with multiple bear during his first black bear hunt at Wawang Lake.

The truth is the bear were only interested in the bait site and the alluring, delicious smells it was emitting.¬† It goes to show just how active our baits really are, and, Nathan got to see first hand when we say our baits have multiple bear on the baits – we’re not¬†stretching the truth – not one bit!
multiple bear

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Black Bear Hunting – SIT Until Dark

We hear tales of bear hunters not sitting until dark and instead stand in time to get back to camp before it gets too late. CRAZY!

Just like in most types of hunting, ‚Äújust before dark‚ÄĚ is usually the best time for the mature animals to arrive. Sometimes the big ones will be there well before dark, but usually the last 30 minutes of legal shooting light is the best. Carry a flashlight; the bear usually won‚Äôt eat you. They are just as afraid of you after dark as they are in the daylight.

sunset bear

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Black Bear – Shooting the 1st Bear You See

Often, the number one of objective of a spring bear hunt is to simply bring home a bear.

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The first bear you see, however, will most likely be a juvenile or a lesser bear. You can shoot that bear and have the rest of the week to relax at camp, but why not wait for a more mature bear that will achieve more of the management goals of the region and make you happier in the long run?

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Don’t shoot the first bear you see. Take the chance that you’ll get another opportunity.

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Black Bear Hunting RATES

2 bear sized
Bear RatesFollow our FISHING BLOG   Link to our:  HUNT BOOKLET

Randy Bear

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Bears Down! The Bear Highway

It cant go without saying that this year’s batch of hunters fortitude has been tested over and over. ¬†With weather that seems to be taunting them by cold raining one day and jumping to 80+ degrees and sunny the next, these guys have been putting in the hours and time after time have in most cases been rewarded.

On Saturday, Dave, Tim and Jason made the long drive up from Iowa to try their best to outsmart a couple bruin and get a day or two of fishing in.  Optimism high and clouds beginning to hang low, the stands began to be assembled for the drive to the baits.

Each man had a different weapon but all agreed that failure was not an option. ¬†The first day was a shorter than normal sit of only 4 hours and all were thankful that it was a restful sit as they had a long drive before and had sat long enough ūüôā

The men arrived back in camp late after a dark trip through the woods.  Dave was ecstatic to let me know that his bait had proven effective and he had spotted an average sized bear that he had decided to pass on and Tim and Jason both had heard but not spotted activity.

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The next day, the three went out, excitement and weapons in hand. ¬†The weather had cooled down and was determined to hold that mercury low for the day. ¬†The boys had layered and knew it would be a good, long, cool day. ¬†The day wore on for us here at the lodge as we completed one task after another waiting for the telltale early truck arrival signalling a downed bear. ¬†As we waited and watched, the clock ticked on. ¬†The sun had already set and the boys were already 30 minutes passed the expected arrival. ¬†We would give them 30 more minutes before setting out to ‘track’ our hunters. ¬†As the minutes dragged on, I had begun to assemble my gear, ready for the drive out with Terry.

At 11:20 pm, a set of headlights pulled through the trees and the truck slowed to a stop in front of my door.  I emerged to a truck full of smiles, not only had Dave taken his boar of 368lb glory, but Tim had taken his as well!!

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As we iced the bears down for the night, I had the chance to go over the hunt with both hunters, as a returning hunter to Wawang, Dave was so excited to tell me about all the bears he saw on ‘the bear highway’ today. ¬†He couldn’t help but beam when he told me about the sow and cubs that came for two visits that day as well as the mid sizer that came in between. ¬†He said that with all the action on the bait, it was very simple to decipher the size of his boar. ¬†He was clear that it had trumped everything else that had come for a visit and was so proud to share the pictures. ¬†“There were just bear everywhere I looked!” he repeated.

 

Smiles all around, Tim spoke up about his hunt and was proud of his harvest, though it wasn’t as big a bear as Dave’s, the tell white half chevron of white on the chest that made a winking emoticon made it very simple for me to dub this boy ‘Winky’ . ¬†Both had prime hides and will make for not only fantastic stories but beautiful mounts to be enjoyed for year after year.

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Jason was so proud of both of his hunting buddies and is determined to add to the celebration list too!

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Posted by on December 29, 2015 in black bear, hunting, Wawang Lake Resort

 

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