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Wildlife Encounter – FYI

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Grin and Bear it: The wait

Each season we spend several hundred hours planning, baiting and preparing our hunters for the prospect of harvesting a bear AND we meet new hunters that are ready and eager to harvest that said bear.  However there are some that will be in for a wait.

SAM_0016 (640x480)

Understanding that bear are as individual as people will give a hunter more perspective into what to expect.  I have commonly met new hunters that assume that just because there has been food placed daily for a couple of weeks ahead of time daily, that predicting when a large sow or boar will come in to take and they will go and sit for that time……WRONG!

Being that our baits generally carry multiples, the pattern of ‘hits’ (baits being opened and emptied) can vary.  Smaller bear can come in and hijack a small mouthful in an attempt to get a treat before the larger, more dominant animal appears.  The larger bear may feed less than daily and come every second or third day and yet another wrench can be thrown in with a travelling sow and cub or cubs.  That sow and cub(s) can travel the distance of several baits and interrupt many which in turn will throw off any marked pattern that may have been occurring up until this point and leave a hunter scratching his or her head.

Weather is another factor that can throw off the pattern of hit times and during the latter part of August and into September, the wind is prone to several directional changes per day and variations of warm, cool and wet days that can play havoc with a bear’s daily movements.

Pair all of this together and now add the moon phases.  As the moon fills, the night time light becomes more prevalent and allows for easier visibility in those later hours and no hunters in the trees.  With all of these factors stacked against a hunter, it soon becomes apparent that this is still a hunt and outsmarting your prey and putting in your time may be necessary.

moonphase

Don’t get me wrong, we have had bears taken from baits while stands were still being set in the trees but on the flip side we also get those hunters that take their bear on the last day, last hour and last minute of the hunt.  All factors are variables that play into the outcome of an overall hunt.

The moral is be prepared to sit your stand from as legally early to as legally late as possible.  You are dealing with animals that don’t rely on stats or patterns the way we put weight on them.  These animals need to fill their basic instincts when the time suits them and not when it suits us.

You need to ask yourself before taking on such a challenging hunt….is this bear worth the wait?

bearstand

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Posted by on December 30, 2015 in black bear, hunting, Wawang Lake Resort

 

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Girl Shoots Mountain Lion That Stalked Her Brother

During the course of a single week, three cougars were killed at a family ranch in northern Washington. The latest big cat was killed by 11-year-old Shelby White, who shot an emaciated lion that had been stalking her older brother near their home.

ML1

Thomas White awoke at 2:30 a.m. to the barking of the family dog so White walked outside and discovered a cougar trying to enter an enclosure of cows and calves. Although he scared away the cougar without incident, the lion returned two hours later and White drove it off a second time.

Later that day White’s three children arrived home from school at 3:30 p.m. The cougar turned up a third time when his 14-year-old son Tanner White was doing his chores outside. Tanner had finished feeding the dogs and was walking back toward the house when the cougar emerged from its hiding spot by a vehicle in the driveway. Tanner didn’t notice the cat following him and walked safely through the basement door.

His dad was in there and said, ‘Close the door!’ because there was the cougar, right behind him.

Shelby White, 11, was the only member of the White family with an unfilled cougar tag.  She retrieved her rifle and shot the cat where it stood outside, just 10 feet from the door. The 4-year-old female cougar appeared “very, very skinny” and weighed just 50 pounds. A healthy mature female cougar should weigh twice that, according to Treser. “It was starving to death,” Treser said.

Shelby’s cougar was the third big cat taken on or near the family ranch in a single week. Two days prior a family friend tracked a cougar within 200 yards of the ranch. The hunter shot the 2- to 3-year-old female cat near the White’s driveway a couple days earlier.

The youngest White child also tracked and tagged a cougar on the property. Nine-year-old Cody White and his father spotted paw prints near the White house  and followed them to the family’s calving pasture. He discovered a 120-pound male cougar and shot it on the hillside.

ML2

Additional tracks and big cat sightings have occurred in the region since and a total of 10 cougars have been harvested during the season. Five were taken by hunters and the other five were killed by wildlife officials after the cats attacked domestic animals.

The number of cougar predations and encounters in the area is above average. Wildlife officials suspect cougar numbers have increased or the big cats cannot find enough deer to survive without resorting to domestic prey.

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Wildlife Encounter – FYI

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BEAR DOWN!!! Quinn and Lucas Had a Long Night! Revisited

We figured we would revisit the highlights of the 2013 bear hunts for those that are looking forward to planning a 2014 hunt 🙂

In the sweltering heat both men knew that they might be in for a long, uncomfortable sit. Both resigned to the fact that being scent locked and camouflaged entailed long sleeves, pants and boot that would be working double time!

A typical view from a stand

Luke settled in confident that at some point during his stay, he would be bringing home what he had come all this way for.

As the mid day and early evening came on, Terry (the guide) had come in from a long day on the baits. It seemed much longer than usual and I asked him how it went.

“Well, we have a bear down.” Right away, the smile was over me, a ‘bear down’ is an outcome we as outfitters strive for and work painstakingly at before the hunter even arrives. Terry too was pleased.

“I was just on my way back up from the northern end baits when I saw a white truck in my rearview. I recognized it and pulled on over. Lucas was all in a mess, hot and concerned because he knew he had a bear down and he had no idea where it was.” Apparently in this 90 degree plus heat, Luke had taken his bear early (11 am) and had spent the last two hours tracking to no avail.

“Just by luck, I happened to be coming back just as he was coming to get me. He needed that bear tracked and that’s what we did.  We went back to where the shot was landed and to where she bedded down for a few moments.”  Luke was so happy that he had made contact and saw her ‘down’ that he let out a shout of excitement and that “YES!!!” quickly turned into a NO!  as that girl got up with all of her might and ran.

“We found the trail and it tapered off as we went on.  We cleared the direct line and went back to the bait to regroup.  I decided to check the small ravine to the right and Luke, the upper ridgeline to the left.  It didnt take long before I zoned in on one very small drop of blood.”  Terry’s eyes narrowed as he relived the moment.

“I was able to flag Luke over and we were hot on the trail!”

Hot was right!  Tracking in the mid day sun at 90+ degree temperatures was painstaking and uncomfortable.

“We were both amazed that there was so little blood.  He swore he heard a distinctive death moan and a final grunt….he KNEW she was down.  We walked for about ten minutes and FINALLY!!!  there she was, completely laid out under a small covering of brush.”

He smiled and you could see he was content that not only she was found but they could both get out of that blistering hot sun…..after she was field dressed.  Luke took no time in getting to work and analyzing his shot and finalizing the autopsy and arrow path.  He had deduced that he had run high but had hit both lungs.  A good, clean shot that had dropped her quickly.  Both men had a good laugh when they noted she had only gotten about 65 yards from the bait but was cunning in her route to be elusive.

“He did a good job.  He was an efficient hunter and he reaped his reward. He stayed behind to wait for Quinn to come off of his stand.  They should be in soon.”  And with that, Terry was off preparing for tommorrows bait run.

I watched the road anxiously for some time, measuring tape and camera ready for whatever was to come……The clock seemed to drag as I waited.  20 minutes turned into 2 hours and I was slightly concerned.  That sow needed to be processed asap, where were they?

Within minutes the white truck ambled up the road.  As they slowed I greeted Luke with all the congratulations.  He sprung from the truck and pointed…..”We brought you two for the price of one!!”

They SURE did!!  Quinn had downed a massive boar!  The truck bed was hanging lower with all the excess weight.

“RIGHT ON!”  I couldn’t hold back my excitement for the two of them.

Now came the real work!  Pictures, measurements and processing!  Quinn had shared that the hunt was relatively quick and uneventful.

“There was a snap of a twig and here he came.  You know he owned this house.  I barely let him reach the bait and I drew back and…….that was it!  20 yards and he was down.”  He made a point of looking to Lucas with a devious grin.

“I have to say, I was a bit worried.  I shot a bear before and he made the distinctive moan but we tracked and tracked and never found it, I was worried that this may be a repeat but there he was, down and done!”

It was a great night of stories including Shawn’s face to face encounter with his boar (that will be a story best saved for later), laughs and WORK!  As it was the very first time any of them caped a bear, all hands were on deck and they were all quick studies as I laid out the technique.  We made short time of Luke’s 225lb sow and Quinn and the rest of the crew were able to tidy up his 410lb boomer and hit the hay by 4 am.

Stay tuned for the next chapter of the Westpfahl’s Canadian wilderness adventure…….be assured there WILL be one!!

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2013 in black bear, hunting, Wawang Lake Resort

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Grin and Bear it: The wait

Each season we spend several hundred hours planning, baiting and preparing our hunters for the prospect of harvesting a bear.  Each season we meet new hunters that are ready and eager to harvest that said bear and every season we meet some that are in for a wait.

SAM_0016 (640x480)

Understanding that bear are as individual as people will give a hunter more perspective into what to expect.  I have commonly met new hunters that assume that just because there has been food placed daily for a couple of weeks ahead of time daily, that predicting when a large sow or boar will come in to take and they will go and sit for that time……WRONG!

Being that our baits generally carry multiples, the pattern of ‘hits’ (baits being opened and emptied) can vary.  Smaller bear can come in and hijack a small mouthful in an attempt to get a treat before the larger, more dominant animal appears.  The larger bear may feed less than daily and come every second or third day and yet another wrench can be thrown in with a travelling sow and cub or cubs.  That sow and cub(s) can travel the distance of several baits and interrupt many which in turn will throw off any marked pattern that may have been occurring up until this point and leave a hunter scratching his or her head.

Weather is another factor that can throw off the pattern of hit times and during the latter part of August and into September, the wind is prone to several directional changes per day and variations of warm, cool and wet days that can play havoc with a bear’s daily movements.

Pair all of this together and now add the moon phases.  As the moon fills, the night time light becomes more prevalent and allows for easier visibility in those later hours and no hunters in the trees.  With all of these factors stacked against a hunter, it soon becomes apparent that this is still a hunt and outsmarting your prey and putting in your time may be necessary.

moonphase

Don’t get me wrong, we have had bears taken from baits while stands were still being set in the trees but on the flip side we also get those hunters that take their bear on the last day, last hour and last minute of the hunt.  All factors are variables that play into the outcome of an overall hunt.

The moral is be prepared to sit your stand from as legally early to as legally late as possible.  You are dealing with animals that don’t rely on stats or patterns the way we put weight on them.  These animals need to fill their basic instincts when the time suits them and not when it suits us.

You need to ask yourself before taking on such a challenging hunt….is this bear worth the wait?

bearstand

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2013 in black bear, hunting, Wawang Lake Resort

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

 
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