In this episode of the Epic Outdoors Podcast Jason Carter talks with Alberta Outfitter Mike Ukrainetz of Mikes Outfitting. Mike is well known for consistently harvesting giant black bears in northern Alberta. Jason and Mike talk about the difficulty of harvesting a giant black bear and many of the factors that go into the making of a giant bear. They also talk extensively about baiting and the effects of hunting on a healthy bear population. If you are interested in black bears, management, genetics, baiting, this is an episode you wont want to miss.

Disclaimer: this podcast has been transcribed from the original audio and likely contains errors. This transcription does not reflect the views and opinions of Epic Outdoors LLC. Please consult the original audio with any concerns.

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They come in at night, they come in randomly.

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There’s guys addicted to killing giant birds.

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Oh, and this bear charged out and swatted that wolf.

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Anything to do with Western big games.

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To the Epic Outdoors Podcast, powered by Under Armour.

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Hey everybody. Jason Carter here with the Epic Outdoors Podcast just sitting here today visiting with a guy by the name of Mike Ukraine. It’s been the industry for a long, long time. He is up in Canada. And anyway, before we get going, just wanted to thank Under Armour for being the sponsor of these podcasts. Of course, they’re sponsor a lot of different things we do. We’re pretty heavy partners with them and appreciate them and all the support they give the hunting industry. And so anyway. Hey Mike, how you doing? You on?

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Yep. Yeah, doing great, Jason. How are you? Doing

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Good. Doing good. So anyway, Mike’s one of those guys who’s been in the industry, feels like for absolutely ever. Anytime. Yeah, I’ve

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Been, well,

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I just can’t believe, like, I can’t remember being in the industry and not knowing who you are. I mean, you, it’s been a long, long time.

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Yeah, yeah. No, I’ve been out, I’ve been guiding since about 1988 and then started my own outfitting business in 1992 as I was Ukraine. It’s guided hunts then Okay. With my brother and my dad, but then found out that nobody could pronounce our last name, so I changed it to Mike’s outfitting. So I’ve been that for the, since I can’t remember for a while now. So.

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Wow, that’s, that’s crazy. I’ve been guiding.

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Yeah. So I’ve been guiding now for 30 years. I’m 49 years old, turning 50 in April here.

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Well, that’s great. Yeah. You still got a lot of good years ahead of you.

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Yeah, for sure. At

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Least one or two, huh?

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Well, good. And so how do most people pronounce your last name? Or is it everything? Well,

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UCRA it is the right way, but people pronounce it all kinds of ways or they just, they see the last name and just get fear in their eyes and don’t know what to say.

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That’s great. Well, good. Let’s see. And so tell us about your childhood a little bit. Like what, what brought you to 1988 or 1992? Like what brought you to that point?

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Sure. Well, my dad was a bow hunter and he got me into it when I was just a little kid. We, we shot archery when I was, you know, eight, 10 years old. And then I started just going with him hiking. We have a, a great bull hunting only zone around the city of Calgary and the mountain zone around the town of Canmore. You might have heard of it. Oh yeah. For, that’s where guys go to hunt bighorn sheep all the time. Yeah.

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So I just started hanging out with him when I was 11, 12 years old. And then we couldn’t hunt till we were 14, but I did a little bit of hunting on his tags before then, and then just went to the, so I hunted lots in the mountains and just got hooked on it all. And my dad liked to hunt with other younger guys. And so we, I hiked all over the place and I, I grew up hunting moose and elk and sheep. And my, my first big am animal I took was a bull moose when I was 14 years old, and then a bull elk that year. And then I shot a, I think a mule Bach the next year. And then I shot my first big horn sheep when I was 16 years old.

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Wow. That is crazy. So you get tons and tons of history, like 16. What, what year are we talking?

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That was in 1983.

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Wow. In 1983, I think I was eight.

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And we could buy sheep, we could buy sheep tags over the counter and hunt ’em till December 3rd.

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Wow. That is crazy. And

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It would, we could still buy ’em over the counter now and we can hunt ’em September and October and then to hunt ’em in the rutt in November. Now it’s a draw. And that’s when all the American guys come up and, and that’s when they buy their hunts. Is to do that, that too.

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Not to get off on too big of a tangent there, but like, can you still find them in September to October? I mean, is that still a good viable option to do that over the counter?

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It, it’s very, it’s very tough. Like in the US I mean, I, it’s hard to draw the tag, but I think in most areas, relatively easy to get the sheep or you’re trying for the really big rams in Alberta, you just buy the tag over the counter, but everybody’s hunting them. It’s hard to find them. It’s hard to find a legal ram, hard to kill ’em. So, you know, I killed 180 3, another one in 92, and then I in again in 98. And then I shot one in October in 2006 and my brother got one. I helped him get one in 2015 in the, in the general season. So it’s kinda like the unlimited tags in Montana, but, but there’s no quota. It doesn’t get shut down. It just keeps going. Yeah.

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That’s kind of crazy. So still, still available to you guys as it, you know, back then back in, you know, the early eighties, it, you know, it’s probably like anywhere, just like we had over the counter Arizona strip tags, you know, for mul deer. But even times changed, but back then there was probably just wasn’t the emphasis on it. Plus not as many people were just, it’s just feels like we’re overpopulated anymore.

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Yeah, no, there wasn’t. There was still a pretty good challenge for it, but yeah, there was, it wasn’t as much, you know, and I would just, my dad would drop me off on the side of the highway and I’d just do a big loop hiking all through the mountains and hike all day. I wouldn’t stop hiking just trying to find sheep. I’d be up to snow crotch deep snow and be 20 below and then he’d pick me up back on the side of the highway again at dark.

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That’s crazy. So

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I’d learned how to just survive in the mountains and I never had a map or compass or anything. I just hike.

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Yeah, just hike and figure it out. Well, you know, back then I, you know, I remember my first g p s was, gosh, I wanna say it was like Magellan or something. Anyway, it was a big old box. And the first time I used it was in Oregon, you know, in the win. Aha. Super thick country. Anyway. Dang lucky to find the truck. But I mean, that was mid, I feel like it was mid nineties or so. We haven’t had GPSs that long.

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No, no. And I’m, I’m still bad for not using them. I’m still pretty old school, but I got, so yeah, I, I did lots of hunting all over and then I just, when I got a little older, I wanted to try some guiding and I got into guiding for bear hunts first when I was like 19 years old. At first we did spot and stalk, baiting wasn’t illegal till I believe 1988. And then I also, I got it for dol sheep hunts in Northwest Territories for several years. And I just, I only did bull hunts, just a super cub fly in and then just guided bull hunts for that. I do a couple hunts each year and, and that was pretty wild too, doing all those, and same thing with no maps and no g p s and no satellite phone or anything.

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So you’re talking, you, you guided the archery like archery hunters only back in the late eighties. Yep,

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Yep. In the eighties and nineties there.

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That was before guided, that was before archery really took off and had these technical logical, you know, advances that we’ve had today. I mean, you, you had to hire, you know, you had to be guiding some serious guys that were spending some serious money and, and using, you know, what you and I would now call kind of marginal equipment.

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Oh yeah. And I mean the biggest thing with that was yeah, just, I mean, you didn’t have the contact with the outside world. We’d get dropped off and it was a 12 or 14 day haunt and we had no communication out. And then yeah, like you say, the archery equipment, the biggest thing was no range finders. Yeah. So, you know, you’re guiding guys for dull sheep or even I’ve guided guys lots for spot and stocking mule deer and you’d be stocking on a deer and you’re constantly going, well, how far do you think it is, you know, whispering to each other and going, well I think it’s 55. Geez, really? I think it’s 60. Well, we better get closer and you move into closer. Well I, what do you think now? I think it’s just over 40. What do you think, you know, shoot him for 40 and shoot way over his back. Jeepers. He was 30.

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Crazy. Yeah. And then you got all that riding on you, the time, the expense, the, you know, the, you know, it’s not like you get tons and tons of opportunities and stocks on sheep.

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No. So we would really watch the sheep and make sure they got in a good position and wait for a nice sunny day and then make our move on ’em and, and try and really make it work on those. So, so yeah, I got to try lots of tough bow hunts doing those and all in the Canmore bow zone. And, and then I got more into the bears guiding for those and then baiting came on and started learning the whole bear baiting, bear baiting thing. And now I just, that’s one of my favorite things to do. Like not just outfit for the bears, but also to guide for them for myself, like hunt for them, for myself.

00:09:27:05 –> 00:09:43:14
Well, that’s crazy. So there must be a lot to the bears. I wanna jump into that here in a minute. But there must be a lot to ’em. I mean, to go from sheep and, you know, and hunting pretty much any and all species and, and guiding all these different species to really, you know, be infatuated with bears.

00:09:45:12 –> 00:10:55:17
Yeah. You know, I I I love the bear hunting there. Yeah. There’s lots. There’s lots too. And like I say, I did lots of mule deer bull hunts. I, I’d take 20 guys a year in my outfit for that. So we had lots of that. And then the, the, the bear hunting is a real challenge. Probably the biggest thing is, is judging the bears. Judging big bears. Yeah. And then, you know, debating the bears gets a bit of a bad rap where you see TV shows all the time that show it and you know, a bear comes into the bait and it’s a fuzzy black bear and the guy shoots it. Yeah. And people think, well, that’s no big deal, you know, but, you know, it’s kind of poor in that they just don’t try and talk about, you know, we, we should be trying to kill the bigger older male bears and not so much just shoot any bear. ’cause it, it, it isn’t that much of a challenge to do that. But to get the big old ones, I mean, those, the big old boars, they’re the ones that they chase other small bears out of the areas. They keep them off the bait sites. Yeah. And they’re the ones that kill lots of cubs too, so,

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Yeah. Wow. And so, you know, what’s it like, I mean, when you’re, you’re guiding, you know, you, you want, you want your clients to be successful and, and not everybody cares about maybe the biggest bear as much as you do, but how do, how do you work that out? Like is it something where you’ve got, you know, a particular bears that you’re after from year to year and then you’ve got specific clients that are kind of coming with you because they know you’re into the big bears? Or, or how does that all work?

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Right. Well, a lot of it is my, my whole outfit now, I’ve gone to where I, I try and get everybody to try and get those bigger old bearers because, you know, we’ll be feed, we might have 30 bait sites and we’ll be feeding 300 to 400 bears on those sites.

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No way. That is crazy.

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Yeah. Because I haven’t, and that’s honest, that’s, I haven’t scattered around. I have a 1200 square mile zone and I have these baits all spread out and I’ve put test sites in all different places. And the bears, like in northern Alberta, there’s so many of ’em, they’re a real problem for farmers. Beekeepers, private landowners can shoot as many as they like.

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Yeah. Unbelievable

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Year round. And so, but if you try and, you know, it’s good management, if you try and target those older bears in that those older bears will drive the smaller bears out into the farmland and then they, they, they get into the bee hives and all that and they cause real problems. So if you can take those bigger, older boars out the younger bears, the females, they can live back in the big woods areas and stay out of that farmland area and, and then they don’t have to kill so many problem bears.

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Yeah, that’s crazy. That’s quite a cycle there. So, I mean, it’s gotta be interesting ’cause I mean, if you’re like me, anything I hunt, I want it. I just like hunting old, big mature, you know, the, the biggest maturest animals we can find, you know, especially mule deer, but elk or bears or anything. Right. And so you kinda wanna, you, I mean, you kinda wanna save them and grow and let ’em get old, but at the same time it’s good, like you’re saying it’s good proper management to, you know, to really target those older bears, which I guess is what we’re doing down here. It’s just, it’s just, I don’t know, at some point you’re gonna, you know, you’ve gotta take ’em out even though you want to keep ’em, you know, keep ’em alive and, and see how big a bear you can kill, you know?

00:13:27:02 –> 00:14:30:28
Yeah. And I, I, I agree for sure Jason, like I listened to the podcast of you and Greg Kro there talking about mule deer. Yeah. And how you’re trying to get these very big mule deer. And it was, to me it’s, the bears can be just as challenging as that because especially when you’re trying to get those big old boars, when you’re like to get a boon and crockett bear a bear with a 21 inch skull, it’s incredibly challenging. Wow. And because the bears, even though you have a trail camera there, they’re probably like, I would guess a mule deer on a water hole. You know, the biggest oldest ones, the bears for us, they come in at night, they come in randomly. They can easily get spooked off. And, and even to judge Bears to say whether he is a 19 inch skull or 20 or 21, and even judging body size, whether he is a 300 pounder or a 400 or 450 pounder, it becomes a, a super challenge.

00:14:31:03 –> 00:15:18:00
And, and it’s so fun with archery because you’re sitting watching all these different bears coming and going and they can get in fights with each other. They can come up the stand and mess with you. And so it adds a, a fun element. You know, you get a little scared on some of it, but yeah, I, I don’t think they’re much of a threat overall. And then to go for those really big bears is, you know, we had like a big blonde bear that we tried to get, and for three years that bear was so random and so smart, he would come into the bait site and just look up at the guy in the tree stand and turn around and leave crazy. And then he’d be gone for weeks at a time. You, you don’t realize how, how cautious those bears can be and how much they can move.

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Like we had ’em at one bait site and then he moved 15 miles to another site. And so I knew it just ’cause he was a pure blonde bear. And at this point he was five years old. I, I, well from my trail camera pictures, I could see that. And we had been trying to get him for three years. ’cause usually the blondes don’t get very big. But this, so we, we’ll try and get them sometimes at a bit of a younger age, three or four years old. But we had been trying to get this guy and he made it to five years old. And then with the bull hunters and the tree stand, we just couldn’t get him. He’d walk in, see the guy in the stand, turn around and leave.

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00:15:58:18 –> 00:16:51:17
Is crazy. So finally we, yeah, finally we just, we, we put a rifle guy on it and he showed up on a bait site and claimed it first thing out of the spring. And that’s what you hope they’ll do. And then that’s when you have one of your best opportunities on those big bears. And he claimed it got ’em on trail camera, put a guy in the stand right away. I think the second or third evening the guy sat, the bear came in, same thing. Came over this little ridge, spotted him in the stand, just turned to go. And the guy shot him with a rifle and it was, he had a 20 inch skull and he squared seven two or seven three and just perfectly blonde right out to the end of his claws. They get yellow. A lot of guys will call a blonde bear. That’s really a cinnamon. But the blo, true blondes will have yellow claws and be yellow all the way to the ends of their nose into their paws. And just a beautiful bear.

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Geez. Well, you know, as you’ve been talking, I mean it raises so many questions. Tell me about genetics versus skull size. I mean, you know, when we’re hunting deer, elk, I, you could have 180 inch deer, be five to 6, 7, 8, 9 and never get over 180, you know, and genetics play and of course feed, but plays such an important part of size. Just wondering, you know, what your theory is on skull?

00:17:21:23 –> 00:18:23:21
Oh, for sure. It, and it, and it does to get bears with, I mean the record books go by the skull just of course. ’cause it’s just like antlers. It’s the most solid measurement of it. And in our area, we’re fortunate in that our bears grow at a pretty linear rate along with their skulls. So when the bears say a three year old, he might have a, around an 18 inch skull. And then when he’s, he’s four, he’ll have, you know, like a almost a 19 inch skull and he’ll square around seven feet at that point. We have really great genetics for big bodies. And then when they’re five years old, they’ll generally get around that 19 and a half 20 inch skull. And a lot of places that’s a top end bear. They’ll never get a bigger skull than that. And our bears would be around that 303, about 325 pound mark and square solidly over seven feet.

00:18:24:05 –> 00:19:47:21
And then there’s only some bears that really get much over that. A lot of bears totally top out at three hundred and fifty, three hundred sixty pounds and never get a 21 inch skull. And some, some areas they’ll stay under 19 inch skulls. They just won’t get the big skulls and never get bodies over 350 pounds or rarely reach seven feet. But in an area like ours, they’ll get all, all of our big bears, the six year old bears will get into that 20 inch skull class, well over seven foot square hides. And then most of the real upper end bears will be in that 400 to four, four and a quarter pound class. Yeah. So, you know, that’s when we’re getting into the real giants and we’ve shot a few that are in, get up to 450 pounds and we’ll square just below eight feet. Geez. We’ve only shot one that’s squared out right at eight foot and he was 450 pounds and 20 and three quarter skull. So they have to have that. And then if to get into that 22 inch class, it’s just a freaky genetic sort of thing. And I guided for another outfitter that’s only about 150 miles from our area, and he could shoot seven foot bears and only had 18 and a half inch skulls.

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00:19:49:05 –> 00:19:55:01
Crazy. And they’d be four, they’d be 400 pound bears, seven foot, and then they have an 18 and a half inch skull.

00:19:55:13 –> 00:20:01:17
Yeah. They’re just like, he’s like, they’ve got good feed, they’re super heavy bears, but they just don’t have the genetics. Huh.

00:20:01:26 –> 00:20:54:10
Right. And some whole regions are like that. Even just within Alberta you’ll get where rarely do they ever shoot 20 inches. So, so that’s where the neat thing, it becomes just like a deer hunt where you’re a guy that gets into bears and nose bears and you go, okay, I’d like to take a bear that’s, you know, that’s over 450 pounds. That’s just a super rare bear or a bear that’s eight foot or one that’s got a skull of 21 inches. You know, I I, I know a taxidermist, a friend of mine, he’s a fanatic bear hunter. He could shoot t shoots two bears a year and he’s trying to get a 21 inch bear. That’s his big thing. A boon and crockett bear. So it’s just like getting, trying to get a one 90 net mule deer or a two 30 net, you know, you could shoot a lot of huge high growth scoring mule deer and never kill a one 90 net typical.

00:20:54:20 –> 00:21:07:08
Yeah. Yeah. There’s so, so much more to the trophy on a bear could be hide the color, you know, rubbed or not, just a lot of different, you know, factors that come in besides just, just skull measurement.

00:21:08:09 –> 00:21:18:05
Yeah. And that’s what makes it interesting. And you know, for him it’s been, he just, he wants to get a 21 inch bear. I think he shot 20 or 30 bears with skulls over 20 inches.

00:21:19:05 –> 00:21:41:14
Jeez. So there’s, there’s, there’s, there’s bear freaks out there. Like, like, I mean just like we have, you know, we’re addicted to mule deer or elk or different things that we have down here. Of course we have bears too. It’s just we’re on draw systems and you know, kind of tough to get a premium tag, but, but there’s, there’s fanatical bear hunters out there. That’s what you’re telling me. There’s guys addicted to killing giant bears.

00:21:42:24 –> 00:23:00:05
Oh yeah. And they’re into it rightfully so. As much as you’re into mule deer, it, it can be equally as challenging. You know, it doesn’t seem like it ’cause you’re like, well, you know, how can that be? I see you’re comparing spot and stalk mule deer, but you know, it, it can be when you’re trying to get these upper end big animals, you know, and it’s, and like I say, it’s a worthy goal to do it’s proper management in that those big boars, they’ll come into a bait site. There could be 1520 bears feeding on that site and staying out of the farmland, staying away as far as being problem bears and not getting just killed by fish and wildlife officers as problem bears. And then a big bore can come into that bait site, he’ll claim it, scent it all up and drive those other bears away. And the only bear he, the only other bears he’ll allow at that site will be sows that he wants to breed with. And then he’ll kill any cubs he comes across and keep those other bears away. So now as a hunter, you take that bear out, he’s an old bear mature and those other bears come back in again. So it’s, you know, it’s a great proper way to, to hunt them. I, you know, I think so.

00:23:00:15 –> 00:23:27:17
It’s crazy. Yeah. It’s quite not just about, you know, running out there and running bait piles. It’s like, it’s like you’re saying, it’s kinda, you take it pretty serious and, and to learn all this about bears and to, to know all this. And I can just imagine, you know, what, what it’s like to grab your first trail camera pitchers and wondering if this particular bear’s back or that particular bear even running a new site, you know, it’s gotta be pretty exciting. Yeah.

00:23:28:20 –> 00:23:43:08
And the neat thing is too that there, there’s kind of, to me there’s quite a bit of misinformation around like people ask how do you judge a big bear? And often I hear all the time, oh, you’re looking for a bear with a big hanging belly. I don’t know if you’ve heard this stuff, but

00:23:43:14 –> 00:23:45:19
Yeah, I’ve heard about, heard about all of it, you know,

00:23:46:20 –> 00:23:49:08
Or how much, I don’t have you, have you hunted bears much

00:23:49:09 –> 00:24:07:16
Jason? Yeah, we’ve hunted them not much. Two or three times Chris that I work with Chris Peterson, he’s big time into it, loves it, you know, but, and I’ve hunted him a few times but never killed a giant. So yeah, just yeah, teach, teach teach us about it. Like how do you judge a bear?

00:24:08:14 –> 00:24:31:13
Well, yeah, like a lot of guy you’ll hear, yeah. How do to judge a bear, he’ll say, okay, you look for a bear with a big hanging belly and he waddles when he walks, he’s got a round head little ears out on the side. And those are all characteristics of a big, a huge male bear. The problem is, those are also characteristics of a huge sow,

00:24:32:23 –> 00:25:47:01
But the, the difference is the sow is short and fat and she’ll never top like 300 pounds. The biggest sow we’ve ever taken was a 300 pounder. Most of ’em are 200 to 250 pounds. And you know, you don’t wanna take out the breeding stalk and so you, you really try and avoid shooting those sows. It’s not that big a deal if you do. ’cause you know, as I’ve told you, we have so many bears, but more when you’re going for the boars, the, the distinctive characteristics on a boar is he gets long and he gets tall in the shoulders. So especially like a lot of hunters, they want to come a bow hunter, they want to come and shoot a pope and young bear. They want to get a nice 18 inch bear that, you know, has a hide square, you know, close to seven foot kind of thing. And actually what you’re looking for then is a bear. That’s, that’s long. And if we’re in a tree stand, what we do is we’ll cut a log five feet long and lay it on the ground. We’ll have two or three of ’em around. And when that bore is, as long as that log from his nose to his butt, just a straight line drawn through him. Yeah. Then that’s, that’s a pope and young bear.

00:25:47:18 –> 00:25:47:26

00:25:48:18 –> 00:25:55:05
’cause he, he has that length to him and a sow will never be as long as that log, the biggest sow will never be.

00:25:55:29 –> 00:25:56:06

00:25:56:10 –> 00:27:03:11
So it’s a nice simple way to judge it. And then that’s out of a tree stand. If we’re hunting bear, if we’re hunting on the ground on a ground blind or something, then if you have a barrel at the bait, that’s nice. ’cause then if a bear’s 34 inches to the shoulder ’cause you can’t really see a log on the ground too, well then that’s the height of a good bore. He’s 34 inches at the shoulder. Or if you don’t use barrels, you have a, I pound a stake into the ground at 34 inches or have markers on the trees around there to show that. And actually that bear, that’s a like an 18 inch pulping young bear or even a 19 inch in a lot of areas, they’re actually longer and lanky. They don’t at all have a hanging belly. They don’t have a round head and little ears. They actually have a high belly and flat and they’ll just be a little heavier in the front end and they’ll have actually a longer head and a little bit longer ears. And often guys will pass up a bear like that. ’cause they’ll go, well that’s a young bear. And then they’ll accidentally shoot the big fat old sow that comes waddling into the bait.

00:27:04:01 –> 00:27:05:07
No, it makes total sense.

00:27:06:12 –> 00:27:42:22
It, it’s just, if people think of it, it is just like your dog, you know, when he grows up, when he’s a a big, when he’s a year old, he’s got all his frame, but he’s got big paws. He’s, he’s got a long head and a high belly and then he fills out as he hits, you know, two years old sort of thing. Yeah. So they, they don’t, they don’t ever get that big pot belly and that huge frame and the big block he had and little ears until they’re so big. Then that’s when they have all the length and the shoulder height.

00:27:43:29 –> 00:27:59:14
Hmm. That’s crazy. And so let’s say I wanna shoot a Boone and Crockett bear. Tell me about how long I cut my log. How, what am I, how am I judging him? Like give us, let’s just, let’s forget Poping young for a minute. Let’s go straight to the top. How, how, how are we gonna judge a giant?

00:28:00:06 –> 00:28:41:17
Well, and I I mean you are looking for a bear that has those characteristics, that has that hanging belly and that big heavy front end. And he waddles and Yeah. And has a round head, little ears. But the, the big thing you are looking for is that that length and the shoulder height. And the truth is, you know, really to get say a, let’s say a a 20 inch bear, I mean that’s the minimum for the Boone and Crockett recording period. And to me that’s about as big a bear as you can judge. Like kind of say I think that’s a 20 plus inch bear. Yeah. But after that it’s practically impossible to judge whether he is a 21 or a 22 inch bear.

00:28:41:20 –> 00:28:55:23
Yeah. You gotta get the flesh off the skull and hide off the skull to really Yeah. And then just go from there because just like anything, you probably have meat heads, you probably, you know, longer hair on the head, shorter hair. It’s just harder to judge what a skull’s gonna come out at.

00:28:56:26 –> 00:29:29:29
Yeah, that’s exactly right. And Mo most Boone and Crockett bears will actually, they’ll have a long, a long head. So that’s where they really get their score. ’cause you could get an a 15 year old bear, two 15 year old bears and they’ll just be an inch difference. But I’ve found the main differences in the length of the head. And actually if you get a bear with a shorter snout and just a little bit wider head, he’ll look really meat headed and pumpkin headed and huge bear. But in the end he’ll, you know, maybe be a 20 inch bear sort of thing. Right. In the low twenties.

00:29:30:19 –> 00:29:39:12
Yeah. We’ve seen bears. We’ve seen bears like that. And those meathead do stand out and you think I’ve got a freaking giant, but you, you know, I’ve never thought about that on the length.

00:29:41:00 –> 00:30:30:04
Yeah. And then often the bears, our bears with the best genetics will have that length in the head. Then what they also seem to have is the length in their whole body frame. So they’ll have the longer legs, longer body. So they maybe don’t even look as impressive as another bear that that has that real round head. Because some of those bears will have shorter legs, their bellies will look closer to the ground. But they’re, they’re, they don’t have that genetics to get that big bo and to get, make a boon and crockett bear or even an eight foot hide because the hide of course is measured by to do the square of the hide, you’re measuring across the, the, the width of the front legs and the nose to tail. Yeah. And taking the average of those two so that the crazy enough leg length is a huge part of that. And just body length.

00:30:30:24 –> 00:30:53:00
Well that totally makes sense. Tell me a little bit about age. I know we talked about the blonde bear being, you know, you mentioned five years old and this and that. But you know, I’ve heard bears can get upwards of mid twenties or, or even more just, you know, wondering, you know, tell me about age. Yeah. Like Quinn’s Prime, when do you really like to see a bear get harvested? Sure. What’s what’s the, i i, you know, the preferred age?

00:30:54:10 –> 00:31:27:29
Oh, that’s a great question Jason. ’cause it’s, I, I guided for guys before I started my own outfit and about, we were sending in teeth to get them aged and we were running big outfits with lots of hunters. Taking lots of bears. And those, most of the big boars would top out at about 18 years old, maybe 20 years old. So somewhere in that 15 to 20, 15 to 20 year old would be the big bores. And then the sows, some of those sows would get over 30 years old.

00:31:29:02 –> 00:31:29:11

00:31:29:16 –> 00:32:50:06
Crazy enough. And they’d get gray hair, they’d get flex of gray all in their hair. And then when you take ’em, they’d be missing teeth. And, and the funny thing too is at a bait site, they’re often the most aggressive bear at the site. I always tell my hunters, if you have a bear that’s hanging out at the site Yeah. It just keeps chasing off other bears. But she has to actively chase away other bears. Yeah. That’s a big dry, that’s a big dry sow. So anyways, to get back to the, the boars, I mean in, in a lot of areas, especially when you get into a wilderness area, it could take 10 years for a bear to grow to kind of his max of his genetics. 10, 10 plus years old. But if you have a place that has great feed like we do in our, because we’re in a lot of farmland and the bears can move to the farmland and then we just have lots of good feed in the bush. Our bears will, they’ll get as big as a 10 year old bear when they’re six years old, maybe seven. Ours, ours get big fast. And I guess you’d get the same thing on the coast too, those bears. ’cause they have sort of almost unlimited feed while they’re out of the den with salmon and all the other animals and really lush vegetation. So it, it does vary quite a bit with the areas.

00:32:50:26 –> 00:33:01:04
And so we’re talking, when you’re talking big and maxed out, we’re talking body size or, or maybe it’s a weird question, but like when does the, when does their skull quit growing? You know, and that might be

00:33:01:06 –> 00:33:28:20
Well yeah, yeah. I think first they’ll max out body size and then the skull keeps putting on a little bit more and a little bit more. Yeah. So if, if you’re talking to try and get a bear as big as a skull as possible, then I believe they are getting into that 15 year old class. 15 plus year old. I took one that was, he, he scored 21 and a quarter. I, I got him with my bow myself and he was aged at 18 years old.

00:33:29:08 –> 00:33:33:26
Wow. Is that the, is that, did you net, did he net 21 and a quarter? Yep.

00:33:34:18 –> 00:33:38:10
Yeah, he was official net Boer was 21 and a quarter.

00:33:38:23 –> 00:33:47:04
And so you’ve been doing this for 30 plus years. I mean, how many bears have you had an opportunity to kill that size?

00:33:47:21 –> 00:34:04:10
Well in, well like I only get a limited amount of time myself, but with my outfit we might shoot a Boer like that every, sometimes every year or two might take two years. And that’s taken 30 guys a year.

00:34:04:24 –> 00:34:08:22
Geez. Just shows you how tough they are. You know, it’s just not, not

00:34:08:23 –> 00:34:32:18
Easy. And I, I know outfits, no, I know outfits that have poor genetics in their areas. They still have the huge bears, which most guys don’t care about the skulls. Yeah. But if you are, you know, if that’s something you, that you think is cool and you want to go after one, then I, I know guys they might shoot a boon or a bear over 20 inch skull. It might take ’em one out of every two or 300 bears they shoot.

00:34:32:26 –> 00:35:05:18
Yeah. That is crazy. I know this is another, another crazy question maybe only I would ask, but you know, like I, I know bear hunters that bait, you know, they just use crap, you know, just all the donuts, anything, you know, anything they can use that’s free, you know, popcorn or whatever. But I mean, I don’t know, have you ever tried feeding them good quality food and actually, does that make a si a difference on maybe the body size and putting on weight? Or is it just the crap is just as good as anything else? No,

00:35:05:22 –> 00:35:56:11
No. It’s, it’s funny that you No, that’s good question to ask. ’cause actually guys, we will feed them all sorts of things, but I make a big effort to give them meat scraps. Yeah. So high protein, you know, pieces, small, small pieces of meat and meat scraps and the older mature bears, that’s what they love to eat the most is meat scraps and beavers. Hmm. You know, we’ll we’ll get beaver carcasses from trappers. The trappers will sell the hides. And there’s so many beavers in Canada and it’s such prime habitat for them that we buy the carcasses, the, the beaver carcasses. And that’s what the big mature bears want to eat the most is the meat scraps and the beaver.

00:35:57:02 –> 00:35:57:11

00:35:57:17 –> 00:36:07:01
And the younger bears want to eat more of, if you have candy, popcorn, that sort of thing. They want to eat more of that. So I guess just like a little kid, he’d rather eat candy than a steak.

00:36:08:28 –> 00:36:23:15
Yeah. Well we could, you know, Mike, like you and I, we could develop like the mountain ops recipe for bears on growing giant bears or something, you know what I mean? We feed ’em some supplements, you know, throw a few little supplements in the feed and whatnot. Let’s see what we can come up with, you know.

00:36:24:20 –> 00:36:33:08
Yeah. No and it is, I mean we feed ’em for two months of the year and they’re out of their dens here for maybe six months.

00:36:33:16 –> 00:36:33:25

00:36:34:23 –> 00:37:05:14
So it’s a big addition to their, you know, the health of those bears. And I found over the, me being in the same area for years and running the same bait sites for years, my bears, they weigh a little more. Like I, I pretty much know when I have a three year old boar just from his overall size and you know, they used to be in that 180 to 200 pound class. Most of those bears. And now most of my three year olds are up around 220 to 240 pounds.

00:37:05:26 –> 00:37:06:05

00:37:07:10 –> 00:37:56:24
And, and the sows will put out more, they’ll put out more cubs, have bigger litters more often. And then, you know, we, we grow up the bears on our bait sites and try and really stay off the sows and allow them to raise their young there and then just take the big old prime bores. And that’s where it’s, it’s exciting to do ’cause you’re seeing bears on there. Oh, there’s that big one. I, I think that’s the same bear from the year before the white patch on ’em. And yeah, we’ll put Hunter after hunter trying to get that bear. And it’s amazing how they can evade guys and, and just, they’re so random and come at night and you know, we had one bear with an ear tag, he was a problem bear and he was dumped off and he had an ear tag and I found out he was actually dropped 30 miles from where we took him.

00:37:57:08 –> 00:38:48:16
But the first year he showed up, he was a nighttime hitter, maybe a couple daylight pitchers. We put hunters on him steady, couldn’t get him the next year, no pictures of him. I thought he was gone maybe. And he got shot somewhere else. And then he showed up the third year just like a deer shows up again. Here he is, deer tag bear again. And he would be between two different bait sites and, but random and tough to get. And then another one of our hunters, Clint Morrow from Colorado sat on it and here in June he came in following a sow and had that ear tag and he shot him and he was at 21 and something inch skull. But he was a bear, didn’t have the genetics for a huge body. You know, he was 360 pounds and probably about a 10 year old bear from his teeth wear and his skulls how his skull looked.

00:38:48:22 –> 00:39:06:04
But cool to kill a bear like that you’d been watching and knowing and basically named you. Do you name your bears? We name our deer. It’s easier to talk about ’em. Oh yeah. It’s easier to talk about ’em than say, you know, Blackie. Well which Blackie. You know. So I mean we’re, we’re naming our deer. I don’t know you you’re naming bears.

00:39:07:07 –> 00:39:21:02
Oh yeah. Yep. We name ’em. Yeah, for sure. And we have, sometimes it’ll go off the bait site name or, or off say the hunter that was trying to get ’em we’re like that. The ear tag bear or the blonde. I’m not too good with coming up with original names, but Yeah,

00:39:21:06 –> 00:39:21:14

00:39:22:01 –> 00:39:38:11
Yeah. I have one bear, we still, we’ve been after ’em for five years and just can’t get ’em. And that barrel come, a few guys have seen them and I even had a guy pass him up ’cause he was like, oh, it was the first day, you know, and I wasn’t sure, you know, a lot of guys aren’t sure what they’re looking at then. Oh

00:39:38:11 –> 00:39:39:06
Geez. Right, right.

00:39:39:08 –> 00:39:46:29
And then you see on trail camera there he is. Why did you shoot? Well I didn’t know I wanted, you know, I didn’t wanna shoot a bear the first day. Yeah.

00:39:47:08 –> 00:40:31:00
I wanna really enjoy my hunt. You’re like, yeah, but that bear’s 20 years old. It’s a giant. Yeah. Well that’s cool. You know, I know you brought up a great point about proper game management and basically, you know, you’ve gotta look at your area. Like you, I mean, even though you don’t own the area, I mean you’re deciding what bears get taken. You’re deciding what they get fed. You’re deciding who sits those sites. You’re, you know, if you take out an old bear and the whole breeding thing and the sows and I mean it’s, it’s a kind of a program. I think it’s smart on your part and any outfitter’s part to manage their game properly. I mean, it’s just like us and mule deer, we could go in and, you know, I could take 20 deer hunters into one area and wipe it out and it’d be no good for the next 10 years, you know? Yeah,

00:40:31:03 –> 00:40:31:14
For sure.

00:40:31:21 –> 00:40:36:26
Proper management seems to me like pretty key for, for your program, what you got going.

00:40:37:08 –> 00:41:00:08
Yeah. And, and and on the bait sites too, like the, strangely enough, the bears can be sensitive to sows being taken on the baits, especially if it’s a sow of breeding age. Yeah. So, you know, we don’t like to shoot them. ’cause you know, we could have, like I say, 15 bears on the bait and then you take a big sow and the bait can go dead.

00:41:01:12 –> 00:41:01:19

00:41:01:23 –> 00:41:02:16
Bears will leave it

00:41:03:13 –> 00:41:04:11
Super smart.

00:41:04:16 –> 00:41:47:01
I’m not sure Yeah. Why that happens. But you can continually take bore after bore out of the population. And I think ’cause they’re such, they roam so much and they’re such random hitters, it just doesn’t affect it. So it, it really helps us out in that we can keep up the numbers of bears on our baits and then just try and shoot the biggest oldest boars. And like I say, they’re, it’s not easy to get ’em to get those bears. Like last year we had one of our best years with 30 hunters and we took 11 bears that were well over seven foot and, and in that, in that 350 to 450 pound class. And that, that was a great year.

00:41:47:24 –> 00:41:52:28
Oh, it sounds like a phenomenal year. Sounds like you couldn’t beat it, you know.

00:41:54:11 –> 00:42:55:25
Yeah, no, it was a great year. But you know, still we took 30 guys and, you know, 19 of ’em never got a bear like that. Yeah. So it, but in no way is it an easy hunt to do. Like a lot of people think it is, you know? Yeah. They think, they think it’s easy to just go to someplace and, and book a baited bear hunt and shoot one and they, they say, well, I’d always rather do it spot in stalk. But to me you get to miss out. You, you’re missing out a lot of the fun of purposely hunting for big animals. Just like you would purposely hunt for big deer. Yeah. Just, you know, like you say you name a big mule deer or you’re trying to get a mule deer over a certain size. And to me that’s the greatest challenge and enjoyment. And you get to hunt the maximum, you know, as you get to hunt lots of days then you, you scout lots of days, hunt lots of days for those more mature animals. Yeah. And, and it doesn’t hurt the population. So it’s, it’s very similar with the bears to try and get those big ones like that.

00:42:56:14 –> 00:43:20:07
So do you have like a specific story or specific bear that you hunted for multiple years or something that stands out? I know we talked about that blonde bear and that’s, that’s quite an awesome story. And, and you know, moving 15 miles and this and that. I mean you’ve had a lot of different encounters with a lot of different types of bears and what they’ve done. But, you know, maybe, I don’t know, is there a specific instance or or hunt hunt that stands out?

00:43:20:18 –> 00:44:06:10
Well, yeah, yeah. No, we had a, we had a bear that, yeah, we called it, well now we call the bait chad’s bait because we had been after one big bear on there and for several years and putting multiple guys on him and he wouldn’t come in when a guy was sitting there, same sort of thing. He’d, he’d spot the guy in the tree and leave. And then we put this Chad, I can’t remember the last name escapes me, but he, he hadn’t hunted bears actually before. And he said he came and his cousin was gonna film the thing. Both never seen bears before. He said, well we’re gonna sit and get used to seeing the bears, but we’re not gonna shoot the first bear we see. Yeah. I said, well you never know. You know, the first bear you see might be a good one.

00:44:06:14 –> 00:44:57:15
Yeah. So they sat in the stand and this bear comes in and they’re whispering each other. He’s like, oh, a bear right there. And he’s like, man, that bear looks big. Maybe that’s a bear Mike’s talking about, well I don’t know. And then they’re standing there and crazy, crazy enough. Oh sorry I screwed that up. Where they were sitting there and they looked over and here’s a wolf at the came out, geez. And was looking at the bait site and he’s like, oh look a wolf, I’m gonna take him ’cause we can shoot wolves. Sure. So Chad was lining up to shoot this wolf and then he hears this growl and this bear charged out and swatted that wolf in the butt and the wolf took off and then the bear stood there looking around and that’s when they were like, look at that man, that looks like a pretty good one.

00:44:57:15 –> 00:45:38:21
Maybe that’s the one Mike was talking about. He goes, ah, I’m not gonna shoot my first bear, but video it. So they’re videoing it and everything and then the bear comes in and stands looking around just guarding the bait site and like, ’cause it was early in the season. Yeah. And he was looking around just guarding the site and he goes, man, that looks big. Yeah. Just whispering it to each other, I’m gonna shoot him. And, and so he shot the bear and we got in there and found that bear and yeah, he was just a giant seven and a half footer over 400 pounds. And he must’ve been killing moose calves too. ’cause he had a, he had a broken jaw. He had been kicked in the head by a moose. Geez.

00:45:39:13 –> 00:46:16:23
And his jaw was split right in half. And he had, in the video, you could see this weird white thing in it by his mouth. And it was, his bottom jaw was broken in half and his tooth was pointed out at it straight out at you. Geez. And then he had a big scars across his chest where he had been kicked in the chest by moose. And then he had his pad, his front pad was split right in half again from moose or fighting with other bears. And that’s what’s really neat about those big old bears too. He’s all scarred up in the head. He’s got bite marks in his head and they’ll be, their rear ends will be all scarred up from fighting with other bears too.

00:46:17:10 –> 00:46:19:22
Wow. Like how cool is that? It’s unbelievable.

00:46:20:00 –> 00:46:53:13
So that’s a really neat part of it too, when you can, and he was again, an old bear. They get really yellow teeth and get broken teeth and their jaws will, because the muscles will pull so much on the skull, it’ll, it’ll shift their jaw over their bottom jaw. And so you can really tell when they’re an old bear too. And the muscle, the muscle will pull on the bone and kind of pull the bone up. So that’s where the bear skulls are really neat. ’cause you’ll see the bone actually pulled up. It has all these pointy ridges on it. And that’s when you know you have a really old bear.

00:46:53:29 –> 00:47:15:26
Wow. That is crazy. There’s a lot to it. I mean, a lot more than I would’ve ever guessed. Of course. You know, that’s part of the trophy to me is, is all that kinda, all that kinda stuff. I’ve got a few deer even that, you know, have scars across their chest just like a, like a lion ripped at ’em or something and they ended up getting away or something. Just scarring and you just wanna know the history of every animal, you know?

00:47:16:22 –> 00:47:36:16
Yeah. And that’s, that’s the neat part about bears. And like for me personally, you know, I, I took that boon or bear and he was a colored bear, so I was really happy to get him and I, I had probably sat on a stands 50 evenings, like 54 to six hour sits before I finally took that bear.

00:47:37:04 –> 00:47:42:05
Wow. But you had a mind these days, you knew which bear you wanted. I mean, you were after one, one

00:47:42:05 –> 00:48:26:07
Bear, you had a bear of a certain class I wanted to get, and I would get these bears come in and look at me and leave, you know, and I’d hunt between hunters, I’d hunt before this, before I got going with all my guiding. And then I’d stay after in the later part of the season and I’d hunt for a week or 10 days in June and go for these big bears. And so I, I took that bear and a couple other big ones. So now I guess my personal goal is to, I’d love to shoot just a traditional black colored bear that weighs 450 pounds and you know, whether his skull’s over 20 inches or not. I mean, usually in our area we’ll get ’em over 20 inches, but a bear of that glass will be, should be close to that eight foot square hide

00:48:27:01 –> 00:48:40:11
Size. Well I know, I know up there in Alberta and, and whatnot, you know, there’s a lot of real thick country, which is why you guys are baiting a lot. But I mean, do do you spot in stock still or is that something you kind of gone away from and just pretty much running your baits?

00:48:41:14 –> 00:49:01:13
You know, it’s amazing in Northern Alberta how, how few bears you would ever see. They, they’ve learned to stay out of open areas, stay away from people. And I’ll be up there for two months running baits every, I’m out all the time. I might see a handful of bears in the whole season.

00:49:02:05 –> 00:49:02:13

00:49:03:03 –> 00:49:31:29
You know, I might see five, six bears in the whole in two months that aren’t on a bait site. And it’s, it’s just nearly impossible. And even those bears, most of them are little bears. It’s super rare to see a big mature boar out in the open where you could do a spot in stalk kind of hunt. Yeah. And so to do it, you really need to go to more of the, the terrain in southern Alberta and the mountainous terrain. But then often in those areas you don’t get the really big bears.

00:49:32:05 –> 00:49:41:07
What’s the chances of, like you said, you, the guy had a wolf come in like Chad did. What? I mean, what’s the chances of killing a wolfer? How many times a year does that happen out of 30 clients?

00:49:42:10 –> 00:50:28:20
That’s really rare. You know, we, if we’re hunting with meat and the wolves like that more, I mean, we got more of the wolves earlier in my bear hunting career when we used lots of meat and we didn’t use barrels. Yeah. Wolves are sensitive to that sort. And, and just guys in tree stands and small tree stands up in a spruce tree, then we’d, you know, we’d maybe shoot a couple wolves a year. But even that, you know, that was about the best we’d ever do. Wow. Two or three wolves in a year. But as soon as we start getting into bigger tree stands, box blinds or ground blinds and barrels now it’s really rare. We’ll, we’ll shoot a wolf every two or three years. And we have lots, we have lots of wolves.

00:50:29:11 –> 00:50:30:00
Tons, huh?

00:50:31:08 –> 00:50:37:11
Yeah. They just, and it’s a, we can hunt wolves year round, shoot as many as we like.

00:50:38:11 –> 00:50:39:00
Yeah, that’s crazy.

00:50:39:03 –> 00:50:41:16
And we can even hunt wolves in the winter over bait.

00:50:42:05 –> 00:50:48:13
Have you got local guys that that’s what they do? I mean that’s what, they just are addicted to wolf hunting and killing, killing wolves.

00:50:49:10 –> 00:51:04:01
Yep. Yeah. There’s some guys around here that, that do that and run some hunts like that. But even then it’s a very, it’s a very challenging hunt even in the winter over bait. It’s a very tough hunt. At best. They’re running a 50% success rate. Yeah, that sounds

00:51:04:04 –> 00:51:04:13

00:51:04:13 –> 00:51:06:00
Some guys went in lots of, that

00:51:06:00 –> 00:51:06:13
Sounds pretty, lots,

00:51:06:15 –> 00:51:07:15
Lots of stand time and

00:51:08:28 –> 00:51:09:05

00:51:09:22 –> 00:51:10:01

00:51:10:16 –> 00:51:10:26

00:51:10:29 –> 00:51:12:05
So it’s a, it’s a tough hunt.

00:51:12:18 –> 00:51:21:25
So when guys come up and kill a bear with you, like how do they, what’s it like, you know, traveling across the border and, and getting their bear home? Like how do you guys go about doing that?

00:51:22:27 –> 00:52:19:12
Yeah, it’s, it’s easy with that actually there, like for the bears, all we do is we have coolers at our place. So as soon as we bring a bear back to the lodge, then we will skin it, cut it up, and the, then we can just put a cooler with the hide and the skull in it, and another cooler with meat. And then we freeze it all in, in freezers there. And then we just tape it up and the guys just take it home on their flight home actually. Wow. Is the easiest way to do it. And they just take it as checked bags. And then no one, you know, going through the airlines, it’s just a couple of coolers. No one knows what’s in it or anything. And black bears, they actually fall under the CES for the trade and endangered species. But if they’re taken back as an animal, if the guy, the guy’s hunting license access his export permit.

00:52:19:27 –> 00:52:20:11
Oh, okay.

00:52:20:23 –> 00:52:41:20
So they, they don’t have to get any of the CES permits and the only re that they’re of course in no way an endangered species, the only reason they’re even listed under CES is, I think it’s ’cause they’re a lookalike to an, to the Asiatic black bear. So they don’t want people doing some, you know, funky trading and that with Asian bears, so

00:52:41:27 –> 00:52:42:11
Oh, okay.

00:52:42:13 –> 00:53:26:01
You know, there’s, that’s the only reason. But if, if we can, guys can leave him with our taxidermist and then if you leave him with a taxidermist, he can get it mounted, do it into a rug or even a life size and then ship it to you. But then he has to go get that CES permit to, to ship it like that. Okay. But that even that’s easy enough. The guy just gets the taxidermist, gets the permit, applies for it, gives all the license and it’s all legit and not a big deal. He just sends it back to the guy. But, or a Canadian taxidermist or generally more expensive than American ones and it can take a long time to get it done. So yeah. It’s easiest for guys just to take it, take it home with them on, on their flight home.

00:53:26:11 –> 00:53:35:12
Yeah. Well that’s interesting you brought up the meat part of it. Like do you legally have to eat the bear or take the meat? I mean, is that one of your regulations?

00:53:35:26 –> 00:54:56:01
No, we actually don’t have to, which, you know, we don’t have to to take the meat and, you know, that again gets a, a bad rap and is very misunderstood because they, they don’t make us do it. Because traditionally in the west, people, even in Western US and Western Canada, they don’t traditionally eat bear meat. And in our area and most of Alberta, they have so many problem bears that before they put in baiting problem bears were just shot on site. Yeah. Like if you, you know, and they were shot and left, nothing had to be recovered. Landowners could shoot as many bears as they like and leave them. Yeah. So they said, Hey, let’s put baiting in, let hunters hunt these bears. And you know, then they have to take the hide and the head at least utilize a part of the bear, but they don’t have to take the meat. Yeah. So that, that’s the regulation on it. But lots of guys love to eat the meat and in eastern Canada, Eastern US people eat the meat and they really like it, you know, as far as they’ll do it a lot in a roast or sausage. And so it’s just, it’s up to our hunters whether they want to take the meat or not. Yeah.

00:54:56:20 –> 00:54:56:26

00:54:57:15 –> 00:55:08:08
At least it’s not being, and I know in my zone, before baiting was put in, they were killing a hundred problem bears a year up to a hundred problem bears a year and just leaving them.

00:55:08:29 –> 00:55:25:24
That’s crazy. Well, you guys are now, you guys are overrun with bears. There’s no question about it. I hunted when I was a kid up there over bait clear up in Northern Alberta and it was, you know, same thing. I mean, just loaded. You guys have been loaded, loaded, loaded with bears.

00:55:26:08 –> 00:56:16:14
Yeah. Just has a lot of the good, the good feed. And especially in the northern, northern Alberta places and you know, the, and shooting those big board, they actually had, they had a very interesting study in northern Alberta was done with a, a biologist there and they studied a, a hunted in an un hunted area. Yeah. They had a huge, it was a big air weapons, a military base where no hunting was allowed just ’cause it was a military base. Yeah. And they went in there and studied the bears, captured them in their dens, counted like cubs and witch bears, had cubs collared ’em and all that. And then they did the same thing in a hunted area that a place actually heavily hunted by an outfitter. Yeah. And, and funny enough, in the un hunted area, Cubs survival was 20% worse in the un hunted area compared to the hunted area.

00:56:16:20 –> 00:56:17:08
That’s crazy.

00:56:17:11 –> 00:56:31:19
Because the boars will kill the cubs and then they get just, they get sacked, the population gets saturated with bears and they can’t take any more bears. So some bears have to die. Yeah. So the old die and the young die.

00:56:31:26 –> 00:56:34:06
Yeah. They’re gonna thin themselves out one way or another.

00:56:34:20 –> 00:57:11:07
So it’s just interesting where if you’re taking out those old mature boars, you’re actually helping the, the cubs survive. You know, a lot of, you know, places have been shut down on baiting because they say, well, you know, guys are shooting sows with cubs and the cubs are getting orphaned. And which just isn’t true. ’cause most of the sows with little cubs, they, they avoid the bait sites ’cause that’s where their bears are. And we don’t even, we rarely see them. But actually, you know, it’s, it’s a whole false anti bear hunting propaganda because like I say, cub survival’s better in a, in a hunted area.

00:57:11:23 –> 00:57:30:22
Yeah. That’s crazy. Well, as we wrap up here, Mike, I just wanna thank you for spending a lot of time with us on this. Learned a ton. Of course. You know, it’s hard to learn about bears without, you know, hunting them extensively. And of course, you know, it’s obvious you’ve done it and experienced about everything there is to experience with bears. Jason.

00:57:30:24 –> 00:58:05:00
Yeah, just great to, I’m a bear fanatic myself, even though, like I say, I’ve done all these other big challenging hunts and me taking a a boon or bear was as exciting as, as any big horn sheep or doll sheep I’ve shot with my bow or any big mule deer I’ve taken with my bow. So yeah, a fanatic hunter, like a fanatic mule deer guy like yourself, you’d have to be careful if you got into bear hunting, you’d be going bear hunting every spring trying to shoot yourself a, an eight footer or a 21 inch skull bear or something. Oh, you’d get addicted to it.

00:58:05:13 –> 00:58:54:05
I know it. And that’s the problem I’ve got. I mean, my, my personality type, I’m, I get addicted easy and, you know, and, and that’s the thing. I can only do so many things. And so I’ve often wanted to, you know, start cranking on elk and I’ve killed a couple of three eighties, but I wanna, you know, I want to, but I can’t just do it. I can’t just do it halfheartedly. I gotta crank full bore. And, and I’d do the same thing on barrage. Like I probably would have a mountain op supplement for ’em. I would, that’s just my personality. I’d want to grow the biggest bear I could possibly grow and, and max it out. So anyway. But just wanna to thank you for your time. Appreciate Under Armour and the sponsorship. They give Epic outdoors of course. Bringing this podcast to you with Mike, you cran, its Mike’s outfitting up there in Alberta. Appreciate you and good hunting this year.