A Rave Review for an Alberta Black Bear Hunt with Trophy Stalkers
By Jens Valdemar Krenchel, Hunting Report Subscriber
(A black bear hunt in Alberta may not sound very exotic to some, but it certainly was for this group of hunters from Denmark. Here is what subscriber Jens Valdemar Krenchel had to say about this hunt with Ross Kinch of Trophy Stalkers.)
I owe reporting on this hunt to The Hunting Report, as it is the direct result of Tom McIntyre's article on wolf hunting opportunities in November 2011 (Article ID 2745) that made this hunt happen. Having read that article, and since I was going to the US on a business trip anyway, I was in contact with Ross Kinch of Trophy Stalkers in the spring of 2012. Due to my business trip and planning, it did not work out. But I told two good friends about this, and because Ross has black bear hunting as a leading activity they took my word for it and said, "Jens - we are going black bear hunting. Let's do it."
So eventually, we were four good friends going together, two of us bringing our wives as well. So, six in total. We were more than excited. Not only because of not having hunted on your side of the Atlantic before, but also because bears are not in Denmark where we all come from. So having read hunting stories, information and watching hunting movies, we were not really 100% sure what to expect. After arriving in Edmonton (flying Copenhagen-Toronto-Edmonton) we had a night there and were picked up Saturday, May 11th by Ross Kinch, exactly as arranged.
As I had never met Ross before, and as I was responsible for the success of five other people, I must admit I felt quite relieved when his truck with company logo came in front of the hotel. Even though I had no reason to have any fears, not least since his recommendation by The Hunting Report, I never the less was slightly relieved. We were driven about 600 km north of Edmonton to the camp. As we are not used to tent camps and were equally unsure of what to expect, it too proved to be a pleasant surprise. We slept two in each tent in good comfort and with heating in the tents. Ross was personally in charge of making us feel comfortable, and we sure did.
One of the real highlights was that a bathing facility had been set up. Standing under blue sky and the sun in a very good wooden bath feeling the heated water cleaning you is beyond description. If I should have a "complaint" it should only be that our wives felt so pampered that they thought we should learn a little from Ross and guides Tom and Wyatt.
A large number of baits had been prepared in advance of our arrival. Already on the first night we were placed where good chances where thought to be and two good 6-foot bears were taken on the first evening. I saw what I thought was a great bear, even took video of it, but it never presented me with a shot that I felt comfortable taking. They called my bear "the bucket thief." It had indeed developed a technique where it came over the timber logs behind the bait, carefully judged surroundings then went fast and resolutely down with its paw, put a claw at the rim of the bucket, caught it and ran away. So only a quick frontal shot presented itself, and I was not comfortable with that.
Having previously taken shots that I subsequently knew I was actually uncomfortable with I have learned to restrain myself. So, I asked to get that same bait again the next day, as I felt pretty sure that it was a nice one. So on the second day of the hunt we emptied the bucket on the ground and put the bucket in the open so the bear would have to clear the timber logs. As the evening went on, the bear came in cautiously as it had the day before. It truly looked puzzled as it was there on the logs and the bucket was not where it used to be. So, it took a leap forward and gave me a frontal quartering shot. I broke its right shoulder and took out both lungs with my .340 Weatherby with a 250 grain Rhino bullet.
Much to my surprise, the bear ran 15-20 feet before ending its days, although it was well cocked from the bullet impact. On that second day, one of the other hunters enjoyed a bear with yearlings playing around at his bait site. The yearlings got so close, and it was very hard to scare them away, that my good friend surely got quite an experience. In the following days we all subsequently tagged out, averaging 6-feet and with one 7-foot bear.
As I tagged out quite early, I tried one outing for wolf, and would, of course, have improved chances with more outings for that purpose. But we also felt like relaxing and having a good time, so the two of us that tagged out early chose to sit with our two other good friends at their baits, and we all had very enjoyable days.
In camp we were taken very good care of. Food was good at all times of the day, and Ross took good care of the girls while Tom and Wyatt were out guiding for us hunters. The girls one day borrowed Tom's car and ventured into the nearest town (couple of hours away) which was a great experience.
All in all I'd like to thank The Hunting Report and Tom McIntyre for opening our eyes to Trophy Stalkers and Ross Kinch. I think that the most relevant way of wrapping up our experience is to say that we are already planning our return to Canada and Ross Kinch.
Postscript: You can contact Kinch at 403-932-6013 or 403-815-5644.