By Justin Jones, Editorial Assistant
We recently received two subscriber reports on black bear hunts in western Canada, one on a spring hunt in Alberta, and another on a fall hunt in Manitoba.
Subscriber Claudio Dipietro filed a report on a successful five-day black bear hunt with Steeprock River Outfitters (http://www.steeprockriver.com/
; 204-281-1500) in Manitoba in September. The only recent report we have on this outfitter is from Eric Arnette in 2013 (see Report 9440
), who says that he has hunted with operator Wayne Bass multiple times, and strongly recommends his outfit. Steeprock River operates in an area with a high percentage of color-phase black bears, and Dipietro chose to hunt with Bass for that reason. He tells us:
"I was specifically interested in getting a chocolate color phase-bear. I did some research and spoke to Wayne Bass, deciding that Manitoba would give me a good shot at one of these bears. Between 30% and 40% of the black bears in the area are blonde, cinnamon, or chocolate. Because the forest in this part of Manitoba is so dense, all hunting is over bait.
"Within two days, 12 of the hunters in camp had taken a bear. I got a look at quite a few, including another chocolate-colored bear, before selecting one to harvest.
"Wayne Bass and the other guides are experts and have a good setup, and the Bass family makes guests very welcome. He uses trail cameras to identify potential trophies. Great food, too. They have over 2,500 square miles of area to hunt. It takes a long time to get to the camp, but there are more bears than people out there, so that's where you want to be."
We called Wayne Bass to check on availability. Bass tells us that he will not be hunting in the fall this year, but says that his spring season runs about five weeks starting in early May and, as of press time, he still has a few spots open for the third week of May. He says that the price runs at about $3,400 for the week, $3,000 each for groups of four or more.
Our other report came from subscriber Adam Biondich, who took a six-day hunt in late May with North Alberta Outfitters (http://www.northalberta.com/
; 780-369-3733). Biondich was accompanied by his young son. He writes:
"This was my second time with North Alberta Outfitters. On my first hunt I was unsuccessful at getting a moose, but I was impressed enough with their operation that I wanted to come back to hunt bears, and I'm glad I did.
"My son and I enjoyed a very good hunt. I took a nice black bear with a 19 1/2-inch skull on my second day of hunting, and my son, who was not as choosy about which bear to shoot, took his on the first day. We both took bears that were black in color, but a few other guys on the hunt had seen blonde bears.
"The Fosters, Troy and Lisa, run a great service here. The whole family creates a good, hardworking outfitting service. They also have a beautiful lodge with plenty of space, and the food is great. All hunting was within an hour of base. Perhaps the best part of this hunt is that you can take two bears. I was able to take my son along at the regular price of $4,000, so that was a great deal for us. This is a good price for a two-bear hunt."
We spoke briefly to Troy Foster, who says he generally takes six to eight bear hunters in the fall, and as many as 24 in the spring season. He says he is about 75% booked for this spring's bear hunts. Foster also offers moose hunts, although he is already booked up for this season.