Vancouver Island Area Should Have Big Bears


Published: May - 2003

Since the 1980s, British Columbia's Vancouver Island has been recognized as a premier black bear hunting destination. But a large chunk of the island has gone virtually unhunted for about the last 10 years, leaving a population of big, mature bears basically untapped. That's about to change now. Seems outfitter Darren DeLuca has just purchased this 2,000-square-mile concession and is now running hunts here. The area lies on the southwest end of the island and was formerly owned by Zarco Wildlife, which ran as few as 10 to 12 bear hunts a year, instead of the 40 to 50 DeLuca says the area can support.

If DeLuca's name sounds familiar, it's because he has guided on Vancouver Island for the last 15 years. He first worked with his father-in-law Wayne Weib, who owned all the hunting concessions on Vancouver Island and sold them in the early 1990's. One of those concessions went to Jim Shockey of Pacific Rim Outfitters. DeLuca was included in that deal and guided for Shockey for a number of years, as well as for Bob Welsh and Dave Fief, also on Vancouver Island. Now, DeLuca has started his own outfitting company, called Vancouver Island Guide Outfitters, and he has set up shop in Management Unit 1-8 and part of 1-7.

This area is riddled with streams and creeks where the salmon spawn and the bears come to feed on fish and the vegetation. DeLuca says clients should see from five to 10 bears a day, and at certain times in the spring may see upwards of 20 bears on some days. He also expects clients to take some very old, big boars. In fact, he thinks his hunters should be able to kill bears with at least an 18-inch SCI skull, the minimum score for the record book, and he expects numerous 19-inchers.

DeLuca's hunts are spot-and-stalk affairs, using 4wd vehicles to work around the mountains and access clearcuts and logging slashes in search for bear sign. DeLuca says he will have scouted for and located several large........(continued)

 
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