Cabral's Idaho hunts are well organized, pleasant and productive. Clients fly into Missoula, Montana, on a Saturday afternoon, overnight in a motel minutes from the airport, then head for Cabral's base camp in Unit 10 of the Clearwater National Forest early Sunday morning. Early spring bear hunts mean a seven-hour drive through the Bitterroot Mountains because snow will likely still be blocking the roads over the high passes. If not, the trip will take about 2½ hours.
Cabral's base camp is a comfortable collection of log cabins with canvas roofs. There is a cookhouse (the coffee is always on) and several smaller bunkhouses. Showers are available, but there are no flush toilets. Electricity is provided by an efficient (and quiet) generator-and-battery system.
Cabral puts out over 100 baits, and all the baits he sets his clients over are first-time, "active" baits, which means bears are actually using the sites, and they have not been hunted. Baits are visited and replenished every morning or afternoon, and the crew keeps a close eye on bear activity around each site.
Baits are set up to accommodate bowhunters, handgunners, muzzle- loader hunters or riflemen. On a recent hunt of my own, I was armed with a .375 H&H Magnum Ruger No. 1 rifle, so Cabral put me on stands that were anywhere from 50 to 150 yards from the bait. Other hunters were as close as 20 yards from their baits. Tree stands and ground blinds are utilized as appropriate to the hunter and the site.
This is an easy and productive hunt. Hunters ride to their bait sites on well-trained mules each afternoon. Guides accompany........(continued)