Good Prices, Good Hunts On Vancouver Island


Published: July - 2006

Let's face it, black bear hunts on Vancouver Island tend to be rather pricey when compared to other destinations. But it is also the place to get a crack at a record book black bear. So, wouldn't it be great to find an operation out that way that produces monster black bears at a significantly lower price than other island operators?

Enter outfitter John Sievers of San Juan River Outfitters. I'll get into the pricing on his hunts in a minute. First, let's talk about what you get for your money. The answer is: an almost sure crack at a big bear, a jet-black one (no color phases here) with a good-sized body and pumpkin-size head. About 95 percent of all the bears Sievers' clients harvest meet the SCI Record Book minimum of 18, and every year one or two of his bears make the Boone & Crockett minimum of 21 inches. Over the past several seasons, skulls have averaged 19 4/8.

The average bear taken here squares just shy of the seven-foot mark, hovering around six feet and nine or 10 inches. The two bears harvested while I was in camp, I should note, squared just over and just under seven feet, with the "smaller" of the two skulls green-scoring at B & C level. Live weight of these bears is in the 300- to 400-pound range in the spring and 350 to 500 pounds in the fall. Success rates have been 100 percent in both seasons, including this spring, although Sievers is quick to say that he does not guarantee hunts.

These hunts are spot-and-stalk affairs, with no baiting of any kind. In the spring, you spend both mornings and evenings driving the many logging roads and glassing clear-cuts where the winter-depleted bears emerge to feed on the new grass. Or, you may go downhill to the sea, where big bears stake their territory in the tidal estuaries. This makes for an adrenaline-soaked adventure when conditions are right and you can stalk close to scavenging and grazing bears in the moist terrain.........(continued)

 
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