Subscriber Kevin Paulson rebooked a Manitoba bear hunt for 2010 with outfitter Harry Walker of Sandy River Outfitters. That's after taking a chocolate-phase black bear with a 19-plus-inch skull (which should make the Pope & Young book) this past May with a bow over bait. "This was my second hunt with this outfit," says Paulson, "and I am continually amazed at the quality of the bears. My bear was exceptional in every way with a thick skull, a great coat and, at over 450-pounds estimated weight, the trophy of a lifetime." Paulson says eight of the nine hunters in camp took bears, and four were exceptional. Two were estimated in the 500-pound range (one taken by a 15-year-old on her first bear hunt should be really close to making B & C), and two estimated in the 450-pound range, including Paulson's. This was the third chocolate he had seen in the area, and another was taken in camp that week. Paulson reports that he saw 18 bears in six days of hunting and filming.
According to Paulson, about half of Walker's clients are archery hunters, with the rest a mix of rifle and muzzleloader hunters. Most of the hunting here is done from elevated stands over some 70 bait sites scattered across what Paulson says is 3,000 square miles of potential hunting territory. The country is largely flat with only a few small hills and the hunt is not physically challenging. "Anyone can make this hunt regardless of their physical condition." Paulson tells us the stands are set between 12 and 17 yards from the baits, and are mostly open, though a few are enclosed for comfort if the weather turns bad.
Paulson tells us that the dates for his hunt (May 23 - 31) was pretty much prime time for this area. He says interested hunters should schedule hunts here from about May 1 to June 10. After that, depending upon the weather, the coats can be a bit rubbed.
He says Walker knows his territory and his bears, and his team has been........(continued)