Big Bear Country Outfitters is a relatively new operation, taking bear hunters only since 2005. It's owned by a young couple, Jason Packer, 26 (he's been guiding since he was 18), his wife, Jenna and her father, Steve Overguard. Overguard is a long-time outfitter for whitetail deer, mule deer, moose and elk. He also runs a fishing outfit called Tapawingo Lodge, which has twice been positively reviewed by subscribers to our sister publication, The Angling Report (www.angling report.com). Big Bear Country Outfitters has exclusive rights to WMU 539 along the Alberta/NWT border. Belongia tells us that, though Packer and his guides are young, they run a smooth and professional operation. "My personal guide, Craig, was excellent in all aspects," says Belongia.
The hunt is conducted from baited stands (mostly metal ladder stands with some permanent wooden platform stands) spread out over a vast territory. According to Belon- gia, he traveled from 20 minutes to over an hour by truck to his different stands, not counting time on the 4-wheeler to actually reach the stand. He saw multiple bears in each location he sat. "Packer is adamant about getting good bears for his clients," he says. "He's clear about waiting for a bear that is taller on all fours than the 50-gallon barrel used for bait. He takes only a maximum of two bears per bait site, then shuts that stand down to maintain trophy quality at seven feet or better."
We talked to Packer, who says he maintains about 65 bait sites throughout the season. Though he has........(continued)