"Finding an outfitter who is producing good black bears at a reasonable price is tough these days. It's tougher still to find such an outfitter who's operating in an easily accessible area. Enter guide Lee Greenly of Minnesota Wildlife, who has been guiding black bear hunters for the past nine years. Greenly hunts roughly within a 25-mile radius of Sandstone, which is located on Highway 35 midway between Duluth and Minneapolis/St. Paul. The area is in a "no-quota" zone, and nonresidents can buy a tag over the counter for $166.
"About 90 percent of the hunting takes place on private ground, while 10 percent is on public land. In Minnesota, it's legal to bait bears, and Greenly baits several sites in advance of the August 23 to October 15 season. By the time hunters arrive, the bears are accustomed to visiting the baits. Hunters can use rifles, bows, muzzleloaders or handguns, and most shots are five to 55 yards from tree stands. You can bring your own portable tree stand or use the permanent ones Greenly has built in some areas. Access to the bait sites is by boat, ATV or 4wd vehicle.
"Accommodations can be arranged at the Hinckley Holiday Inn Express where Greenly has negotiated a special price of $35 per night (normally $89 on weekends) or at the Gold Pine Motel where his special price is $29 per night. I stayed at the Holiday Inn Express and was pleased with the room and service. There also are plenty of restaurants in the area, and the Grand Casino, an Indian gaming establishment, is only a mile from Hinckley.
"Over the past nine seasons, Greenly has hosted four to eight hunters each year, and until last year, his success rate was........(continued)