Vancouver Island Bear Hunt Gets Rave Review


Published: June - 1998

Late this past April I spent four days on a truly outstanding bear hunt on Vancouver Island with outfitter Eric Mikkelson of Courtenay, British Columbia. He controls a huge hunting area encompassing at least a third of the northwest coast of Vancouver Island. The concession is so vast that I doubt if Mikkelson will ever explore all of it. The country is steep and heavily forested to the water's edge. The bear population has exploded following extensive logging in the area and both bears and hunters use the logging roads for access. Two other hunters were in camp during my hunt, and each hunter had his own guide. While I was hunting, I didn't see any other hunters, or for that matter, anyone else. Mikkelson is a fine guide, and the other hunters were very pleased with their guides.

I saw about 50 bears, including some bigger than the one I took, but they had rubbed spots. I finally selected a mature male with a very long, lush, jet-black coat. He was on the beach of the open Pacific Ocean, grazing on grass at the upper edge of the sand. I stalked him through the driftwood at the high tide line to about 40 yards, and was able to place an instantly fatal shot using an improved .375. The other hunters saw similar numbers of bears and were equally successful. Everyone used big bores, since these bears are apparently quite tough and can be very difficult to track and find in the very dense undergrowth in this area. Mikkelson told me two earlier hunters this year hit and lost bears using .338 WinMags. Mikkelson recommends using bigger rifles. My bear was average for this hunt, the hide squaring at six feet, 10 inches and the skull measuring 19 1/4 inches.

Hunting is conducted from Mikkelson's two custom aluminum hunting boats, from pickup trucks, from ATV's and on foot. The hunt can be as exerting or as relaxed as the hunter desires. I could imagine this hunt as being a very fine option for a handicapped hunter. The weather........(continued)

 
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