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First Bear Hunt By Kyle Schafer Mid-Michigan Chapter Safari Club International Front Sight Magazine.

By: Tippmann Outfitters
Posted on April-05-2012

One afternoon when I came home, my Dad asked me, "When does your summer class at CMU start?"  I said it starts at the end of June.  I thought to myself, "Why is my Dad asking me this?", not having any idea that he had a bear hunting trip planned.  The next question that my Dad asked me was if I would want to go on a bear hunt and of course, I asked how much, when, and where?  Before I even thought about my answer, my Dad said, "I know you are in college and don't really have a whole lot of cash."  

He offered to pay for my hunt and without a second thought, said I would love to go. The hunt was in Malartic, Quebec and we were planning to leave on Saturday, May 30th of 2009 for
a 13-hour trip for the hunt from May 31st through June 5th.  There were six of us going.  Scott Holmes, Scott's cousin, Jeremy Davis, and Mike Strope left on Friday and Kip Cotter Jr, my Dad, and I left on Saturday.  We used map quest as a reliable source for directions (but it wasn't the greatest choice).  The roads in Canada are something else. Some have signs and some don't.  I would definitely recommend a GPS for a trip to Canada because we managed to get side tracked and snowed upon but the roads go on forever up there with just roads, trees, and wilderness. We managed to make it to our destination in 14 hours.

When we arrived at Tipmann Outfitters, I didn't know what to expect. We pulled into the lodge at about 2 a.m. on Sunday. The first thing Kip, Dad, and I did was jump out of the truck because we were exhausted, cramped up, and in pain from such a long, frustrating drive. We walked into the lodge which was nice with a basement and upstairs. The basement was finished off with a family gathering area that had a fireplace, flat screen plasma TV, a kitchen, and washer/dryer.  Jack Tipmann, our guide, walked out as we sat down and looked around. We started having small talk about bears and what we were hunting with and all that jazz. We finally went to bed at about 3 a.m.

The first day we hunted from 5 p.m. to dark and managed to see some bear. I saw my first black bear at about 9 p.m.  It was about a 125 pound bear that must have just left his mother. Dad didn't see anything at his blind nor did Kip, Scott, or Mike.  Jeremy and I were the only ones that saw some black.  We got back to the lodge and sat around and talked with it being only our first night and we were still hyped.

The second day we went and did some baiting with cake and scoped out some new spots in the afternoon. We went out to hunt at about 5 p.m. and sat until dark, but someone managed to shoot a black bear.  It was me. I couldn't believe that I shot a bear. 

It was such an adrenaline rush and hyped up feeling that I can't even explain. It's just something that you need to experience if you truly love hunting. This bear came in at about 6:30 p.m. straight ahead of me through some thick forest. He was paranoid and was scoping the place out. It was nasty out that night, raining, windy, and overcast. He ended up going back from where he came out of and for some reason I knew that he would be back. Man those bear videos do help because sure enough at about 7:15 p.m. he came back out, walked up to the food barrel, and started chomping away. I wasn't quiet sure about his size but saw his big old fat head and knowing they just came out of hibernation that they wouldn't be that big.

Well, the bear stood up and put his paws on the top of the barrel and I said to myself, "I'm pulling the trigger". I then pulled the trigger on my .270 caliber rifle. Within five or ten seconds, I don't know how long it was before I heard the death moan. I was so pumped I shot a bear it was unbelievable. I couldn't sit any longer in my blind because it was so early and I wanted to get down. Scared that the bear wasn't dead made me nervous so I finally got down and ran to the truck with a bullet in the chamber of my gun, no joke, at about 8:30 and took the truck up the trail to the old man's blind.  (Tim Schafer)  He heard me coming and got down and I said, "I shot a bear" and he told me "Yea, I heard the shot."  He said, "Just stay in the truck for an hour and I'll be back." I said OK, OK ... feeling like I was jacked up on caffeine or something. So I waited in the truck, couldn't sit still at all to save the life of me. 

Finally it was that time we all met up on the trail and talked with Jack and saw how everyone did.  Jeremy and Kip Jr. had seen bear.  Kip managed to get a shot at one.  We tracked it for about an hour and came up unlucky.  Jeremy saw a couple bear and Scott saw a big sow and two cubs.  We got back to my blind and Jack put the dog on the scent to find the bear.  We managed to find the bear about 20 yards from the barrel.  To be honest, the first thing I said when I saw it was "Wow!  It looked a lot bigger from the stand."  Jack said the bear was about 200 pounds and about 7 and a half years old.  Got back to camp, cleaned the bear up, and left it out because it was still pretty chilly up there in June.

The third day, woke up and got some pictures taken with my bear. I didn't know what to do.  I already shot my bear and didn't really want to sit at the lodge all night while the other guys were out hunting. The old man said to come with him."You seem to have good luck with seeing bear." I did see four bear in only two nights of hunting. I went out and sat with Dad. Time passed and I was getting bored with not seeing anything and about 7:30 I started moving around as it was hard to get comfortable. At 9:00 my Dad spotted his first sign of black coming out straight in front of us.

It was a big sow and two cubs. It was too dark to get them on film but it was nice seeing some more black bear in action. They came directly to the barrel and started chomping on the cake.  That cake sure did smell good from the stand. I can't imagine how good it smelled to the hungry bears. Jack came and picked us up at dark and the bears ran off back from where they came. That night was the first night we had good weather and the bear were moving.  Jeremy saw a couple of bear again. Scott saw the same sow and cubs. 

Mike got a shot with a muzzleloader at a pretty decent bear, the first bear he had ever seen in the wild. Mike brought both his bow and muzzleloader because he wasn't sure on what to use, and it paid off with the muzzleloader. We went and tracked Mike's bear, threw the dog on the scent of the bear and found it.  Mike's bear was about 225 pounds.  Even Mike couldn't believe how much smaller the bear looked on the ground than from the blind.  We all went back to the lodge and talked and drank a couple of beers.

On the fourth day we went out and did some morebaiting and checked out a few possible new stands for the guys. We headed out at about 5:00 p.m. again that night. Mike and I went and sat in the blind where I shot my bear hoping to maybe get some bear on film and maybe see that big Mac daddy. Well time passed on and we got skunked that night. We didn't see a bear but it was good to sit out and chat with Mike for a bit. Jeremy saw a bear that night. Kip didn't see anything.  Dad didn't see anything. That night no one got a bear but there was still some time left in our hunt. On the fifth day of the hunt, Mike and I decided to stay at the lodge and relax.  We sat back and watched some movies.  Time passed by and before we knew it, it was getting close for the guys to get back. It was about midnight thirty and the guys arrived back at the lodge.  We waited to hear the stories. Dad managed to get a shot at a big, nice, black bear they brought back to the lodge to get cleaned up. It was kinda nice enjoying the laziness and vacation knowing that I didn't have to help with cleaning the bear and doing the hard work.  Dad carried on with his story and fame for the night.
He shot the bear he called a Volkswagen at about 9:00.  He said it came in off to his left from some thick brush.  Man, you wouldn't think that such a big animal was so sneaky and stealthy.  When Dad pulled the trigger on the .270 on him, he was quartering away so he put it back about 6 inches from his shoulder and shot. Dad decided to take out the .270 because the bow wasn't cutting it.  I think he just wanted to show me up and knew that the .270 was dead on.  It proved to be.  Jeremy who was hunting with a long bow managed to get a shot at a small bear. Jeremy decided to go natural and hunt with a classic long bow.  They tracked the bear but didn't fine anything. Scott managed to get a shot on a big black bear with a muzzleloader.  He decided to switch up from the bow to the muzzleloader after us guys all talked about what to use.
On the sixth day we went out and tracked Scott's bear through some thick, thick stuff.  By this time the bugs were out and biting like crazy.

 We walked through some thick and wet stuff, but weren't able to find the bear.  It was the last night of hunting so Kip Jr., Scott, and Jeremy went out for the last night.  Kip ended up shooting a female bear that was pretty decent in size about the same size at Mike's bear.

They cleaned the bear up and got some quick pictures and threw it into the freezer because we were heading out in the morning so we could get home.The next day we left the lodge at about 8:00 a.m. and had to make a stop at Daniel's house, the guy who previously owned the lodge that Jack bought it from to pick up our bears from the freezer.  We got everything packed up and we were on our way home.  

It took us about 13 hours to get home. We managed to make up good time and had no troubles crossing the border to get back home. This trip was a great time and Tipmann Outfitters is a very good outfitter that I would recommend. We saw a total of about forty different bear.  Jack is a hoot and the area was beautiful. If you truly enjoy hunting and wildlife, I would recommend a trip to Tipmann Outfitters in Quebec.
This was a once in a lifetime trip and hunt.
If you ever get a chance to go, go. You won't be disappointed!     

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Article By: Tippmann Outfitters
Malartic, Quebec, Canada

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