Published by archerchick on 07 Jul 2011 at 08:55 pm
QUEBEC BEAR AND BULL
Story & Photos By Roy Goodwin
Standing face to face with a 300 pound black bear at 20 yards
had my heart pounding like Indian drums. I had come to full draw
as he walked into the little clearing just above me on the riverbank.
He knew we were there and stared at me with those beady little eyes
as he closed the distance from 25 to 20 yards. I couldn’t move, I could
only wait for him to turn away to leave and then hope to slip my arrow
in behind his front shoulder. He didn’t move. The seconds ticked off like
hours as I held my 70 pound Ben Pearson Renegade bow at full draw.
The bear kept staring into my eyes while smelling the cool fall air for a
hint of what I was.
The idea of bowhunting black bear by stalking them on the ground had been
formulated the year before. I was hunting at the Delay River North Camp in the
northwest portion of Quebec with my long time hunting partner, Ray Moulton.
We were guests of Bob Foulkrod, US marketing manager of this bowhunter-only
camp, specializing in trophy caribou. Bob accompanies all hunters at his camp
and, as prior clients from his Ontario bear camp, he had asked us up for what
was to be the first year at this new operation.
Aside from hunting, we were to video tape
the camp and the animals to make a video for
Bob’s promotional use at future shows and
conventions. The prior hunt was great. We
took two Pope and Young caribou each and
shot hours of great wildlife video. While
there, we also noticed a sizeable population of
Hardly a day went by when bear weren’t
spotted feeding on the blueberry-covered hill-
sides that bordered the river valley. It didn’t
take a lot of convincing to get me to book a
bear/caribou combination hunt for the following year.
To give me plenty of opportunity to take a
bear on the ground, I booked a full 10 day
hunt rather than the five days customarily
booked for caribou. Having been on eight
bear hunts, I was well aware of all the things
that could go wrong. I wanted to allow myself
every opportunity to take a bear — and if possible
a record book bear! In the previous hunts
I had taken one mature bear, but it didn’t
make the minimum score for entry into the
Pope and Young record book. I really wanted
this hunt to end differently.
During the year between hunts, Ray and I
formed a video production company and purchased
all new 3/4-inch broadcast quality
video gear. We also released our first video
production, Caribou Experience, from the
source footage taken at B0b’s camp during
our first trip there. While we had captured
hundreds of trophy caribou on tape, the production
lacked the arrow strike kill shots so
important to the marketability of a hunting
video. It was a simple task to convince Ray to
join me for the second trip. With all our new
gear we would attempt to produce the ultimate
caribou video. We felt confident, based on
last year’s experience, that we could fill our
caribou tags easily within a few days. We
would then film other hunters in camp and
concentrate on finding me a trophy bear.
Plans made and gear packed, we were finally
on our way.
From our homes in central Massachusetts,
it took about six hours to drive to Montreal.
There we met a commercial flight that hopped
its way north to Scheffersville. Once at the
Scheffersville airport we were picked up by a
van and driven across town to Squaw Lake.
It’s here that most float plane traffic for
hunters and fishermen for the entire region
Once at Squaw Lake our baggage was
loaded onto skid racks and weighed in preparation
for loading into the float plane. Every
load is carefully planned. If the plane has extra
carrying capacity with hunters and gear
aboard, then that weight is added with camp
The only form of transportation in this region
is by expensive float plane, so no wasted
space can be afforded. While the loads were
readied, we busied ourselves purchasing licenses
and tags as well as grabbing a hot meal
at the cafeteria. Finally we boarded the Beaver float
plane for the last leg of our long journey.
Two hours later we landed at camp.
As the Beaver banked the last time to set up
for landing in the river in front of camp, I
couldn’t help feeling I was coming home. The
first year’s hunt, camp, and most importantly
the guides and cook were so great I’d hated
leaving — coming back gave me a warm feeling
inside. Having heard the planes approach
we were greeted by the full welcoming party.
Bob, the guides and the out-going hunters
were all on the floating dock anxiously awaiting our arrival.
Warm greetings, unloading. hunting re-
ports, and reloading out of the way, the plane
taxied to mid-river and took off. The hunt was
about to begin. We scurried to get our gear
stowed in the guest tent, dressed in our camo
gear, and put our archery and camera gear
Soon we were loaded and headed up-
stream with Bob at the controls of our
freighter canoe. We accomplished a little
filming that first afternoon, but no shots were
attempted as we felt we had plenty of time and
no large wall hangers cooperated. The day
ended with a fine meal and formulation of a
game plan for the following morning. So that
Bob could concentrate on the caribou hunters
in camp who had but four days left, it was
decided that Ray and I would hunt bear the
After an early breakfast we loaded our
gear into a canoe for the day ’s journey. Several
bear had been spotted downstream in the past
week including one large one. Rosier, a new
guide in camp, would be our chauffeur.
As we glided slowly downstream we continually
glassed both banks of the river. The
heavily forested river bottom rapidly gives
way to rising tundra hillsides in all directions.
It ’s on these hillsides that the greatest delicacy
for black bear can be found — blueberries!
The ground is literally covered with them.
And, the combination of the blueberries,
cover, and the river, acts as a magnet to bear.
Within a few short miles we spotted a huge
bear. Checking the wind, we decided to motor
well downstream of the bear’s location to
start our stalk. It would be quiet a hike with all
the camera gear through heavy timber, a small
bog and finally up a steep hillside. We hiked
about seven miles that day, saw three bear,
shot a little film and got three days worth of
exercise -— but no bear.
The next morning we decided to limit the
hiking by taking a stand on some caribou trails
at the rivers edge. From here we were in position
to film several other hunters and hope-
fully hundreds of passing caribou. It worked!
We got two arrow strike kills on film, and
filmed several hundred animals. Toward the
end of the day we also spotted a huge black
bear on the opposite bank of the river coming
down a game trail to water. The next morning
we would try for this bear.
Day four started early as we headed up-
stream before 7 a.m. We wanted to get into a
good position to glass the riverbank area
where the bear was spotted the night before.
Shortly after eight o’clock the bear ambled
into view, then proceeded to the river. He
drank. bathed, and relaxed at the waters edge
for quite some time before retreating into the
timbered fringes of the river valley. Bob decided
to go for the bear while Ray and I filmed
from across the river. Bob’s plan was to quietly
get into position downwind of the bear’s
trail and wait. When the bear went down to
drink from the river, Bob would stalk toward
his trail and ambush him on his return trip. It
worked like a charm, and the scenario was all
recorded on video tape, including three arrow
strikes and the bears expiration at full stride.
To minimize the disturbance of the migrating
caribou, Bob hauled his bear downstream
closer to camp for pictures and field dressing.
It was during the field dressing that I happened
to spot a big bear working his way to-
ward us. He was walking up-wind, but was
too far away to be effected by our scent. We
decided to cut inland and stalk around him to
get the wind in our favor. This bear would be
mine if I was lucky.
After stalking for a half-hour, I was staring
down the bear at 20 yards. The bear kept
smelling the air trying to decided what I was,
while I stayed at full draw and Ray filmed
away. I wanted the bear to turn to leave before
shooting, but he was in no hurry. After the
longest 45 seconds of my life, I decided to try
a frontal shot. I’ve helped skin out many bear
and realized this was not as good an angle as
broadside, but there would be no choice. Besides,
the bear was several feet above me and
only 20 yards away, How far could he go after
a Thunderhead 125 tipped aluminum shaft
had passed through him lengthwise? Fifty
yards. We bagged two nice bear in one day
with bow and arrow, stalked and killed on the
ground, and filmed it all on broadcast quality
video. We celebrated heavily that night!
For the remainder of our trip we filmed
thousands of caribou — including some nice
trophies harvested with stick and string. But
the big bull I had returned for had eluded me.
Finally, on the last day of the hunt a wide-
racked old bull passed my blind at 10 yards.
He didn’t have the double shovels and back
points I was looking for, but had as high and
wide a rack as I’d seen.
Again, the Thunderhead did its job. Passing
through both lungs the arrow continued
out the other side of the bull about 30 yards.
The bull barely made 12 yards proving the
effectiveness of a properly placed shot. The
bull turned out to be a fine trophy green scoring
over 395 Pope and Young points.
Once again we hated to leave this place.
The hunting was the best, both in quantity of
game sighted and quality of trophies harvested.
Good food, good friends, good fishing and good
weather put the icing on the
cake. Yes, I’ll miss this camp until I return
Editors Note: Bob Foulkrod no longer guides
at the Delay River Camp, but hunts can still be
booked there through Bob Foulkrod’s Bow-
hunting Adventures. He can be contacted at
R.D. 1, Box 140, Troy, PA 16947.
Delay River Outfitters can also be contacted directly.
Address inquiries to J.A.
Layden, President, Delay River Outfitters,
P.O. Box 7217, Charlesbourg, Quebec, Canada GIG SE5.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
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