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FLY-IN BLACK BEARS – ALBERTA #294

FLY-IN BLACK BEARS – ALBERTA #294

This family-run outfitter is run by a lifelong Alberta resident and avid hunter with lots of guiding experience. When this remote outfitting territory became available, he quit his job, and he and his wife liquidated their investments to jump on this opportunity. That’s how much he likes this area. As he told us, “if you don’t have a world class program to start with, it’s just not worth doing!”

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This family-run outfitter is run by a lifelong Alberta resident and avid hunter with lots of guiding experience. When this remote outfitting territory became available, he quit his job, and he and his wife liquidated their investments to jump on this opportunity. That’s how much he likes this area. As he told us, “if you don’t have a world class program to start with, it’s just not worth doing!”

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A different outfitter had been successfully hunting the area up until 2010, when a huge wild fire tore through the area unchecked and sent that outfitter packing. The area had only been hunted one season since then, until this new outfitter purchased the rights, sight unseen, in early 2017. A total of 8 clients hunted the area on an exploratory basis for 2 weeks in May 2018. Six of the eight hunters shot big bears (18”-20”), and another arrowed but failed to recover 2 different giants. Spring 2018 was their first year of full operation, and the area revealed more of its true potential, with more big bears going home with happy hunters.

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This massive area is a mixture of old- and new-growth forest (as a result of the big fire in 2010), and is adjacent to a huge river system (bears like to walk shorelines, and these bears also love to feast on the abundant beaver population!) and one of the largest national parks in the world. This is a recipe for both numbers of bears and big bears. In fact, everything is there to produce B&C and P&Y giants, and they also have some color phase bears in their population.

We sent Don Sangster from our Canadian office up there on a hunt to check out the operation in May 2018. He reported a good population of bears that are largely unafraid of humans. In fact, the monster boar pictured above was taken by one of the guides – in self-defense! – while Don was there. The bear charged while the guide was checking one of the baits and trail cameras, and the guide shot him at just 15 feet! He weighed 375 lbs. (which is BIG for a spring bear) with a 20” skull and 7ft. squared hide. Don reported having to throw sticks at smaller boars that came too close while Don and his guide were checking baits, and Don even had to yell at a cantankerous sow that wanted to pay him a visit in his tree stand. The camp dog also worked overtime to keep bears away from camp at night.

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Don says the camp is better equipped than any fly-in he’s ever seen or even heard of. Check out this list of equipment, most of which had to be flown in: large, canvas wall tents with lights, wood-burning stoves, cots, and even rugs; an indoor shower with hot water; a large and clean outhouse; a large ocean shipping container (“sea can”) for bear-proof storage of gear; 2 generators; 2 ATVs; 2 side-by-side ATVS; 2 ovens for cooking; 2 washing machines for doing laundry (!); 2 freezers (they have two of everything in case one breaks down); and even a dart board!

They pre-scout with trail cams and bait extensively using various ingredients and methods, starting about 2 weeks ahead of any hunters arriving. Roomy and solid double-wide tree stands and ground blinds are set up suitable for bow or gun, as the dense brush means stands must be close to bait sites. In addition, each bait site will have a trail cam on it, allowing daily checking of activity. This ensures that you will be sitting active baits.

Spring in the North Country means close to 20 hours of daylight, but most bear activity tends to occur in the late afternoon. As such, dinner is served at 3:00 PM each day, and you start heading out to check baits and cameras and getting to your stands about 4:00 PM. You will still until close to 11:00 PM, and be back at camp around midnight for soup, sandwiches and desserts. Breakfast is served around 10:00 AM.

This is a wilderness camp with the best of equipment, in an un-hunted wilderness area with big old black bears that are totally unfamiliar with hunting pressure. A second bear can be taken, and a wolf tag is also included in your license package. If you tag your bear early, you can then sit over a wolf bait.

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2019 PRICING (subject to change without notice until deposit received; all prices in USD)
$4,900 for 7-day hunt (group rates available). A second bear can be taken for $2,500 and a wolf for $1,500.
Observers/Non-Hunters – $200/day

INCLUDED:
Bush plane flights in and out of camp; baiting; lodging; food; 2×1 guiding.

NOT INCLUDED:
Travel to/from your home to Fort McMurray, Alberta; overnight hotel accommodations in Fort McMurray; Bear License (about $400, including wolf tag and second bear tag); 5% tax; firearms rental ($250); taxidermy; meat processing; gratuities.

DATES:
May 11-18
May 18-25
May 25-June 1
June 1-June 8
June 8-16

GETTING THERE
You will travel to Fort McMurray, Alberta (Air Canada and WestJet fly direct, or you can fly into Edmonton instead and drive about 5 hours to Fort McMurray), and overnight in a hotel (reserved for you by the outfitter, but at your expense). You will fly out to camp on Saturday morning by small plane, with return the following Saturday. The flight is less than an hour.

LICENSES
The outfitter will acquire your licenses for you ahead of time and have them waiting for you in camp.

GETTING YOUR WEAPON INTO CANADA
You are allowed to bring your personal firearm with you. This includes your rifles, shotguns or muzzleloaders (NO HANDGUNS!). For your firearms, a simple one-page form is required to be filled out to obtain a temporary Canadian firearms permit. This form can be down-loaded or mailed to you well in advance from The Royal Canadian Mounted Police at www.cfc-cafc.gc.ca. Click on the link on the left hand side for visitors/non-residents, then download the NON-RESIDENT FIREARM DECLARATION (form RCMP 5589/CAFC 909). Completing this in advance should reduce your time clearing customs. DO NOT SIGN IT UNTIL YOU APPEAR IN FRONT OF CUSTOMS, but fill it out. A confirmed declaration costs a flat fee of $25, regardless of the number of firearms listed on it. It is only valid for the person who signs it and for those firearms listed on the declaration. It is a simple form to fill out. NO FORMS ARE REQUIRED TO BRING YOUR HUNTING BOW INTO CANADA! IF YOU HAVE A DUI OR A CRIMINAL RECORD, CALL US! YOU MAY BE DENIED ADMITTANCE.

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WE ARE HUNT-NATION – HONEST ADVICE HONESTLY GIVEN 307-637-5495                           email: info@hunt-nation.com   www.hunt-nation.com

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