This outfitter has been in business for over 20 years and has been featured numerous times on big name TV hunting shows. He’s a long established and capable outfitter. We have worked with him on his bear hunts for a number of years.
The outfitter hunts along the Lochsa River out of a base camp with a series of cabins and a base lodge. His second option is a tented wilderness hunt for 2 bears from tent outposts. He has a third hunt out of his regular ranch lodge, which has a one-bear limit with up to two turkeys. Spring hunts take place between mid-May and late June while Fall hunts occur during the month of September.
Like most baited black bear hunts, you only hunt in the afternoon, since this is when about 90% of the bear activity happens on the baits. They have tree stands and ground blinds set up weeks in advance so the bears have time to get used to the bait area, making them more likely to come in during the daylight hours. They normally establish each bait for well over a week before anyone hunts over it, in order to ensure the best chance possible at a nice mature bear. To access the baits they use vehicles, on foot, horseback, and even rafting across the river to reach many never before baited spots. This is an any-weapon hunt, so one bear can be taken with a rifle and next with a bow, or even a pistol. On occasion they will do a mid-day hillside hunt to watch some open canyons that bears may be using to do some grazing earlier in the day.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE WILDERNESS TENT CAMPS DO INVOLVE THE USE OF HORSES AND ARE MORE PHYSICALLY CHALLENGING THAN THEIR OTHER BEAR HUNTS. He also has a fall hunt which offers spot and stalk and hounds as a backup – ask for that separate write-up if interested.
BASE CAMP LODGE OR WILDERNESS TENT CAMP (UNIT 12)
The Lochsa River area they hunt is a wilderness area that has become overrun with bears and Idaho Game and Fish is allowing two bears to be harvested in the spring. They are almost giving the bear tags away at about $31.75 per tag. The hunt is over bait and is easily accessible via a long day’s drive from much of the US and the west coast. Hunting takes place in the Selway-Bitterroot country of central Idaho. There’s fishing nearby, too. All hunts are fully guided. Stay at the remote base camp I cabins, or horseback a modest way into the wilderness tent camps.
“We have treestands and ground blinds set up weeks in advance so the bears have time to get used to the bait area, making them more likely to come in during the daylight hours. We establish each bait for well over a week before we ever have anyone hunt over it, in order to ensure the best chance at a nice mature bear. To access the baits we use vehicles, on foot, horseback, and we also raft across the river to reach many never-before baited spots.
This is an any-weapon hunt, so one bear can be taken with a rifle and one with a bow, or even a pistol. On occasion we will do a mid-day hillside hunt to watch some open canyons that bears may be using to do some grazing earlier in the day.
We do very well on this hunt at around 90% success, with opportunity easily reaching 100% annually. Bears on this hunt average from 5’10” to 6’6” in length, we will take some each year getting up to 7 feet long, with our largest being 8 feet. The bears this time of year tend to weigh in around 200-300 pounds. We also average about 50% on color phase bears. This hunt is 5 days and includes all lodging and meals.”
Base Camp Hunts: We have sent many clients on these hunts. On these base camp hunts, you hunt afternoons over bait. Because you don’t get back to camp before 9 or 10 at night, morning is used to rest or maybe go fishing. The outfitter uses horses or 4WD vehicles to reach the bear hunting areas. Normally you stay in the cabins and eat at the lodge if you are hunting from the river location.
SPRING BASE CAMP : TWO BEAR/WOLF HUNT – $3,500 (price subject to change without notice)
DATES: Late May to Early June. These are Monday-Friday hunts, but you can go forward or back a day or so if needed.
FALL HUNTS: Price is only $3,000 per person, 2×1 guiding for 5-day hunt, including guiding, meals and lodging. Observers/non-hunters are $750. Please add 6% Idaho State Sales Tax to all fees. Price does not include License ($164.75) or Bear Tag $186. The tags are over-the-counter and are guaranteed, so NO DRAWS to enter!
WILDERNESS CAMP HUNTS – JUNE This differs from the base camp hunt. The outfitter utilizes classic, comfortable wall tents. Hunting is over well-maintained baits in the Selway-Bitterroot wilderness area. It’s a short two hour horseback ride to camp. Outfitter states that this area is so vast and has such a high bear population that you have an opportunity to be able to take two bears in this unit. Some hunters have even taken two bears in the same evening.
A typical day involves a hunt in the afternoon with pick up sometime after dark depending on whether other hunters have bears down. You return to camp, have dinner, sack out and sleep late. Wake up, have a late breakfast and a late lunch before heading back to the stand. Stands are both ground blinds and elevated stands, depending on the bait location and choice of weapon (bow or gun). Taking two good bears is not a common event, but it happens every year to fortunate hunters. Most clients will get a chance at least at one bear, however. Consider the second bear a bonus and, besides, who wants to sit in camp?!
DATES: These are Monday-Friday hunts, but you can go forward or back a day or so if needed.
WILDERNESS SPRING: TWO BEARS/WOLF HUNT – $3,500 (price subject to change without notice)
• TWO BEARS PER HUNTER
• HUNT IS OVER BAIT STANDS IN EVENING (returning to camp after 9 or 10 PM)
• LOW-COUNTRY CABIN ACCOMMODATIONS or wall tents (Wilderness Hunts)
• FULLY GUIDED WITH TWO HUNTERS PER GUIDE
• MEALS AND LODGING FURNISHED (BRING A SLEEPING BAG AND A PAD FOR COT)
• COLOR PHASE BEARS AVAILABLE
• HUNTER SAFTEY REQUIRED IF BORN AFTER JAN. 1, 1975
• TROUT FISHING IN THE RIVER, IF NOT FLOODING
PRIVATE LAND SPRING BEAR/TURKEY COMBO HUNT – $3,500 (price subject to change without notice)
This is a great hunt as well. Over the years during elk season, they noticed the large number of bears on their two ranches, so about 10 years ago they started putting out some bear baits in the spring and it was a huge success. This led to a spring ranch bear hunt; this is a one-bear area and is a combo with up to 2 turkey tags. This hunt takes place in north-central Idaho on both their ranches in units 13 and 14; one camp can accommodate 4 hunters at a time and the other can accommodate 6.
Access to the baits is fairly easy, usually drive right up to them by 4-wheeler. This is an any-weapon hunt, so do archery, rifle or even pistol. As for success on the bear hunts, they do very well, around 95% success on this hunt, with opportunity reaching 100% most years. Average bears are from 5’10” to 6’6”, with some going 7 foot and larger. They also average about 50% on color phase bears. They range from dark chocolate brown to cinnamon, blonde, and red.
This hunt is 5 days and includes all lodging and meals. You usually bear hunt only in the evenings and then turkey hunt in the mornings when the birds are coming off of roost, generally on your own because the guides are checking baits that time of day. In the evenings, they listen and can easily locate the birds so they can get you setup in the right place for the morning. There are lots of turkeys on the ranch (Merriam’s) and they rarely have trouble getting our clients at least one turkey during this hunt. You normally will need a SLEEPING BAG!
Butch and his wife Joan did the fall spot-and stalk-bear hunts several times at this location, and saw 12 (Butch) to 26 bears (Joan) in 5 days. If interested ask for the Fall Writeup on that hunt.
Spring Bear/Turkey Combo Hunt
5-Day Spring Lodge Bear/Turkey Combo Hunt – GUIDE RATIO: 2×1, but you can book solo.
GEAR: Any weapon 1 bear, baited hunt & up to 2 turkeys (tags not incl.) $3,500 (price subject to change without notice
PRIVATE LAND FALL HOUND HUNT/SPOT & STALK HUNT $3,500 (UNIT 14) (price subject to change without notice)
They offer a very unique bear hunting experience with their fall hound/spot & stalk hunt located along the Salmon River breaks at their Whitebird and Joseph camps. During the month of September, the areas here hold thousands of wild plum trees which fill every canyon on the ranches with some of the tastiest wild fruit around. Bears come from the surroundings mountains down to the ranch in order to fatten up for the winter.
You will go out in the morning and try to catch a bear with the hounds. Hounds make for some very exciting hunts and tend to be very successful with the heavy bear population on the properties. This hunt can be done by using any weapon you choose, could be rifle, bow, or even pistol. Then in the evenings, you will sit out on the hillsides and glass for bears walking into the plum thickets. The hillside hunts usually produce shots in the 200-400 yard range, so it’s strictly a rifle hunt. You hillside hunt over canyons filled with the large wild plum orchards, which the bears come down to in the evenings. You will watch the bears cross the hillsides in search of the ripest fruit available, and then try to get within shooting range.
Outfitter says you usually see around 95% opportunity on this hunt, with about a 90% success. The color phase on this hunt is about 60%, running from dark chocolate brown to cinnamon, blonde, and red. Average bears are from 5’10” to 6’6”, with some going 7 foot and larger. The bears also tend to be fatter this time of year, pushing them up into the 300-350 pound range, with some getting up to 400+ pounds. This hunt is 5 days and all lodging and meals are included.
NOT INCLUDED IN ANY HUNTS:
Idaho Sales Tax 6% and Forest Service Tax 3%
Non-Resident License: $154.75
Bear Tag: $186.00
Backcountry Bear Tag: $31.75 (2 bear hunt only; you need two tags)
“I did see a couple of bears, one really, really big one! But I did not attempt the archery shot. The weather was really cold and rainy the first three days of the hunt, which did not help us at all. Overall though, the country was AMAZINGLY beautiful, the lodge and the food were great, and the guides and the cooks were second to none! I truly had one of the best weeks of my life. I’m not disappointed in the least that I didn’t shoot a bear. The experience was wonderful! Thank you for setting me up on another awesome hunt. I’m really looking forward to the archery antelope hunt coming up in September.” – Bob
“Butch- Thank you for sending me on this bear hunt. It exceeded every single expectation I had. If I could change anything, I would not!! My 73-yr old Dad took a great bear with a nice white V on its chest. I saw blonde bears, cinnamon bears, chocolate bears, but not a single black one!! Unbelievable. My guide was superb, everyone was friendly, helpful and worked long and hard. The best hunt-Thanks!” – Mike M.
“My own first bear hunt was with this long time outfitter, although Hunt Nation has worked with them for years. I found the guides and camp folks to be uniformly personable and very willing to go the extra mile. There were 4 of us in camp. Two of us killed, and one guy wounded one that was not recovered. The fourth guy left early. I saw two bears and took a very nice blackie, and saw another. I had a ball!” – Adam. M.