By Paul Morrison
Little girls dream about being a beautiful bride, while little boys dream of outdoor adventures. I was fortunate enough to watch both dreams come true for myself and my new wife, DaLisa, on June 11th on our black bear “huntingmoon” in Canada.
The vows were said, the cake was cut, and we were finally on our way to Quebec, Canada for our dream bear hunt/honeymoon. We spent over 18 hours on the road with only a couple pit stops along the way to check out a couple moose and bears we encountered along the way.
Upon arrival, our guide and fellow hunters greeted us and showed us around the beautiful Peribonka Lodge. After a quick lunch and shooting our bows to ensure accuracy, we loaded up the truck and headed out for our first hunt. We followed our guide through the winding trails, across a small creek, and arrived at our first bait site. The stand was high in 3 pine trees and large enough to seat a small family. It overlooked a small creek and had dense forest all around.
We settled in for our first hunt with high anticipation of seeing our first black bear. The squirrels managed to keep us entertained for the first hour, but the sound of running water from the stream finally proved too much for my wife. She laid her head back to rest on the tree but just before closing her eyes she caught sight of movement to her left. We froze as what appeared to be an “enormous” black bear with a small white patch emerged from the woods and approached the barrel. After taking some time to calm our excitement, better judgment prevailed and we realized this was not the bear we were after. We kept the cameras rolling while he left and came back 3 different times through the evening hunt. As the shadows lengthened, the first night of our hunt concluded with one bear sighting.
Day 2 proved to be a little better with 2 bear sightings, but nothing as large as the bear we saw the night before. Other than that, Day 2 was pretty slow. On Day 3, we once again found ourselves in a roomy treestand overlooking a different bait site. We were surrounded by dense woods and a small creek to our left. We waited patiently for 2 hours before our first bear appeared on the trail coming straight in to the barrel directly in front of us.
With cameras rolling, the bear tore into the barrel, grabbed a large amount of bait, and ran about 15 feet away to feed. Having seen the bear next to the barrel, we guessed the bear to be around 200 pounds. And for her first bear, my wife was more than happy to let an arrow fly.
Waiting with bow in hand, the bear finally presented an optimal shot. All the preparation paid off as she sent an arrow down range, hitting the bear right behind the shoulder. The bear tore off at a run back the direction it had come. Moments later we heard the death moan proving once again how deadly archery hunting can be. After 10 minutes of hugs and high fives, I realized it was still early and though shooting 2 bears in the same night had crossed our minds, it was just now becoming a possibility.
Reaching down and picking up my new Mathews Halon, my hunt was officially started. Twenty-five minutes later, a small bear appeared, and for the next 30 minutes we enjoyed watching him explore the woods coming in and out of our site. Just as he disappeared for the fourth time, we caught movement to our right. Thinking it to be the small bear, I didn’t get too excited. But when he emerged into the clearing my heart skipped a beat when I noticed he was a significantly larger bear.
Making sure all cameras were running, I settled in to make the shot. However, before I could send an arrow downrange a squirrel appeared out of nowhere, challenging the bear for his food. But with one swat of his large paw, he sent the rodent scurrying. Turning back towards the barrel he finally presented a broadside shot. Wasting no time, I picked a spot, aimed hard, and sent the arrow on its way. The arrow hit the mark as the bruin let out a snarl and scampered off into the timber.
Even though I felt I had made a lethal shot, it was music to my ears to hear the unmistakable sound of the bear crashing, followed by a death moan. Turning around to see my new wife beaming from ear to ear realizing we had accomplished our goal of 2 black bears in one hunt on film made the celebration even sweeter.
After climbing down from our stand, it took little time to follow the short blood trails to our trophies. Collectively the 2 bears ran about 70 yards. They weighed in around 200-230 pounds.
With 3 days left on our huntingmoon, and not ready to leave bear camp yet, we spent the remainder of our time fishing, grilling bear steaks, and swapping stories of hunting black bear with our fellow hunters at camp.
Not a bad way at all to spend our honeymoon!