Got up to the camp for the fall bear hunt that opened August 15th. The five brothers have a camp 20 miles north of Kirkland Lake. A log cabin that was built in the fifties. We added a bunkhouse after we bought it and every year have made improvements.
New dock original cabin with bunkhouse added inside sleeping area
This is the morning view out the cabin door and the evening view
Some of the fish caught over the years
This year we put in a new kitchen and window over sink New back deck for storing hunting gear New cover over front deck
Despite the work put in we managed to get out and hunt. The yearly ritual of sorting through the trail camera photos from each of the eight baits to determine (in our own minds) the baits we liked consisted of going through hundreds of photos which included ravens, chipmunks, squirrels, lynx, wolf, and of course .....bear. Our philosophy is to have every person a chance at a bear. Accordingly, after seeing the camera photos, we draw for picking order. Any person who did not get a bear the previous year is in the A pool ( first ones to pick). All others are in the B pool. Each pool member draws a card to determine picking order within the pool. Selection depends on how you feel about the bait from previous experience and of course the trail camera photos. I didn't shoot a bear last year because I only saw small bear so I had first pick and then the others drew cards.
The first evening was interesting when a small bear came in to the bait. Chipmunks and squirrels entertained me while I listened to the ducks quacking on the lake. Finally it was too dark to shoot and I decided to turn on my light to look at the barrel...crap...there was a bear between me and the bait ...10 yards from me. All I caught was a black blur as he set a new land speed record in getting out of Dodge. The consolation was that I had been quiet enough for him to come in and he didn't get my scent. Of course I still had to walk out in the dark, get back to camp and change my underwear. Back at camp the others had seen bears but nothing big enough to shoot.
The next night was a repeat of the first with the small bear coming in again. Then with minutes of shooting light I saw a bear coming down the hill to the rear of the bait. I checked the video camera....drat ...not enough light. He came to the bait but didn't present a broadside shot. In fact, he continued towards the tree stand and stopped 10 yards away. The wind had been swirling a bit and I could see he was a bit cautious. Then he stood up on his hind legs and stood there sniffing the air....neat stuff.....darn... no camera. I'm worrying that shooting time was near an end when he drops down and returns to the bait only to walk behind it and turn as if to go back up the hill. After a few seconds (seemed like hours) he decided he wanted a donut and came back to the bait. With minutes of legal shooting time left he turned broadside and I shot. He went back behind the bait and within seconds I heard a couple of death moans. After a few minutes to settle down I got out of the stand to look for blood. He broke the arrow and there wasn't much blood but 20 yards later I was standing over a 240 lb. bear.
The next morning was spent processing the bear and getting the packaged meat to the freezer in the trailer park across the lake. And getting the ribs prepared for the feast that night.
Brother Russ and ribs ready for the bbq. We ate bear ribs, fresh caught walleye, home made spaghetti and sauce, home made chili and beer can chicken among our meals that week.
The second night my brother Larry shot a 275 lb. bear with a huge head. Bears are scored with head measurements and it had a green score that suggested it would make the Ontario record book at least. It was an old male with massive front end and relatively small hindquarters. The third day the weather turned on us. Daily rains and winds that hampered the hunting and certainly put a crimp in Larry's and my fishing. Brother John (aka Mooseslayer) took a shot at a bear only to have a clap of thunder startle it as he shot resulting in a shot a bit farther back than he liked. He decided to back out and not spook it. Driving a boat back to camp in a driving rain wasn't fun for him and the other brothers (Russ and Paul) who had been out as well. Of course Larry and I were in front of the woodstove with a glass of Irish feeling lucky we already had our bear. The next morning after a night of rain we had no blood trail but good tracking of crushed vegetation and broken sticks (especially by John) resulted in a found bear. Unfortunately wolves or another bear had eaten about 20 lbs of meat from the hindquarters (the good stuff) but we took it back to camp and salvaged most of the meat.
Rainy weather and winds made for miserable conditions for Russ and Paul and they didn't get a shot at a decent bear.......A pool next year.
All in all a good trip. Of course it is always good to hunt with brothers. The three bears this year brings the camp total to 58 bears.
My 240 lb bear Larry's 275 lb bear The five brothers and Larry's bear