2018 Bear Hunting Summary
Mountain Oak Outfitters nineteenth year is over and the bear hunting has continued to roll along with great success. As the spring hunt was nearing, winter was unwilling to release its grasp on Manitoba. It was mid-April and the trails were plugged with snow and the temperature was still reaching -20 C some nights. With no time to waste I put the tracks on my ATV and began clearing the trails and making repairs to the equipment at the bait sites. We needed everything ready to roll by May 7 when the first group, out of the nineteen spring hunters were to begin their hunt.
The May 7 group consisted of four returning hunters and one hunter that would be experiencing his first hunt with Mountain Oak Outfitters. The first bear of the year showed up in the skinning shed on Tuesday night. It was a 275 lb. black. We weren't able to retrieve the second bear from day 2 until Wednesday morning. It had been shot very near dark and with no blood to follow we decided to leave it until the next morning. As I walked up to the bear on Wednesday morning I could see that something was wrong. The bear had been cannibalized by another bear. This was the first time in our nineteen years that we had seen this happen. The bear ended up weighing 380 lbs. with 21 1/4 inch skull. The third bear of the week was 255 lb. black with a fourth bear coming in on Thursday. The final hunter for the week never managed to see anything that he was willing to harvest and therefore went home empty handed. We had six hunters in for the second week of the 2018 spring hunt. After being on several bear hunts and his third hunt with us, Steve Rollins finally got to see a colored bear. The jinx was gone and that colored bear went home with him. We picked up one more on Wednesday and another on Thursday. Having three guys left hunting on Friday night is something we rarely experience at Mountain Oak Outfitters. James Juckette with nerves of steel has harvested a 300 lb. plus bear on the final night of his hunt two years in row. This year he waited until the final 15 minutes. We also got a 290 lb. black that night. The third week we had two fathers with their twelve year old sons and a couple of their friends in for a hunt. The first young fellow was able to harvest a bear on the first night out after seeing four bears. We also picked up a 255 lb. black on Monday night. Tuesday we brought in one more and on Wednesday there was a 263 lb. bear that entered the shed. After being very patient for three days the other twelve year old boy harvested a beautiful cinnamon colored bear on Thursday night. The boy’s dad was able to tag out on Friday night after sitting through a fifteen minute hail storm in the afternoon. There were only two hunters for the fourth week of the spring hunt. After hunting for three days and seeing about fifteen bears both hunters were able to fill their tags. Although the bears were not feeding as aggressively as they generally do in the spring we ended up with a very successful 2018 spring hunt. The fall hunt looked like it was going to be good right from the outset. It was a week of bow and crossbow hunters. We snagged two bears on Monday night with the biggest one weighing 330 lbs. The second night of the fall hunt we brought in the heaviest bear for 2018. Ben Nace was able to harvest a 450 lb. black with a well-placed shot. We also had a 375 lb. (guessed weight) bear taken that night. We found him deep in dry swamp where we were unable to get an ATV and our sleigh into. It was much easier to go back the following morning to skin and haul him out. On Wednesday there was a 322 lb. bear that came into the skinning shed. We ended up the fall hunt with a very nice chocolate bear on Thursday evening. The bear sightings for the week ended up at 43. It’s hard to believe that next year will be our 20th year in the outfitting business. We have met allot of good people over the years and now most of our business is provided by hunters that have previously hunted with us. The 2019 spring hunt is only a few months away. Get Ready.
Opportunity: 100% Success: 92%
Black: 20, Cinnamon: 2, Chocolate: 1
AT OR ABOVE P&Y STANDARDS: 10 bears