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Having hunted Black Bear across the Northern United States, Canada and Newfoundland with varying success and satisfaction, we have been actively trying to expand our Agencies portfolio in order to offer such to our clients. Despite numerous attempts we really struggled to accept what we had seen as being appropriate so were delighted to identify a superb location for Bear Hunting in Quebec which is unique in both the volume of animals and also the nature of the hunt itself.

In addition, our Outfitter operates in a stunning yet accessable region with over 1000 lakes and numerous local visitor attractions in relatively close proximity to the hunting area which is located within a National Park, so this superb location is somewhere families can enjoy too!

The credentials of your Outfitter

To set the scene then, first consider that your Guides are two of Canada’s foremost biologists with some 25 years experience in this specific region having managed the Wolf Bear Moose and Caribou programs for conservation and management on behalf of the Canadian Government. The location is a 4000 square kilometre Nature reserve and Park where Sophie and Rowland had previously worked for many years conducting research on a variety of species during which time they constructed over 150 bait sites with high seats and towers in order to assess and control the various populations. These were positioned across known rides actively used by generations of Black Bear so your positioning really couldn’t be better!

When the hunting rights came up for tender, who better to take that over than they guys responsible for previously managing the area and for the last eleven years they and their team have enjoyed a 100% success record with their clients on Black Bear. Records like this are often claimed by Outfitters, especially for Bear but in this case it happens to be true.

We have always endeavoured to extend exciting and unique hunting opportunities to our clients and have repeated the legend that there is no substitute for local knowledge, so where better to hunt your bear but in a nature reserve where only 40 hunters are accepted during a three week season?

Pre-hunt preparation and baiting

Pre-hunt preparation and pre-baiting starts 4 weeks before the first clients arrive since each site has to be maintained and repaired as appropriate, paths cleared and bait stations primed and checked by hand, after which they are monitored for bear activity every 2-3 days. The scale of the location and number of sites is such that more than half are not even hunted each year although the large number of high seats and relatively modest number of guests mean that opportunities are maximised in order to provide you with the best possible opportunity. Hunting is hunting though and during my time in Quebec I didn’t notice any tied to trees!

Pre-baiting is a laborious process and some 13 tonnes of chocolate cookies are used during the season, but the process allows an insight as to which are the most active locations for hunters to sit, after which it’s random chance! During my visit I was hunting with a group of five Guys from Norway and each of us had at least one bear, three took two and all of us had multiple opportunities during a five-day hunt.

Accommodation and facilities

The accommodation is self catering and chalets are selected in accordance with the size and mix of each party. Since Quebec is less than an hour away and Montreal a couple of hours drive further north, family groups or those looking to add a different dimension to their visit may welcome the flexibility of hiring their own vehicle in order to tour and explore, otherwise airport transfers and transportation between the hunting grounds is included in the package.

The cabins themselves are clean, modern and comfortable, each located within the Reserve itself. This is a popular tourist destination and therefore your home from home is somewhere that is maintained to a high standard since they are also offered as holiday lets throughout the year too. This isn’t a wooden shed in the back-end of beyond although groups of chalets are modest in number and therefore still retain that rustic wilderness feel without being too far off the beaten track.

Aside from the cabin itself, each location will have access to its own private lakes. The one our Norwegian clients used had sole access to five lakes where fishing and canoeing are a welcome distraction from the hunt itself. Catch and release is one option although with fish of this quality it seems criminal not to savour some during your visit, although each has to be weighed and accounted for, such is the attention to detail when it comes to animal management and conservation in Quebec.

How the hunt works

Behind the scenes your hosts and the team will check a variety of bait sites each morning for recent activity in order to place you in an area where bears are known to be frequenting. Once a site has been hunted it is unusual for it to be used again that year. By way of background this is something which we have had problems with in other locations where the same few places are used week in, week out.

Flogging that same dead horse gets old but here in Quebec the volume of bait stations built up over the years is such that this is not an issue!

Hunters are taken to their high-seat in mid afternoon at which point fresh cookies are deployed and the hunt commences. Your guide will take you to the location and show you to your high seat before leaving you in the forest. The seats are atop ladder-based tree stands and while comfortable enough, are small and discrete so you blend into the background. This isn’t a spectator sport and while there are a handful of double stations, those are generally reserved for less-able clients who may require assistance during their visit so if that’s you, no problem, but this is not somewhere non-hunting guests can sit and observe from since there are so few.

I must stress that alone means exactly that so please don’t freak out as one of our clients did a few years back when he was placed in position.

“They left me alone” he exclaimed on his return, “And there’s Bears in those Forests!” – yes there are, plenty of them, it’s a Bear Hunt after all, besides, you will be armed and effectively hidden within line-of-sight of a feeding station which will be circa 30-35m from your position.

Why so close? Nobody seriously wants to injure an animal and this range makes compensating for poor light conditions easier to deal with, besides, some clients prefer to use a Bow and ranges have to be optimised for them too. I should also add that hunting at night is strictly prohibited..

You can expect to be in your high-seat by circa 3pm after which you wait for your opportunity and if successful (and your location benefits from some cellphone service) then you can call in to be collected and you can recover your bear, otherwise you will be picked up shortly after dark, depending on your location, proximity to other hunters and their respective success during the evenings sport.

Hunting takes place in June and daytime temperatures can be in the mid to high 20’s. If several bears have been shot then that will extend your time in the forests until they have all been collected. You may be quite comfortable in shirt sleeves during the day but warm woodland environments are also home to all manner of biting insects and as such I’d suggest a face net and light gloves to avoid being eaten to death by mosquitoes and similar and you will want a jacket of some description once the sun sets as it will get cold quickly after dark!

Once night has fallen you should stay in your seat and wait to be collected. We may all be very worldly and I’m not suggesting any of our readers or clients would loose their bearings and get lost, but some have in the past and this isn’t the place to be wandering around alone in the dark for obvious reasons! Personally I found that some medicinal chocolate and a couple of apples came in very handy and it’s nice to have a drink with you too. Please remember your head-torch also which will become invaluable after sundown!

Once back in camp the bears are weighed and processed with the meat being highly prized locally and with good reason, it’s excellent, like beef but better! I also found the attention to detail in terms of trophy preparation to be exceptional with fur and skins being frozen for collection later by the local taxidermist who specialises in bears of all descriptions. Simple menu pricing makes budgeting for taxidermy simple and the quality of workmanship was superb.

To summarise, this is a stunning location in a protected game reserve. Bear numbers are significant and our guides have extended local knowledge of the forests based on over 25 year’s direct experience of working with the local big game species. While there can never be any guarantee when it comes to fair chase hunting, I would be very surprised if you didn’t get a reasonable shooting chance. Furthermore, the location lends itself nicely to family holidays as well as a ‘Boys Own’ adventures with guns!

Package information for Black Bear Hunting in Quebec:

These hunts take place during 3 weeks of June and provide for 5 evenings in a high seat. Days are your own and various activities including fishing and canoeing are available since you will have sole access to your own lakes, and accommodation is in comfortable wood chalets and cabins, all of which are self-catering. Airport transfers can be arranged at extra cost or you may prefer to rent your own vehicle since this is a stunning National Park with much for visitors to see, especially if travelling with families or non-hunting guests!

5-day Packages cost $3900 Canadian / gun for groups of two hunters reducing to $3500 Canadian for 4 and additional bear may be taken for $1000 Canadian subject to availability since there are only 10 additional permits per year and these are issued on a first come first served basis.

More information, images and movie clips can be found as always at www.TheHuntingAgency.com and if you would welcome a conversation without obligation, please call Roo on +1 512 466 5880, thank you.

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