BWCA Bear Hunting 2014 - The Plan...

The Beast’s of the North woods. Behaviors, Hunting Stories, Pictures, Tactics, Q&A.
Uncle Lou
Moderator
Posts: 8948
Joined: Sat Feb 20, 2010 12:32 pm
Location: Holly, MI
Contact:
Status: Offline

Re: BWCA Bear Hunting 2014 - The Plan...

Unread postby Uncle Lou » Tue Aug 26, 2014 12:18 pm

bowhunter15 wrote:We've really been hammering out our plans. At this point we've decided to bring two canoes. One will carry all the gear in tow until we set up base camp. Then we'll each paddle our own. We'll bring walkie talkies for safety since there's no cell reception. For my treestand, I'm bringing just a LW Assault with two mini sticks, each with webbing extensions. We'll both be using rifles. I've made an anise scent bottle by pouring an ounce of anise extract into an old scent killer spray bottle and filling the rest with vegetable oil. That anise has a strong odor. I've also started collecting bacon grease in a small vacuum sealed jar. There was a tornado that touched down today in MN with tennis ball sized hail, reminding that it's storm season. A strong waterproof tent and good rain gear are paramount. I've started researching bear calling. We leave in less than a week. [glow=red]Spirits are high[/glow].

[ Post made via Android ] Image


I love the spirits are high comment.

I am going to try to dig up an old predator extreme article (the only mag I subscribe to and don't give out to my friends, so I have it) with the bear calling article. I will copy it and email or hard copy to you when I find it, just PM where you want it.

I am following this thread. My bear hunt is gonna seem lame compared to yours.


Visit The Treestand Silencing Store
http://www.stealthoutdoors.com
User avatar
bowhunter15
Posts: 2285
Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2010 3:14 pm
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/DIY-Spor ... 3136327062
Location: Minneapolis
Contact:
Status: Offline

Re: BWCA Bear Hunting 2014 - The Plan...

Unread postby bowhunter15 » Wed Sep 03, 2014 3:23 am

It was a long night and a fun trip. No bears, but tons of knowledge gained and lessons learned. Almost ended the trip before it began by following Google Maps directions. Detailed story and video clips to come.
User avatar
bowhunter15
Posts: 2285
Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2010 3:14 pm
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/DIY-Spor ... 3136327062
Location: Minneapolis
Contact:
Status: Offline

Re: BWCA Bear Hunting 2014 - The Plan...

Unread postby bowhunter15 » Wed Sep 03, 2014 6:20 am

We're going back up this weekend and potentially once or twice more late September to early October. I don't have enough PTO built up at my new job to take any days off now if I'm taking off for Colorado elk hunting. Makes it really tough not having a consistent scent stream but its our only option this year.

[ Post made via Android ] Image
User avatar
bowhunter15
Posts: 2285
Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2010 3:14 pm
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/DIY-Spor ... 3136327062
Location: Minneapolis
Contact:
Status: Offline

Re: BWCA Bear Hunting 2014 - The Plan...

Unread postby bowhunter15 » Wed Sep 03, 2014 6:14 pm

So... we asked Google Maps for directions. The roads were fine until about 15 miles away. Then the dirt road got rougher and filled with potholes and rocks. Then it turned to grass. What was a good 20 foot wide road was now so overgrown an ATV rider would've had to duck and hold his elbows in. We were making progress at about 5 miles per hour. Then we went downhill and the trees became a mix of evergreen, clearly a swampy area. My tires started spinning. Frantically I rocked the truck back and put it in 4 wheel drive. Then I got it going and kept it going like I was plowing through a snow drift. I was going blind, hoping I wouldn't get stuck or slam into a tree. I don't know how the trailer and canoes stayed on the way we were bounding around. But we finally made it. After a 3 mile paddle, which included a wet and slippery 30 rod portage, blindly navigating through a wild rice field, and doing a little fishing, we arrived at a pleasant campsite. It was big and had all the good amenities: Fire grate, latrine, several big log sections for seats, and even a bench, plus big trees for hanging food from. It was also right along a portage, so we had the relaxing sound of rapids in the background. Saturday we paddled up 1.5 miles through the burn area until we got to another portage and start of the green woods. We scouted for several hours, marking potential hotspots, before returning back.

Sunday we went out and scouted more, heavily scenting our best spots. In the evening when we were around camp, we realized that at our current hunting location it would take us 3 hours to get out without a bear, plus another 5 to drive home. We analyzed the topo map and decided to pack up Monday morning and head back to the entry point. We had located a little access further up the river in the Superior National Forest that lead into the BWCA, and would be much closer to our hunting spots. Thus, we'd be able to pack out meat and get home faster. Well, unknown to us, there were two sets of rapids. The first we navigated through, but the second was a bit too risky, but we couldn't find a portage anywhere. We struggled back up through the first rapids and found a portage. It was a long one, bypassing both rapids in one portage. And it wasn't even on the map. Faced with a decision (if we took the long portage we'd have to take it back, in the dark, potentially with meat), we decided not to take the portage and hunt on the near side of it. That meant the areas we'd previously scented would go unhunted, while we set up new scents for the afternoon's hunt. We found several sets of moose tracks and good looking bear areas. I set up my burn over a rotted log that had been torn apart in a little clearing above a saddle connecting two dark swamps. We sat all evening through a couple rainshowers with nothing to show unfortunately.

The plan has now changed. We planned on going back this weekend and again late September. Well, if we did that, we'd likely want to rescout the new area and place new scent, meaning we'd just be starting over again. Instead, we're now thinking of taking Sept 27-28th and Oct 4-5th. That would do a couple things. It would allow us to scent the same areas two weekends in a row. Also, fall colors would be peaking. Duck hunting in the mornings would be awesome (we had already seen countless mallards in the rice). Bears would be limited on food sources, and hopefully packing in everything they can before hibernation. Some leaves might have started falling, making for slightly better visibility.

Lessons learned:
-Canoes make a difference. My canoe was only 13'6", wide, and about 80 pounds with no yoke. It was a pain to paddle and a pain to portage. Longer, narrower boats can still carry as much gear but go faster, track straighter, and glide better. We weren't doing much for sharp turns. Kevlar canoes would make the portages much easier due to their weight.
-Bring a backup stove. I did, and I'm lucky. My main stove got a clogged fuel line and quit Sunday evening. I had to use my little DIY alcohol stove to cook breakfast. That also meant I had limited fuel for the sugar burns. I had been using a liquid fuel stove, but believe a canister stove, like the MSR Pocket Rocket, would be much more ideal for this trip. It's smaller, lighter, faster and simpler. The liquid fuel stoves only really gain an advantage in cold or high altitudes.
-Bring a bigger pot. My sugar burn pot was fairly small and had no handle. It made boilovers a problem and stirring difficult without knocking the pot off the stove.
-Bring more scent. Dan said it, and I believe he was right. We brought a lot, but I plan on bringing more, particularly some of the aerosol cans that get a ton of scent in the air quickly. Also, the marshmellow/jello-mix/sugar/maple syrup burns smell really good. And they taste great, I tried some :D . In fact, after a long day of scouting when I was exhausted, I squeezed shot of maple syrup into my mouth for some quick energy. Worked wonders. That's what I call dual purpose bait.
-Hunt over fish remains. As we had discussed, it's not that baiting is illegal in the Boundary Waters. Baiting in the "traditional manner" is illegal because you'd be violating leave no trace ethics. You must bring out everything you take in... EXCEPT fish remains. Those you are supposed to dispose of in the woods well away from your campsite. They said it right in the video. There's no reason you can't hunt over fish remains that I'm aware of. So the plan might be to keep loading the fish remains into a pile, and perhaps roll some dead logs over it, then scent up the area everyday.

Even though the trip wasn't a success this weekend from a bear harvest standpoint, we had a ton of fun. The fishing was good, even though we only really caught pike. I caught one big one. I took a lot of video and think I got some really cool shots and timelapses, including a pictograph on a stone face. It'll take me a while to put together, so I may just collect the footage from our next trips and put it into one big bear season montage:

[bbvideo=425,350]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8u_naQa0iu4&feature=youtu.be[/bbvideo]
User avatar
U.P. bownut
500 Club
Posts: 538
Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2012 5:11 pm
Location: South West U.P.
Status: Offline

Re: BWCA Bear Hunting 2014 - The Plan...

Unread postby U.P. bownut » Wed Sep 03, 2014 10:01 pm

Sounds like a fun adventure and you learned a lot! I give you a ton of credit for trying such a hard core DIY hunt. :clap:
"Freedom Isn't Free"
bowguyrod
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2014 1:57 pm
Status: Offline

Re: BWCA Bear Hunting 2014 - The Plan...

Unread postby bowguyrod » Thu Sep 04, 2014 2:58 am

Lots of info to be had on bwca.com in case you haven't looked. Entry points, campsites , portage conditions even bear reports.

[ Post made via Android ] Image
Uncle Lou
Moderator
Posts: 8948
Joined: Sat Feb 20, 2010 12:32 pm
Location: Holly, MI
Contact:
Status: Offline

Re: BWCA Bear Hunting 2014 - The Plan...

Unread postby Uncle Lou » Thu Sep 04, 2014 12:56 pm

Looking forward to rounds 2 and 3. Nice pike.

And sorry I didn't get you the bear calling article before you left for round 1. I found it and have it sitting next to the computer now.
Visit The Treestand Silencing Store
http://www.stealthoutdoors.com
User avatar
bowhunter15
Posts: 2285
Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2010 3:14 pm
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/DIY-Spor ... 3136327062
Location: Minneapolis
Contact:
Status: Offline

Re: BWCA Bear Hunting 2014 - The Plan...

Unread postby bowhunter15 » Wed Sep 24, 2014 6:00 am

Round 2 is about to begin. We're leaving Friday, hoping to get to camp and set up before it gets dark. In addition to the sugar concoctions, this time we're bringing scented aerosol cans, hickory smoked bacon and cake icing scents. I've also got about a pint of solid bacon grease to fire up. The weather forecast is warm (highs ~70, lows ~52), but with a steady wind from the South. To add to the trip experience, we're bringing our shotguns along to hopefully get some mallards out of the wild rice filled portions of the river. I think we'll hit the fall colors near their peak as well.
User avatar
Black Squirrel
500 Club
Posts: 4978
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2010 2:50 am
Location: NE WI
Status: Offline

Re: BWCA Bear Hunting 2014 - The Plan...

Unread postby Black Squirrel » Wed Sep 24, 2014 6:06 am

Goodluck!
User avatar
SonofUlam
Posts: 279
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2014 3:47 am
Location: SE Minnesota
Status: Offline

Re: BWCA Bear Hunting 2014 - The Plan...

Unread postby SonofUlam » Thu Sep 25, 2014 3:56 pm

I can't wait to hear how it goes! I love the BWCA! Last time I was there was the "great storm" of July 4, 2000. Incidentally, if you're in need of a good tent, I still have a Kelty that's proven it can withstand 100 mph winds and rain. She's a tight 2 person, but she's built like a tank and stays dry as a desert. I'm only about an hour South of the cities, so let me know if you think you could use it. Good luck!
User avatar
Schultzy
500 Club
Posts: 3141
Joined: Sat Feb 20, 2010 3:46 pm
Location: Minnesota
Status: Offline

Re: BWCA Bear Hunting 2014 - The Plan...

Unread postby Schultzy » Sat Sep 27, 2014 1:47 pm

A great read so far! If you get you're bear or even see one for that matter you will have earned it and then some!! Good luck!!!

[ Post made via Android ] Image
User avatar
Jackson Marsh
Moderator
Posts: 16609
Joined: Tue Aug 17, 2010 3:11 am
Location: SE WI
Status: Offline

Re: BWCA Bear Hunting 2014 - The Plan...

Unread postby Jackson Marsh » Sat Sep 27, 2014 2:23 pm

Good luck BH15!

[ Post made via Android ] Image
User avatar
bowhunter15
Posts: 2285
Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2010 3:14 pm
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/DIY-Spor ... 3136327062
Location: Minneapolis
Contact:
Status: Offline

Re: BWCA Bear Hunting 2014 - The Plan...

Unread postby bowhunter15 » Tue Sep 30, 2014 3:52 am

The weather was gorgeous for camping, mid 70s and bluebird skies for most of it, plus some wind. Not great for hunting though. I was unable to get any primetime hours on stand. On Saturday, I canoed over an hour to get to a great swamp I found on the topo and aerial maps. The creek narrowed to the point where I was dragging it over rocks every 20 yards. I tried bushwacking over a ridge to get the last 600 yards but after about 40 yards in 10 minutes I considered it a lost cause. I backed up to a spruce swamp I had passed earlier on the outside bend of the creek. My hunting partner and I were supposed to check up on each other at 4:30 and if one of us shot. About 4:20 I heard two rifle shots separated by about 15 seconds. I turned the walkie talkie on. No response even at 4:40. I then realized we must be out of range of the cheap walkie talkies. I got down and started paddling to try and get a response. Then I decided I better bring my gear in case he did get one and needed help. So I turned around, got my stand and gear, and started paddling back. An hour and a half later I was close to his area, and still no response. I couldn't see his canoe either. It was too late to go back and try to salvage a hunt, so I waited at the campsite. Sunset occurred, then end of shooting. Then it was dark, and I still couldn't get a walkie talkie response. It was pretty calm, so I yelled his name off the top of a rock outcropping, hoping I wouldn't need to paddle back to the truck and call a search party. His name echoed a few times off the hill and then I heard him yell a response. Then he came on the walkie talkie saying he was at the base of his tree getting ready to come back. It wasn't him who shot, and he turned off the walkie talkie after realizing we were out of range.

Day two, at about 5:30 some pretty nasty looking clouds started rolling in with some strong winds. The 30mph gusts were blowing the opposite direction of travel back, and we were getting rocked around in the trees so badly we both decided to pack out early. It started raining by the time we got back to the truck, but at least we were able to beat the storm and get back home around midnight. I think the BWCA thing can be done, but I think we simply need more time than a weekend. I think scouting a new area would help too. Although there were great looking spots on the maps, we never found any distinctive bear sign like tracks or scat. It was so thick even on the high ground that walking into the woods from the river anywhere past 50 yards was ridiculous. For next year, we're considering doing another canoe trip but in the Superior National Forest bordering the BWCA, in places you can't really access without canoes, and baiting, to try and get some more experience before attempting another BWCA hunt. The trip and experience are awesome. Much more in touch with nature than using a 4-wheeler to bait and drive a few hundred yards off a road to a pre-hung stand in my opinion. The actual bear sighting part was a challenge, though.

Image
dan
Site Owner
Posts: 38585
Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2010 6:11 am
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HuntingBeast/?ref=bookmarks
Location: S.E. Wisconsin
Contact:
Status: Offline

Re: BWCA Bear Hunting 2014 - The Plan...

Unread postby dan » Tue Sep 30, 2014 4:08 am

8-) Sounds like a great adventure... It ain't always about killin.


  • Advertisement

Return to “Bear Hunting”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests