By Chad Eckhart
-- Four of my friends, Dr. Yale Conley, Bob Dunbarger, Jim McCay, Dennis Lehmann and I decided to take a crack at bear hunting. We really did not know what to expect during our adventure with Kim Tiringer of Larson Lake Outfitters located in Spiritwood, Saskatchewan.
Kim and his family made us feel at home. Yale and Robert each harvested a bear during the first evening hunt while Jim harvested his bear during the third day. Seeing my friends in camp with their bears and excitement on their faces really meant a lot to me.
My bear did not come until the fifth and final day of our hunt. My hunt went down to the wire, but it was not from a lack of trying. On the fourth day, I sat on stand from sunrise to sunset with no luck. Everyone in camp was amazed that I could hold out that long.
The final day, my guide Blaine Tiringer took Dennis and me to Pelican Lake First Nation Indian Reservation to hunt. It just so happened that I sat in the same stand that Russell Thornberry, Buckmasters editor-in-chief, used to harvest a black bear a few years ago. I'm a big fan of Buckmasters and was truly excited to use this stand.
The stand set up was perfect, and I had a light wind in my face and the sun at my back, which was perfect for the direction the bear tend travel in this area. The stand was nestled between two big spruce trees. I was dug in like a tick and prepared to sit until dark.
As I sat there determined to hold out all day, a bear appeared out of nowhere and was under my stand before I realized what was going on. The bear circled out of view and my heart sank. For a brief moment I thought my day was over. Then suddenly the bear reappeared. I had 10 minutes to study the bear and verify that it was not a sow with its cubs. I could tell this was the one for me. I placed the Leupold crosshairs on the bear, took a deep breath and the Ruger MKII .338 rifle barked.
The bear spun around, ran about 20 yards and gave up. I was so pumped that I had taken my first bear. I reached Blaine on the radio to report the good news. On his way in to pick me up, Blaine spotted the bear and gave me a big thumbs up as he grinned with satisfaction. Blaine was so happy for me, and we shared the moment together as we approached the bear. We did not weigh the bear but the expert eyes of our guides estimate it was close to 300 pounds. This was a memorable hunt that I will never forget.
I was fortunate enough to take the largest bear at camp that week, and I shot it from the stand that Russell used. I cannot tell you how awesome that feeling was.
All of our group are avid deer hunters and sportsmen but had never tackled anything as large as a black bear. We were educated quickly and found out that bear hunting is very addictive as we have booked the same hunt for next spring. This time I'll get to share the experience with my dad.
Parkersburg, West Virginia
Editor's note: Visit www.larsonlakeoutfitters.com for more information about spring and fall bear hunts as well as white-tailed deer, elk and waterfowl hunts.
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