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Bear of a Different Flavor

Pat Hendrixson

Return to Saskatchewan yields cinnamon-chocolate rug

By Pat Hendrixson

My quest for a color phase black bear began about three years ago. This came after I'd harvested my third standard colored black bear.

I'm always up for the challenge of something different, so with three black bears to my name, this was the year for something special.

I was hunting in Saskatchewan, Canada with Mike and Erin Grundman of Saskadrenaline Outfitters. The previous year, Mike said he planned to hunt a different camp in 2013 where the bears were larger and there would be more chances of encountering a color phase.

When he said that, it made my decision to secure a spot very easy. I left a deposit before leaving camp and began looking forward to 2013.

My first night of the 2013 season finally arrived, although it was bearless for me. The only things that kept me company on the stand were the endless supply of mosquitoes.

No one in camp took a bear that first evening, but several were seen. It seemed everyone was passing up bears since it was only the first outing.

By the way, when I say "night," that doesn't mean dark. It's daylight until nearly midnight that far north in the springtime.

Because bears don't move much in the mornings, we only hunted late in the afternoons. During mornings, we sometimes fished for pike and walleye, catching enough to have a huge fish fry on the last evening of our trip.

Pat HendrixsonEvening two was calm and quiet. Nothing seemed to move except birds and squirrels. 

Things were actually quite dull until suddenly, one of those magical moments occurred. Out of the shadows stepped a beautiful cinnamon chocolate-colored bear! 

When I saw it, the bear appeared to be more dark chocolate than cinnamon, but I believe that was because the sun not shining on it.

There was no question this bear was trophy size, but I carefully studied it for several minutes, wanting to make sure it was a boar (male). 

I have to give myself credit; I was calm upon placing my shot. This was because I trusted my weapon and had faith in my shooting ability.

My shooting stick was a forked limb from tree branch I'd shot off while sighting in my rifle after the flight. Now, I might make it my lucky shooting stick.

After the shot, which double-lunged the bruin, I had to wait about 90 minutes to be picked up by the guide.

It was difficult, just sitting there while wanting so badly to see the great trophy that lay somewhere out in the bush.

Approaching a downed bear can be risky business, and Canadian outfitters typically want their bear hunters to stay in the stand until they are picked up. 

Believe me, I wasted no time getting my gear down and being ready to go when the ATV came rolling up!

I told Mike I thought I'd shot a cinnamon bear and he started questioning me as to the condition of the bear. He asked if I heard a death moan, and I said yes, so Mike was sure the big bear was dead.

I showed him the direction I'd heard the moan and he found the bear right away, about 50 yards from where I'd shot it. 

Mike was very excited about how big my bear was. He wanted to go back to camp and bring all the other hunters out to experience this moment.

We celebrated indeed, and I was very happy about getting the color phased bear I'd dreamed of. Did I mention it was 6' 10" with a 19 4/16" skull?

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