Hunt Report 2011

December 19 / 2011

I havent had any chance of getting on here to write, my apologies, but all is great!!! Many good things on the go!!

We finished up our deer season the end of November. The first part was slow with some warm weather but the second part picked up. Seems everything was late this year including the rut. After the season closed we saw rut activity right into December and got some really good trail cam pics of some great bucks. Pictured below is a good friend and guest "Davey" . Dave and I sat for four days waiting for this buck to show up after we saw him on trail cam coming into a small pond where the water had not completely froze. Due to the wind direction it was a really tough spot to set up a stand, with heavy bush on the downwind side and wide open field on the upwind, so we had just decided to work our way in there with the F350 Ford 4x4, camo it up a bit and use it as our stand, nice and air tight and quite a bit warmer. Dave didnt argue!! An expensive stand, but it worked fine, the buck walked in and had no idea we were there!! I want to thank all of our deer hunting guests for hunting with us and thanks for your patience through any slow days we had.  I will be catching up to all the bear and deer pictures as soon as possible....SL

deer

October 19 / 2011

We have done much scouting through out the area. We have seen much huge grizzly sign and scouted some excellent areas for our next Grizzly season. The trails from these giant bears from over the years are everywhere and we have cleared some areas for future tree stands over the small creeks that will be full of salmon and grizzlies, and did some work to our cabins in this area. Brett will be back with me opening day to find the makers of the numerous huge tracks we have found in this amazing area. 

This whole area which encompasses approximately 4000 sq miles is absolutely beautiful, with its many inlets and shoreline, the beaches are home to our giant coastal black bear, the hundreds of rivers and creeks hold our giant coastal grizzly, the estuaries and clear cut blocks are full of some of the largest coastal black tailed deer I have seen, and the towering mountain peaks are home to a population of huge mountain goats that are virtually unhunted. A hunters Paradise!! I have to leave here now to get ready for our deer hunts but really looking forward to the Spring to get back in!!!....SL

beach

October 5 / 2011

Check this track out!! An absolute HUGE grizzly track 8 inches across on the front pad!!! This will be a 9 ft plus boar!! The bears are just moving through the area as they are searching for salmon. Typically right now the rivers should be loaded up with dead and spawning salmon, but with our last flood the only salmon left are buried in sand and littered through out the old growth timber that borders the rivers. The positive news, definitely giant bears in here for our future hunts and we are having a blast in here scouting and feasting on fresh prawns and crabs!!!... SL

bretttrack

October 01 / 2011

Checking some new grizzly area out here for future hunts in the Coast area. I have good friend Brett from Texas along with me just in case we see the GIANT! We have seen many bears and some absolute giant tracks. These grizzlies are feeding in the rivers and creeks right now but it has been tough as the fish numbers are way down right now as there was a huge flood and wash out about two weeks ago and seems to have flushed the river of all the dead and spawning salmon. It was one of the largest floods in past history on the coast, and many small communities had to be evacuated. Will try to keep you updated to what we are seeing....SL

grizzly

June 20/ 2011

Another very successful Spring bear season has come and gone. A huge thank you to every one of my guests who traveled up to hunt with us this season. We enjoyed spending our time with each and every one of you, and congrats on all your bears! We harvested some huge bears once again this season and I believe our size average, age average as well success rate is almost exact same as last season which tells us our management strategy is working. I also want to thank Oli, Ryan, Bob and Aaron for their very hard work and effort they all put in this season guiding some huge bears, and of course Joyce who is half to blame for the extra pounds I put on this spring. Any of you that have spent any time at the lodge know what a tremendous spread she puts out on the table every day!!! And last but definitley not least Tracy, who is the other half to blame for making me eat all her fresh scones and raisin/ oatmeal cookies this season. Packing up now and getting ready to do some fishing, then time to do some scouting for all our fall hunts coming up. Many new and exciting things in the works, I will keep you all updated......SL

dinner

June 13/ 2011

Wow!!! Another extremely successful and rewarding week of not only harvesting bears, but getting a chance to be a part of one of the most amazing things you will witness hunting, and that is seeing a child take their first bear or for some, their first big game animal!! Just like a repeat of last season, this same last week, we had 2 children and one teenager taking their first bears!! We had the pleasure of having Paul and his 18 year old Grandson Jake hunt with us. On the first day Aaron took them out to one of his hot spots and they found a huge bear laying down in the slash watching over a sow that he had claimed as his new bride. They made a long stalk and got up to within 50 yards. One shot, Jake had his first Bear and what a giant bear it was!! We also had the extreme pleasure of having Alfred with his beautiful wife Missy and two daughters hunt with us, 12 year old Katlyn was the hunter. On the third day of hunting with Oli, they made a great stalk on a Boar alongside a sow. They got within 75 yards and while setting up for the shot the two bears decided they would....well.... enjoy each others company. I think at this moment Alfred decided to have his family of four, turn their heads and enjoy some of the magnificent scenery Vancouver Island has to offer until Oli gave the ok to set up for the shot, or maybe it was Alfred getting Oli to turn his head...not quite sure?? Long story short, Katlyn harvested her first Bear, a great big boar with one shot!!! Robert from California was hunting with us as well this week. Bob was his guide and on day three of the hunt, hunting an area that until this week was unpassable due to snow on the road, they connected with a beauty boar all on its own. I had the pleasure of hunting with J.B., a very good friend of mine from Houston. He also brought along his beautiful wife Maryan and the hunter, 12 year old Grandson, Colton. I am the very first to admit...I was struggling to find bears. You know when you want something so bad, it always seems so much tougher to get. Just like a replay of the last week of last season, I was the last guide to be hunting. I had all three guides, Bob, Oli and Aaron as well as half the camp out sitting in our best lookouts watching for bears for us, and dont think I didnt hear about it!! Not only the guides...but even some of my guests turned on me, including one in my truck, but I wont say HIS name other than it wasnt Colton. Colton had faith in me. At the end of the first day as we pulled into the long driveway leading to the lodge he says, "well Sean, we didnt want it to be over with the first day anyways". Followed by the end of the second day, "it was a good day Sean, we saw lots of cool stuff, we will get one tommorow". And the third, "its OK Sean, Grammy got to get some good pictures of waterfalls and lakes and we saw some really nice country". Day four after a fairly slow day of sightings, if I remember right I think we had only seen like 7 and I think my "scouts" had seen almost double that. 7 pm, we get a call from Oli. "get over here quick, big bear in the slide". Well this slide is a spot I had sat and glassed like probably 18 times over the last 2 days and I swore I was never ever going back in there ever again. Lets go I said!! As I was driving I remember thinking...wow, I cant even find my own bear. Looking out my drivers side window as I cruised through a cutblock we had seen a couple real good bears in a week prior, there was something standing right smack dab in the middle of the clearcut. It was big, black and had a belly almost dragging on the ground. It was something we hadnt seen all week long. A giant boar!!! We drove way past the bear as not to spook it. We parked and walked back towards where we had seen it from. Everything was finally right. The wind was smoking in our face, the bear was feeding 140 yards out in the slash and had no idea we were there. There was even a nice tree stump placed in a perfect spot for Coltons shot. It was meant to be. Very calmly, Colton set up and waited for the two words, "take him". I think I got the first word take out of my mouth when the shot went off. It was a solid hit, and with one more shot from Colton to finish him off, the bear was down. Seeing the look on Coltons face is exactly the reason I am in this business. What an amazing experience. What a week full of amazing experiences being shared with family. Congrats to all!!........SL

jakebearstinney

 

June 5/2011

Picked up the card out of the Bushnell Trail Cam at the cougar rock today. It took the best pics ever!!! The card had a sequence of pictures showing every second of a nice tom coming in and marking the spot with his scratch. I now have this cam set on video, should be interesting. We have one last week of hunting in this Spring season on Vancouver Island. It has gone by so quick!!! Not looking forward to the end!!!...SL

cougarcougar

June 4/ 2011

We just finished off another great 5 days of hunting. We had my good freind Bob from Florida. Bob has hunted bears with me in the past and this time brought his buddy Mark along to enjoy Vancouver Island Bear hunting. They both took BIG bears. We also had Dave and Walter from Texas whom it was their first trip with us and we thoroughly enjoyed their company during their stay. Dave took an absolute giant bear that was hanging out with a good lookin sow. My long time buddy Chipper was here with us as well, and this time he brought his two beautiful daughters, Ashton and Channing. The two girls were hunting this time and Chipper was "Head Cameraman". It was a very fun week with an awesome group of people. The picture is of Ashton's big bear. I guided Ash and Channy and I have to say what a blast I had. Both these girls were brought up around hunting in Texas and we really had a good time. Both did such an excellent job in everything, from their patience with their Guide and camerman!!!! to their final stalk and shot!!! You can tell by Chipper's smile that he is also a very proud father. Although we took some tremendous boars this week, it did seem quite a bit slower in bear sightings than the previous weeks. These last few weeks of the Spring season are usually the ones we see the most bears in, but the rut is definitely late, I believe due to the later spring we had this year. Congrats to everyone on their tremendous bears this week and I look very forward to hunting with you all (y'all) again!!....SL

ashton

June 2 / 2011

Some very exciting news!!!!  Ryan (La Fleur) and his beautiful wife Tarryl have just announced that their new little addition to their family Neil Warren Hartling was born just after midnight this morning weighing in at 7 lbs 15 oz!!!  A very healthy baby boy!!! Our congratulations to you both! Now get back here Ryan and find some more bears!!!! Oh and I get first dibs on Neil when he is ready to guide...going to be the best out there if anyone knows his Dad Ryan!!!....SL

ryan

May 27/ 2011

Wow...we just had three very busy days here!!! We had Barry, Mark and Larry from Ohio as well Jim from Michigan hunt with us this week. By day 2 all four hunters had big bears down and by day 3 we had two more giants on the ground. The picture is of the last bear of the week harvested by Larry. An absolute giant bear well over 7 feet!! What a great group of fun guys!! We had a pile of laughs!! PS Barry...are you still on hold with that operator???? Haha!!!.......SL

bear

May 22/ 2011

Just a quick update on our cougar cam. Checked it today and one of the Tom's was back. As mentioned in a previous note, I will be adding a new picture folder to my website with many of our trailcam pics. We use our trailcams extensively throughout our seasons for everything from Vancouver Island Bear to Trophy Deer in our Peace area. Keep watching for more exciting pics...SL

cougar

May 21/ 2011

What a great week!!! Our team here just had the pleasure of spending a week of hunting with Tom from Texas who brought along his two sons Thomas and Michael. All three took huge big boars!! Thomas's bear was the last to be harvested, we were all together to spot the huge bear and watch from across the valley as the stalk unfolded. This old bear is the first one of the season we have actually seen courting a sow. It was amazing to watch Oli and Thomas sneak in within 80 yards of this giant old bear and as you can see in the picture, Tom is a very proud father!! This boar will likely end up being the oldest bear of the season. I will be getting the teeth aged and will let everyone know when I get some results back. I am guessing 15-20. Congrats guys on all your huge bears and we look very forward to hunting with you again.. SL

bearbear

May 14/ 2011

Well the weather has smartened up and we are having a blast!!! We had Craig here with his bow. He arrowed his giant 7 footer at just 7 yards!!!! This bear was very aggressive and did not want anyone bothering him in his favorite dining area. Good for you Craig to have the patience, (and courage) to stand up to this bear and wait for the right shot opportunity. It would have been safer to drop the bow and climb a tree!!! Craig and Ryan (LaFleur) had numerous opportunities on giant bears, most of which were just mere yards out of comfortable range. Also Pavel and Thomas just left the lodge with two giant bears, on their long trip back to Czechoslovakia. Good work guys and I am looking forward to our next hunt together. This will be Ryans last week of guiding for this Spring season as his beautiful wife Tarryl is expecting their first child over the next few weeks. Good luck to you both Ryan and Tarryl!!! Any of you that have hunted with Ryan know that he is the best there is. Ryan will be back with us again this fall with a new little addition to his family and hey...who knows...maybe a new addition to our guiding team in the future!!! SL

bear

May 07/ 2011

Some very sad news from my hometown of Port McNeill. Luke Stoner, a very hard working, well respected young man, was taken away from us this week in a work related accident. I have known the Stoner family for many years and they are an extremely well respected family in our community. Luke was married and had one young boy and another baby expected in June. One of my main guides "Oli" was related to the family and a cousin to Luke. Our sincere condolences go out to Luke's Families.

April 30/ 2011

What a great week!!! We were hunting with Mike and Hugh from Texas, Michael from Tennesee and Jim from Florida. All harvested Great big boars!! Way to go guys. We still fought some weather this week but Ryan, Oli and Bob all worked very hard to find these giant bears. I had a bit of a small tussle with the bear Mike and I got. After a good shot by Mike at 80 yards, this very old giant bear ran into some very thick cover. With darkness falling and rain starting to spit, I decided to go in after him without giving the situation much thought. We normally give it a bit of time and pic the right route so we try and approach from above if possible. Well...bad decision on my part. Not knowing exactly which route the bear took through the brush I approached from directly below the big boar and he gave all of the little energy he had left to come at me at 15 yards downhill. After one close shot with a heavy 12 gauge slug, it was all over. The only wounds I recieved were a few scuffs on the side of my face, bleeding nose and a ripped shirt, all from me rolling down the hill trying to get away from him!! What a warrior of a bear!! A great week shared with great guys and 4 great bears!! Congratulations guys!! ...SL

bear

April 24 / 2011

As I mentioned earlier before we started the season, we have trail cams out now, placed in certain areas we have seen some giant old boars in the past. As well we have a cam set up again under the cougar rock and have already taken some good pictures of the cats that frequent that shelter for both cover as well just dropping in to mark their territory and leave their scent behind. We have taken some really good pictures of BIG bears already, one of them shown below, taken just after he played with the cam a bit, as well a few surprise pics like the second picture shown below. We will be adding a picture folder to this website over the next little while, with a huge collection of Trail cam pics we have taken over the last few years, with Deer, Elk, Bear, Cougar, wolf and who knows what else we might catch in the lens.!! Getting geared up for another great week of bear hunting!!...SL

cougarcougar

April 23/ 2011

Well, Our Vancouver Island bear season is well underway. It has been a cold and wet Spring, breaking temperature records across BC and Canada. The good news is, the big boars are out feeding while all the sows, cubs and young bears are all still huddled in their dens staying warm and dry. We are into our second week of hunting now and just finished off the week with Doug from Idaho taking a giant boar in a very special spot we call the "channel". This was a very old bear with the battle scars to prove it as well missing one ear!! Doug's daughter Ivy also harvested her very first big Island Bear, congrats Ivy!! Even though we battled the weather again this week fighting snow and cold, we had an excellent time with Doug, Ivy, Sean and Robert enjoying many great laughs. They all had lots of patience to wait out the storms and it paid off in the end!! We look very forward to hunting with you all again next year. The big boys are out and feeding now!! SL

April 05/ 2011

Gearing up for BIG BEARS!!!! Cant wait for the first week...it is going to be a great season. It looks like it is going to be a little later Spring this year but I have seen sign of some big bears out already. We have also set up some new trail cameras in some of the old spots the big boars come into first. See what we can find!! I will keep you updated...SL

March 12/ 2011

Just an update on Dottie and Butt. Both dogs are recovering incredibly well. Boths skulls were fractured in the fight and they will hunt again. More determined than ever to tree!!!....SL

Feb 15/ 2011

Although our weather has been very mild for cougar hunting, we have been getting the odd hunt in. Last week we had the two Carlos's all the way from Madrid to hunt cougars with us. Our second day of the hunt we got on to a nice big Tom, after about 15 minutes of chasing the dogs caught up to the big guy, and instead of treeing he decided to stand his ground and fight. We could hear it all happening and we were trying to get up the hill to them as quick as we could but just 100 yards away the cat decided to head down the hill past us and unfortunately there was only the two out of four dogs on the chase now. "Rosie" was killed in the fight and "Dottie" was cut up very bad and out of the race. Ryan carried Dottie down the hill while we continued chasing the cat down the valley trying to catch up before the cat decided to turn on the last two dogs "Butt" and "Fly". We could hear the dogs up ahead barking treed and as I came over the hill, there was the Tom on the ground, ready to fight the dogs again. The second he saw me, he bolted again. This time running only a couple hundred yards towards where Dean was coming down the hill. The cat once again stopped to turn around and fight and luckily Dean was right there, the cat spotted him and climbed up the tree. It wasnt long before Carlos arrived at the tree and after a very brief session of pictures, Carlos harvested the big nasty Tomcat. It wasnt until we arrived back at the road that we noticed Butt had also been injured in the fight and had punctures into his head. By the time we raced back to the vet, both injured dogs heads had swollen to enormous size. The vet did what he could and all we could do is wait and see if they would heal. The next day we spent some time rounding up a couple new dogs and away we went again to try and find one more cat. It wasnt until the following day we found another giant track. This time a more uneventful chase thank god. The cougar was in a great spot for pictures, so as we were snapping away, Carlos was very anxious to shoot. I assured him there was no problem, the cat was going no where. I think it was like 8 seconds after those words came out of my mouth the cat bails out of the tree and the chase is back on. I dont speak much for Spanish, but I am glad I didnt understand what Carlos was yelling at me at that point. Another 200 yards down the hill and the cat was treed again. This time Carlos didnt give me the option. he harvested the cat on the spot!!! Both dogs are still fighting infection but are making great progress. These dogs are incredibly tough. It was very sad to lose Rosie, she was an incredible dog with more cougars treed than any dog I know. Thanks to Dean and the "crew" for all the hard work you put into this hunt....and congrats to the two Carlos's...what awesome big Toms!!!.....SL

Jan 15/ 2011

Ryan and I just got back from one of the best DSC conventions ever!!! A huge thank you to everyone that stopped by our booth and paid us a visit. Anyone that hasnt had the chance to attend the DSC Convention in Dallas, I would highly recommend putting it on your list of things to do!!! An amazing show, an amazing club with absolutely great people. SL

Jan 01/ 2011

I want to wish all of our friends and guests a very Merry Christmas and all the very best in the New Year to come. We enjoyed another great year with all of you and we look forward to spending quality time with you all again, as well meeting all of our new first time guests this year. Thank you for all your support. SL