Wednesday, June 27, 2012

TROPHY BLACK BEARS,THE BITE AND VINTAGE OUTDOOR STUFF

    The month of June is usually very nice here at home on Salmon River and this year was no different. We had a few days of unseasonally cold weather at the first of the month but after that we had successive days of bright skies and warm temperatures. Right now we are looking for some much needed rain and the weatherman is calling for showers and rain over the next few days. This will help to freshen the water in the different drainages and hopefully get the salmon runs started. Because of the low water conditions in the Miramichi system,the salmon have only been trickling in. Salmon River,on the other hand,still has lots of water especially in the area from Gaspereau Forks down to Grand Lake. It looks to me like the gaspereau are dropping back out of the river and the shad will soon follow. After these fish are gone the river will be back to a more normal pattern and the pickerel fishing will pick up.
    The New Brunswick black bear season is over now and it was a memorable one for Ken and I. We had some huge bears at our baits. I think that's what surprised me the most this year was the number of large females that were hitting our baits.We had three different females that were  well over 300 lbs. and there were some nice boars hanging around with the sows waiting for breeding rights after the yearlings were chased away. Ken told me he wanted to kill one more bear and he wanted it to be a big one. I told him to go ahead and take one if he wanted one of the big boars that I knew were hitting some of the baits. He told me one of the baits he was tending had around a dozen different bears coming in and there were a couple of old smashers in the mix.
    We have found that when you have a lot of different bears coming to a bait,the bears can get quite competitive when trying to get to the bait first. The bears at this bait that Ken was going to hunt were sticking very close to the bait and Ken couldn't get near it without running into bears when taking in the bait. They were all over the road leading in to the bait and many times we had to chase them out of the way when re-baiting. Ken figured this hunt was going to be a cake-walk but even the best of plans sometimes go awry. He asked if I wanted to sit with him one evening to see if one of the big boars would come in. We knew the big sows would be there because they rarely left the immediate area of the baits. Ken decided to sit in a ground blind because I was with him and we barely got sitting when the first sow came out with a yearling cub. She was a good size but the next female that came out was  well over 300 lbs. A younger boar came in next and Ken and I were just sitting back and watching the show when I looked down the road towards the bait and noticed the old sow and and the yearling were on high alert and looking off into the bush. Ken was fiddling with his scope when all of a sudden the two bears that were on the bait suddenly lit out for cover away from the bait. Now Ken and I were set up about 100 yards from the bait because we were on the ground and didn't want to be set up too close but just moments later out pops a BIG black head out of the bush between us and the bait and as soon as that bear came out he turned away from the bait and started up the road towards us walking all pidgeon-toed and tossing his head back and forth trying to wind us. As he kept coming I noticed the angle was bad for Ken and he was shifting around trying to keep on the bear as it slowly worked its way towards us. Remember now,we're sitting in a ground blind and this huge boar is still coming at fifty yards,tossing his head trying to get the wind. Now Ken is starting to take deep breaths while trying to contort his body into a position to take the shot. Suddenly, the big boar spun broadside and looked as if he was going to bolt and just then Kenny's shot rang out. With eyes as big as silver dollars,Ken said 'Listen for his moan!' I grinned to myself and told Kenny 'Don't bother. You never touched him!' Kens jaw dropped and he said 'No Way!' I replied 'Yup,you found a way!' Poor old Kenny was flabergasted! After checking for sign and not finding any, Ken was still in a state of disbelief. 'I'm checking my gun to see if it got knocked out'. He then proceeded to center punch a target at the same distance he missed the bear. Not good. Ken just couldn't figure out how he missed but to the observer, it was quite evident he rushed the shot and, combined with the jitters he had,he overshot the big bear. Now Ken was angry and he wasn't going to let the situation stand like that for very long. He said he would hunt out of the tree stand at the bait and a couple of days later he took a nice New Brunswick black bear and redeemed himself. Normally I wouldn't tell a story like that but Ken is good natured about things such as that. I guess I just wanted to try and convey the excitement that goes along with having close encounters with trophy black bears. If a vetern guide such as Ken, who has run sixty baits himself for an outfitter in White River, Ontario, can get the fever then I would say just about anyone can. The size, strength and speed of a trophy sized bear is astounding. The following pictures show the bear Ken took.
  Although Kennys bear wasn't as big as the one he missed,it was still a nice sized boar. We had lots of bears at our sites that were bigger than the one Ken took. The site that Ken took his bear at had so much bear traffic it was difficult to keep your feet out of the dung.When Kenny registered his bear,the ranger asked him how many bears he saw during the season and Ken replied'About thirty,but I only hunted a few days'. The ranger just looked at him with a sceptical look and said' No way you saw thirty' Kenny just said'You asked me and I told you',to which the ranger just shook his head. The following photos show some of the bears at our bait sites. This is one of the big sows that was a regular at one of our bait sites. This bear was quite brave until he heard something he didn't like!  One of the trophy sized bears sneaking in for a snack during shooting hours. Ken and I both thought there were about eight different bears at this bait site. This is just a sampling of some of the trophy bears that were coming to our baits this spring. As you can see,these bears were not shy about coming into the baits during daylight hours. If a sport hunts with us and has the patience,he has a very good chance of taking home a nice New Brunswick trophy black bear. These trophy bears are here for the taking. Just shoot me an e-mail or give me a call to arrange a spring or fall black bear hunt with Ken and I.
The best bite we have had lately here at home on Salmon River has been the white perch. They have been running all month and we have been getting some real jumbos' lately. If you have never had a feed of white perch fillits,do yourself a favor and catch a stringer of these great fish. They have a nice,white flesh with a delicious flavor that makes for great fish and chips. My son Curt,brought over a couple from Fredericton to try to catch some white perch last week-end and although Josh had never caught a white perch before,he caught a beauty on his first cast. White perch can get quite large,especially the females and Josh and Curt managed to get enough for a feed in about a half an hour. The next photo shows Josh with his stringer of white perch. These fish were all taken  by casting small hildebrant spinners and worms from my shore. Brooke M. and Jamie were also fishing off my shore and were catching a variety of species such as white and yellow perch,sunfish,pickerel and fall fish. The next photo shows Brooke with a sunfish she caught. Later that same evening,Jamie caught a nice pickerel using a technique we use when the gaspereau are in the river. Pickerel are usually hard to catch during this time period but through trial and error over the years,we have discovered a method that works very well on large pics at this time of the year. The next photo shows Jamie with his trophy size pickerel. The next evening,four of us went to a hotspot down river and filled a five gallon pail with nice white perch. We usually try to get enough to feed a crowd and we will have a big fry of fillets and wash it all down with our favorite beverage. Note the bucket of perch we caught that night.
    This month was also a time for fishing derbies and I attended the annual Chipman Fish and Game derby that was held at Bruce McLean's campground on Salmon River. This is a fun tournament that focuses on kids and getting them into fishing. The derby is always well attended and everyone has a lot of fun. It's great to see the thrill these kids get when they catch their first fish,large or not. Along with the prizes for different catagories,all of the kids get a prize to take home and everyone has a lunch of hot dogs, potatoe chips and pop. The next photo shows little Kadence Wellwood wth her first fish. Her Dad and Mom brought her over from Doaktown so she could fish the derby and she was very excited to catch her first fish.
 The next photo shows the awarding of the prizes at the end of the day. Note the yellow trucks that belong to the sponsor of this derby,J.D. Irving. Not only does J.D.I. sponsor this derby,he also provides support staff to help things run along smoothly. A tip of the hat to Mr. Irving.
    Another derby that was held in our area was the Monte Farrell Shad Tournament. This fishing derby was held earlier in June on the upper Salmon River. Although the rain made for a damp day,the sports turned out and caught some nice shad. The following photo shows the winners with their fish. Minto was well represented in the winners circle,with all but one hailing from the Minto area. I want to mention the fact that Ralph Goodwin and Sam Daigle do a great job hosting this derby every year and I'm sure their efforts are well appreciated by all the participants.
    As you can see from the previous photos,the fishing has been hot this month and I would say the best bite this month was the white perch. I also want to report that anglers are catching landlocked salmon in the area of Newcastle Center on Grand Lake. One Minto resident reported having good success casting a red devil spoon. The next photo shows Donna A. with a bucket of white perch she caught one evening.
    We are getting some much needed rain as I write this and hopefully the raise of water will get the salmon running in the Miramichi watershed. The timing is perfect for the start of the summer runs and I know I'll be on the water in the coming week.
    I continue to pick up outdoor related items and if any readers have read my previous posts,you know I like cheesy Japanese ornaments. I'm not sure why I like this stuff,maybe because it is relatively cheap to purchase these items and there seems to be lots of it around. Anyhow, I hope I'm not the only one who likes this type of ornament. The following photo is one of a decorative plate featuring a group of deer. This japanese plate is marked ESD,Japan and it dates to the late Fifties or early Sixties.
 The next photo shows an ashtray with a cub bear as a decoration.This item was made in Japan in the late Fifties or early Sixties. The last photo is one of another Japanese ashtray. This one has a squirrel sitting on its haunches. I would date this item to the Late Fifties.
    In closing,I would like to invite anyone looking for a day on the water or back in the bush to contact me by e-mail or give me a call and Ken and I will do our best to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable visit to the Grand Lake area. Until next time this is Dale Bauer saying'Happy Trails to You,Until we meet Again'

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