My 1998 Canadian Trophy Black Bear Bow Hunt

Published: Thursday, April 15, 2021
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It was 2:15PM when I settled into the natural spruce tree stand which was covered with freshly cut pine boughs and spruce trimmings.  The stand was strong and silent, not giving up any squeaks as I moved my 250lb body around in it.  It had a plywood seat and back, which made it extremely comfortable.  “Good “, I thought to myself, I would be comfortable and less apt to move about and fidget.  I sat down on the seat and was also pleasantly surprised when it also had no squeaks.  The floor of my stand was also made of natural spruce logs split in half, and firmly secured.  As I sat down, I had a good view of the half bait barrel which was a mere 15 yards in front of me.  With my bow, a 75 Hoyt Defiant Fastflight in hand and arrow nocked and ready, the stand gave me just the right amount of room that was necessary to allow my 30 inch 3-71 Easton ACC arrow to have the clearance it needed to sit undisturbed on my bow.  There was no chance of it being knocked the golden premier arrow rest prongs. As I sat in the stand I noticed that this stand and bait site had a large opening in the canopy of the spruce and birch trees that surrounded the bait site.  I also thought to myself that this would be great because this will allow more light into the stand site to give my fiber optic sight pins a better opportunity to do their thing around the dusk hour.

Here I sat in the “New Bait” stand approximately 13 miles from camp.  It was mild out, about 60+ degrees, with blue skies and a slight breeze.  It was September 14, 1998, the first day of the New Brunswick archery Black bear season.

This hunt had started a year earlier when I had first heard about the Slipp Brothers Ltd., Bear Hunting Camp, in Hoyt New Brunswick, Canada.  I was talking to a long time archery hunting friend, Steve Adamico. Steve was telling me about how he had just come back from an outstanding black bear hunt.  Steve told me all kinds of things on how the food was freshly prepared at the camp every day, how there was so much food you could not eat it all.  How the people at the camp namely Ron and Duane Slipp were extremely knowledgeable outdoorsmen that began as career trappers and then in 1983 began their bear hunting camp.  But what got my attention most was when Steve started to talk about the bear he took.  Steve had taken a 424 lb. black bear by slipping a XX75 Easton Shaft, from his Oneida bow into the lung area of the big bruin.   Steve told me he had hunted bear for the past fourteen years in different camps in and around the Maine and southern Canada area and in his opinion the Slipp Bros. Ltd bear camp was by far the best camp he had ever been at.

That was enough for me, I was looking to book a hunt and had gone to the Suffern Outdoor Show and the Springfield Sportsman show and was eagerly investigating archery black bear hunts.  When Steve told me of his experience at the Slipp Brothers camp I just had to book the hunt. 

I had arrived in Hoyt New Brunswick on Saturday night after a ten and one half hour drive from my home in Trumbull, CT.  It had been raining all the way up so I was tired to say the least when I arrived.  I had no problem sleeping that night.  On Sunday morning, I met Ron and Duane Slipp.  Duane helped me settle into the camp and Ron started in right away getting my bear license and getting me the hunting regulation booklet and giving first hand input as to particulars I should be aware of.  Ron and Duane left no stone unturned. By the end of Sunday, I was ready and informed about the hunt and how it would work.  This certainly boosted my confidence. I was ready for the hunt. 

As I sat in the stand in my Mossy oak Tree stand pattern, I thought of the things I had firmly planted in my mind in preparation over the last several months.  Only quartering away or broadside shots…Focus on aiming…Smooth release… let the bow surprise me going off… and follow through.

I sat in the stand as scent free as possible. My clothes had been sport washed and placed in sealed plastic bags.  I had showered with a scent free soap prior to getting dressed, and wore calf high rubber boots.  I sprayed a scent killer on my equipment and on me just prior to walking into the stand location…

I was ready to take a bear!  But, how ready?  No one knows how they are going to react.  As a friend of mine and fellow bow hunter Tom, told me once, “If you do all three hundred things right you will take your animal.”  Here I sat combining all of my nearly eighteen years of bow hunting experience & Knowledge, the hundreds of bow hunting articles read, the innumerable shared thoughts and experiences with other bow hunters not to mention the thousands of arrows fired in an attempt to hone my skill as a bow hunter.  

We call it hunting, not shooting for a very good reason.  You never know, even with all your preparation, what the game animal is going to do at any time during your encounter.

Here I sat and the hours went by.  No sound, no movement, except for the fidgeting bluebirds and chickadees.  Then a Raven right behind me gave out a cry that made me jump.  Then with a flap of its wings I could hear as plain as day, as the force of the air made a swoosh sound with every beat of its wings.  Then quiet again. Time passed…

Whenever I moved I moved in slow motion, economy of motion, keeping the scratches of my nose to as few as possible.  I remembered the hunting guide listing the last of shooting hours to be 8:07 PM. It was now 6:15 PM.  I had been in stand now for four hours.   I thought to myself I must increase my concentration level now that it getting near that magic time when the bruins of New Brunswick will come alive.  I increased my concentration on the bait site and the surrounding area.

A few Minutes passed… Then there he was!!!  He came in from the left of the bait.  He just appeared!  I could see his head, my pulse quickened. I saw his body. “Where is his neck?” His head l0ooked as if it was directly connected to his body.  I thought, “Oh my God, first bear to the bait and it’s a shooter!”  He moved into the area in absolute quiet, moving as if in slow motion, but very deliberate.  He moved to the bait and gave it a quick sniff as his big body moved him past the bait.  I looked down and placed my true fire caliper release onto the bowstring.  I looked up and saw him turn towards me and begin walking right at me down the trail, nose to the ground.  The trail would eventually come right by the stand. Still sitting, I had to remain absolutely motionless for fear of him seeing the slightest movement on my part.  He continued towards the stand.

I thought to myself, “He’s going to walk under the stand.”   Just then he stopped and picked his head up https://lpa.bearly.dev/blog-listand looked down the trail.   He was only five yards from the stand.  He was sniffing the air and gave me the impression that he felt something was not quite right. At that point, I thought, “If he turns around to go back to the bait I’ll have an opportunity to stand and prepare for a shot.”   That is exactly what happened.   He then slowly turned around. He was wider than the trail and as he turned and walked away on the trail, he pushed all the ferns that lined the trail to the side.  The five inches plus of fat on his back and hind quarters jiggled and shook as he plodded along, swaying as he walked showing me just how big he really was.

It was on his second step back towards the bait, facing 180 degrees away from me, that I took the opportunity to stand up.  I stood up controlled and silent.  I held the bow out in front of me.  My lime green 20 yard fiber optic pin was now on him, as he lumbered back to the bait. My heart was pounding…

Just as he reached the bait, he turned slightly to the left facing slightly towards the trail he had come in on.  At this moment I remembered an excellent piece of advice that both my friend Steve and guide Ron Slipp had given me prior to my hunt.  They said take the first good opportunity that presents itself, because a big ole’ bear may not give you another.

This acute quartering away shot was not the ideal broadside shot, however the distance was only fourteen yards.  I drew.  While anchoring, the bear must have picked up a bit of motion and he turned his head to the left to look back in my direction.  My sight pin was on his ribs.  I thought, “Focus. .pick a spot.”  Due to the acute quartering away angle, I held on the very back, centerline of his ribs, a shot I thought would get me the vitals.  I slowly put pressure on the release and the bow went off.  The mechanical broadhead hit its mark.  The arrow tipped with a Satellite Scorpion 100- grain mechanical broadhead, hit its mark.  The broadhead hit back in the ribs, penetrating forward through both lungs exiting the ribs on the other side then stopping in the far shoulder joint.

The bear stood for the shot.  No jumping the string for this big boy.  As the arrow hit its mark the bear’s reaction was immediate.  He ran out of the bait site location directly behind the bait and into the thickets out of my sight.  I kept listening and counted “one, two, three four” I heard him go down.  Then all was quiet. Then only a few seconds later, a soft moan was followed by four primordial death moans.  They were extremely loud. Something you would never forget once heard.

When I heard this, I knew I had just taken a magnificent black bear.  I put my bow down and my arms began to shake.  I sat down and composed myself, congratulated myself with my mind now in whirlwind.  I looked at my watch and it was 6:51PM.  After composing myself for several minutes longer, I got out of the stand.  I left the stand sight to give the prearranged signal to Duane Slipp that I had gotten a bear. What a Bear!

When we went in for the bear, approximately one hour later, we found the bear 32 steps from the place where the arrow made first impact.   We figured the bear only ran two seconds, went down thrashing around and then totally quit only four seconds after arrow impact.  It was like a dream come true. The combined preparation and stand set up produced an extremely effective archery kill.  The bear weighted 371 lbs. Out of over 800  bear taken at the Slipp Brothers camp since 1983 this is the third largest archery black bear taken in the camps history.  The bear is very likely a Pope & Young Candidate.  

I have still not come down from cloud nine; it may be a very long time, if ever, that I lose the feeling of the excitement of that one-minute encounter with my 371 lb. black bear.  

If you want to experience an excellent black bear hunt, do not pass up the Slipp Brother’s ltd. Camp in Hoyt, New Brunswick, Canada. Duane Slipp (506) 368-7747, and Ron Slipp (506) 687-4625. I know I’ll be back….Bowhunting…it’s the best!!!

This above listed article written by me in 1998, and first appeared in the Northeast Woods and Water Newspaper under the United Bowhunters of Connecticut section p. 36, December 1998 issue. 

The Black Bear was officially scored at 19 0/16 inches which qualified it for entry in to the Pope & Young Club record book.  The entry into the record book was made in the twenty second recording period 1999-2000 Statistical Summary booklet and appears on page # 27 and the bear ranks as the 260th largest black bear taken during this period. The Pope & Young Club was first established in January of 1961, and this entry falls into the 22nd recording period of this archery record keeping club.  

As I reflect on this hunt now in 2016, I still remember it like it was yesterday.  I still feel the emotion that was going through my body at that moment.  That is what Bowhunting does, it gets into your soul.  Bowhunting and being a bowhunter is not just what we do… it is what we are.  Bowhunting it’s the best !!!

By: Joe Lorenti

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