While hunting in Poland, I did not even dream about hunting and shooting a bear. After arriving in Canada and settling in the Province of Ontario, I passed the hunting exam as soon as possible, bought a gun, and understandably started looking for what "fat" to go for. The black bear was closest to the hunting schedule.
Being a complete novice (when it comes to bear hunting) and having no contact with other hunters, I decided to book a weekly hunt from an Outfitter in the Temagami area. The area there, as I heard, is one of the few forest areas in Ontario that have survived to this day in a natural state. Looking at the map, seeing the negligible road network and the few towns in this area, I was already tracking bears through the eyes of my mind. From the words of the owner of the holiday resort ("Lodge"), from which I rented the cottage and which was supposed to feed the teddy bears, it could be concluded that hunting a teddy bear is only a matter of arriving, taking a seat, pressing the trigger, and of course correctly locating the missile. Unfortunately, the contact with reality brought me quickly from the clouds, in which I was rocking "my" bear, to solid ground.
It turned out, already on the spot, that the owner of the "Lodge" is its new buyer (he had bought the resort 4 months earlier) and he has no idea about hunting. After his predecessor, he inherited two makeshift "rises" on which he was afraid to sit.
The baiting of the bears began (apparently) 2 weeks before my arrival. As bait he used fish which have such a characteristic smell that after a week I had the impression that I was completely saturated with this "touch". I did not see the bear or even traces of its presence until the end of my stay. I left angry knowing I was made into a "balloon". It was 1987. Since then, I have not attempted bear hunting. Yes, I bought the shot, because while hunting deer, you may encounter a bear, but I didn't really follow them.
My club friends from the Polish Hunting Club of Canada hunted for them with varying degrees of luck.
Six years later, in 1993, I was persuaded to go hunting for a bear by a club colleague who was hunting in the area at the mouth of the Moon River into Georgian Bay, about 300 km. north of Toronto. From previous years, there were already built decent pulpits and, importantly, the bears were already fed and started taking the ground bait.
I bought a license and we started driving with one more friend. For the first few days in the forest, all I could see were ground squirrels making a lot of noise. One evening, a rustling of leaves approaching my adrenaline rush. I thought it was probably "my teddy bear, but it turned out to be a huge porcupine, which walked right up to the box, sniffed my footsteps, and continued noisily. Colleagues hunted with the same results. Finally, on May 14, around 20º C, I noticed some movement in the bush on the right side of the corner of my eye. Cautiously, I turned my head to see a bear slithering silently like a ghost. I heard squirrels running on the dry leaves, and he walked silently through the bushes.
He looked funny because he was all wet and the hair close to the legs and body made him look like a greyhound. He was walking slowly, all the time in the bushes, about 80-100 m from my station.
It didn't look like a large specimen to me, but I tried to cross the scope with it. Unfortunately, the bushes were thick. Misio, taking his time, circled me and climbed deeper into the bushes. Under these conditions, I decided not to shoot. I waited another hour until dusk and then, before getting to the car, I decided to hang a fresh batch of donuts. I hung them in a bag at a height of about 2m. above the ground. Already in the dark, I returned to the car.
That evening, only I saw the bear. The next day at At 17º I am back in post. There are no donuts, the bag is torn, i.e. the teddy bear was here at night, and not so small, if it reached these 2 meters up. It remains to sit patiently and carefully observe the area around the site. The squirrels are chasing each other again making a lot of noise. 20º and nothing happens. It's a pity, but maybe yesterday should have been shot? There is only an hour left until the hunt has to be stopped (up to half an hour after sunset). Approx. 40 min. later, in front of the pulpit, I noticed a dark spot. Through binoculars, I can see the back of a bear standing on the edge of a swamp, sheltered from my side by a high bank. After a while, he raised his head and began to sniff. I had a good wind on the left side and on me. After a while, the bear marched ashore. He was hanging around the bushes for a long time, and I was looking for the little ones, because it might have been the female leading the young. After a few minutes, I was sure that the young people were gone.
I didn't have a comparative scale, but the teddy bear didn't seem too big to me. When he turned to me, revealing his left shoulder blade, I fired a shot aimed "at the chamber". After the shot, the bear roared and made a "candle" to fall in a half-turn towards me. Then, in the blink of an eye, with a few strides he covered a distance of about 30 meters towards me and fell to the ground with a roar. Still roaring, he rolled in place. My rifle was already reloaded and at the shoulder, but I did not shoot because the bear was creating a mass raging on all sides on the ground and it was not very easy to locate the ball. At one point, it jumped quite high and fell onto a metal barrel tied to a tree (serving as a ground bait container). When I heard the scratch of claws on the plate, I won't say - chills ran down my spine. At this point, I had it in the scope from above and from behind. I quickly fired a second shot to which another roar replied as the bear fell forward. Bushes and trees blocked my view, but I heard that he stayed and "comes." It all happened very quickly. The interval between the two shots was a few seconds, and so much had happened. It was already quite dark in the forest, the bear's panting was heard for a few more minutes, then everything stopped. After the next few minutes, I thought to get off the pulpit, check what was happening with him and possibly give a "shot of grace". But as soon as the thought occurred to me, so quickly, at the memory of the claws on the metal sheet, it passed away. Yes, I was approaching a morning boar in Poland at night, but there was a moon and the boar was in potatoes, and here it is dark as hell, bushes. The bear, I don't know how big it is, but the claws, as I've heard, are probably quite big.
Oh no, I will not be an idiot and wait for my friends. They heard the shots, if they are not by the car, they will come with flashlights and then we will look. By morning, the bear will "steep" and the fur will be useless.
Indeed, after some time I saw the light of the flashlights, my colleagues were coming. The first question is? He is lying. Big? Well, it's not big - I answer. We're going to look.
Behind the bush, approx. 10 m from the place of the first shot, there is a teddy bear. What are you saying man, this is a little bear? I come over and look. The bear lies in the dimple, it is great. Until I do not want to believe. What's up? How could I have been so wrong in judging the size? The fact that I do not have experience in shooting bears, but that I would be so wrong? The explanation was simple. I went hunting in an area I did not know. I had no idea about the distances of individual points of the terrain from the pulpit because, not wanting the bear to smell me, after getting to the pulpit I quickly climbed upstairs, and after dark, I retreated the same way. It turned out that I fired the first shot from a distance of about 130 m, thinking that it was a distance of about 70-80 m. Both on the first and on the second day, when I saw the bear, it was already dark and it was very difficult to judge the distance in the bush. when there is no comparative scale.
We hauled our prey to a higher ground and began taking pictures, and then my "baptism" ceremony took place. Unfortunately, the friend who took the pictures botched the job so much that only one thing was successful. The bear was a male with a nose-to-tail length of 6 feet, or 180 cm if you prefer. After evisceration, it weighed about 150 kg. (How much did it have to weigh in the fall?) I was firing a 30-06 caliber with a -180 grain Nosler Partition round. The first ball was located on the left low shoulder blade. The second one went perfectly to the center of the spine in the sacrum area. Both shots were fatal, and how much strength the beast had.
Over the next few years I used to ride bears, I have a total of 5 on a schedule, and that was also what I ended up hunting for bears. None of the later bears beat the former, both in terms of size and quality of fur. Spring bear hunting has been banned in Ontario, and summer fur cannot even be compared to thick winter fur.