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Bear hunting

The best tips from Michel Therrien

Bear hunting is becoming increasingly popular with hunters in Québec, and a number of wildlife reserves offer the possibility of experiencing this thrilling adventure. If you plan on going toe-to-toe with this noble beast during the upcoming season, here are some tips from Michel Therrien, a professional hunting guide, who’ll help you avoid mistakes and live your experience to the fullest.

Steve Deschênes | © Sépaq

Silence is the key

When the hunter is not in a hunting stand or cache, the site prepared by the guides is normally pretty calm. In the absence of a hunter, the bear feeds peacefully while following a certain routine. Bears have very surprising auditory capabilities and they clearly detect even tiny movements from the cache. The hunter must therefore follow the guide’s instructions and avoid making noise or sudden movements.

The hunter must also avoid rustling clothes, bags, and other types of equipment and refrain from clicking any sort of safety catch, as this metallic sound frightens bears. Furthermore, weapons should be placed in a strategic waiting position in order to reduce unnecessary movements when the bear appears on centre stage.

Smell and gunfire control

The hunter must also avoid going unnecessarily close to the bait as he or she will leave behind smells that are new and strange. Bears are used to the guide’s smells and routine, so much so that new smells will be associated with potential danger.

It is also important to carefully choose the right moment before shooting at a bear. In the first moments when it appears in the open, the bear can commonly be seen sniffing around and checking out the scene. The hunter must therefore remain hidden, still, and discreet so as to give the bear enough time to calm down, for a calmer bear is a plus for the hunter. Indeed, the safer the bear feels, the more comfortable it will be during feeding. Consequently, it will stay still and often in a good position, enabling a more precise shot.

The importance of properly adjusting one’s weapon

Before the hunt, it’s essential to properly adjust one’s weapon, based on known distances between the bait and the hunting stand. This tip is even more important when hunting with a bow and arrow or a crossbow. Finally, to prevent your emotions from taking over when a bear appears in front of you, try to breathe deeply, while slowly and progressively stroking the trigger.

By respecting these guidelines and listening to your guide's tips, you’ll avoid the most common pitfalls and have an experience you’ll never forget!

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