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Mia & the Little Gal: A bear hunting adventure in Alberta, Canada

The Little Gal (LG) is a member of a club called Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC). It teaches kids hunting, responsibility, wildlife identification, orienteering and survival skills. Locally, our Safari Club International (SCI) chapter makes significant contributions to this youth program.

At the 2012 SCI banquet we bought a hunt for two to Alberta, Canada. LG and I were going black bear hunting!

Gone hunting!

Gone hunting!

The flight and entry to Canada was uneventful. We easily made our way to Edmonton, Alberta and rented a car to make an eight-hour drive north in hopes of seeing some sights and new country on the way. Alberta was beautiful, but the terrain on our route varied little. We saw rolling hills and swamp land the entire way.

Before we knew it, the outfitter had fed us lunch and we were in the trucks headed to our hunting areas. We hopped on the back of four-wheelers and bounced our way through the “bush” to our stands. In order to optimize our three days, Hank chaperoned LG and I sat alone in a tree. On the first night, I read a book and tried to keep from being … what do you call it? Tree-sick? The wind blew and I swayed, and wondered how LG was doing. I thought I heard a shot off in the distance and got excited in hopes that LG had bagged a big one.

Mia and LG with Mia's archery Black Bear. Photo courtesy of Hank Anstine

Mia and LG with Mia’s archery Black Bear. Photo courtesy of Hank Anstine

Not much later I saw a spot of black silently meandering through the bush. I prepared myself to shoot or pass and stood up to watch the bear. He cautiously came out into the open. I decided it was a good-sized bear. I drew my bow and touched the trigger, making an excellent shot. I watched as the bear walked 20 yards and went down. I waited for my guide to come get me so I could see if LG had made a shot on one as well.

Can you spot the Black Bear sow and her cub? Photo courtesy of LG

Can you spot the Black Bear sow and her cub? Photo courtesy of LG

Apparently, the sound I heard was not from a rifle. It must have been from one of the nearby oil rigs. LG and Hank had spent their evening watching a sow and cub. LG has been studying black bear, so she thought it was amazing to see the actions of them first hand. She was excited for my success that day and really excited for us to be able to hunt together the following day. The next morning, I sat with her and we watched two gorgeous young bear. They were not quite large enough to shoot. We left that evening with only photos, and LG became anxious about the last day’s hunt.

On the last day Hank and I drew straws, and Hank won, getting to go up in the tree with LG again. They weren’t sitting for long when Hank spotted a large bear. He told LG to get ready and when she was comfortable to shoot. Before he knew it there was a blast from the gun. LG cried “I missed!” as the bear humped its back and then bolted. Hank calmed her and told her she hadn’t missed, and that she had made an excellent shot. He watched the direction the bear went and when he felt it was safe the two climbed down. He showed LG the bright orange/red blood, and she smiled.

I received a call from and ecstatic LG. The outfitter and I hopped on the four-wheeler and raced to see what she had gotten. We all followed the blood trail roughly 40 yards and we found the big ‘ol black bear. LG had made an excellent shot on this bear, and guess what?! It was bigger than mine!

LG's Alberta Black Bear. Photo courtesy of Mia Anstine

LG’s Alberta Black Bear. Photo courtesy of Mia Anstine

Hank, LG and I truly enjoyed our hunt with Silver Fox Outfitters in Alberta, Canada. The outfitter did an excellent job. He fed us good meals, had a well set up tent camp and even added a stand each day so we could chaperone our LG up in the tree. We would like to thank Eric Rauhanen for donating a hunt each year to SCI for supporting our youth organizations.

 

Keep up with Mia & the Little Gal at Mia’s blog, My Many Outdoor Adventures.

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