After purchasing a brand new BowTech Tribute bow and practicing shooting at my block for months, I was ready for two hunting trips, two weeks apart which would turn out to be my all-time best – Maine Fall Black Bear in Rangeley and Quebec Caribou.
It’s August 26, 2006 and we’re off to bear camp at Black Brook Cove in Oquossoc, Maine, an excellent campground and guide service. My good friends Dan Guin and Jack Renfrew join me here for our yearly bear camp tradition. I hunt with guides Jeff LaRochelle, Mike Bailey, Fern and the guys.
Owner Jeff LaRochelle has put me on some very active baits over the past years and I’ve taken some nice bears along the way, but this time would prove to be different. Jeff said to me “Okay Bob, we’ve got a big bear coming in, I’m thinking of putting you on this bait.” 1 know you’re a good hunter, you see lots of bears, great scent control and you’re still” “I want you to kill this bear, if l put you on this bait, the deal is you gotta hunt here all week, no changing to another bait, agreed?” Hmm, based on the tone and volume of Jeffs voice and knowing his experience, I replied “YOU GOT A DEAU” The day prior to opening day, 1 went in to the bait with guide Mike Bailey to put in my climber tree stand and prune out shooting lanes. Mike showed me these mind boggling huge tracks and a large butt print where the bear sits and eats, “Okay, I’m ready.” Magically that night it rained allowing our scent to be thoroughly washed away. The set up was perfect. Monday, August 28, 2006, Day 1 finally arrives with great weather. I grab my bow and video gear and get driven to my stand and silently climb right up. I really couldn’t wait, while on stand I felt like an Olympic skier that closes his eyes and sees the winding course and rehearses it in his mind. 1 was doing the same thing, rehearsing the exact time the arrow would leave my bow and how r d follow the Lumenok down range to the bear.
It’s 6:20 PM, the first bear arrives. I video the event with my treepod camera. Ifs a
smaller subordinate 125 Ib bear. This bear made the mistake of walking to the bait with the wind at his back, a common mistake a younger bear might make. I notice that he appears uneasy as he grabs a hunk of meat from under the rocks and walks away. Based on his body language and my experience with bears, I’m fairly certain there’s a bigger bear around the corner.
Twenty minutes pass, still plenty of shooting light, I see a great big shadow slowly
coming up the twitch path one paw at a time. This bear is smarter and he’s approaching the bait with the wind at his face like mature bears do. I carefully lift my bow off the hanger with anticipation. Now I see he’s a shooter bear, my heart starts pumping as he arrives at the bait. He scent checks the area, sniffs the ground and departs. But I know he’s just one smart bear and will return. He did return within minutes and begins feasting with no shot presentation as he sits facing me exactly, which is a worst case scenario. He’s looking in my direction and no shot. I am extremely picky on shot placement, especially so with bears and will wait for the proven quartering away shot
It took 20 painful minutes of my sitting like a “statue” watching this big bear deplete one of the two bait buckets. Brightness is fading to gray and I am losing light at a steady pace.
I’m thinking patiently and calmly to myself “stick with it Bob, he’ll eventually present a shot, he’ll move to investigate the other bucket”. Sure enough, here’s my break, at
7:00 PM he finally stands up and moves to investigate the second bucket presenting me with a sitting down, quartering away shot. I peek over at my LCD video screen to be sure he’s framed right, I’m good, I draw back settling the sight pin and deliver one perfect
My lighted Lumenok arrow showed me that it was a perfect pass thru shot as the bear
bolts off. A review of the video along with a death moan confirms the end of a great and successful hunt! I saved this arrow to my quiver to become my lucky arrow and marked the trail with flagging tape. Back to camp for the bTUYs, chain saws and the A TV. The bear dressed out at 310 lbs. with a 19-Yz inch skull and made the Pope and Young and MASTC requirements (Maine Antler Skull and Trophy Club). To view my bear hunt go to: http://www.starlitvideo.net/ra/bearhunt06.wmv
Two weeks later, I board an airplane in Montreal with my bear camp buddies Dan and Jack and we head North to Schefferville, Quebec for our long awaited Caribou dream hunt. We are hunting with Jack Hume Adventures from September 11 -18, 2006. We arrive and meet our other great camp mates John Mascellino and John Mascellino Jr. of NJ.
There are five of us, three bow, one rif1elbow and one flintlock. At dawn we board the
Otter bush plane out of Schefferville and journey two hours North to the Tundra and
arrive at Lake Coursolles near Kujiwac, Quebec. The six hunters in camp the week
before us all tagged out with some impressive antlers. We were greeted by Steve and
Lorraine our guide and cook. The previous week hunters told us that the migration had slowed and it may be slow going, we need to settle in and get ready to hunt.
I quickly attach and arrow up my quiver. I’m using Easton ST Axis arrows with Grim
Reaper mechanical broadheads. I joke to my camp mates claiming “the lucky arrow I
killed the P & Y bear with will be used to get my big caribou”. Day 1, all five hunters
hike 1/2 mile up a steep hill behind camp to an area known as “The Crows Nest”
It’s here where we have a premiere vantage point to glass caribou bulls migrating toward us up to a mile away. Our guide Steve showed us a very cool massive rock formation known as “The Orca” where the bulls seemed to funnel and emanate from.
My buddy Jack was glassing at the Crows Nest and informed me that a group of six bulls were coming our way. Jack says “Bob, get in the woods over by the back of the pond and try to intercept them. I find my way into dense cover just off the ‘bou trails and see the antler tips of 6 bulls at 150 yards appearing and coming in my direction. I nock my lucky arrow. Realizing that I will be too far from these bulls, I quickly and methodically stalk my way closer to close the distance. I have to stay low and finally knee crawl to get in place as the bulls are now passing me on the trail. They all look big to us whitetail hunters but the last one has really nice tops, an extra point next to his best with a very distinct shovel. I’m thinking shoot the last one!
I draw standing behind a tree as the biggest bull walks by in range. I release and my
arrow hits low, just under the lungs as I misjudged the distance. What I thought was 30 yards was more like 45. After blood trailing this animal with great help from Jack, we realized that we were pushing a wounded ‘bou and decided best to back off, mark a GPS waypoint and return in the morning. Returning at first light with Dan, we resumed the blood trail to find the expired ‘bou in a swamp. Dan yells, “look Bob, I see his antlers” The recovery was the best feeling I’ve ever had in the field because I knew this was a trophy. The sleepless night was worth it As it turned out this Pope and Young caribou was taken with the same lucky arrow as my bear and scored 341.
Later that week I had the pleasure of arrowing a second average sized bull from a brushy blind. A perfect quartering away shot made up for the previous marginal one. I was able to stop this caribou by saying “caribou” in a quiet monotone voice. Camp total, three of us tagged out with two bulls each, one guy arrowed one bull and one guy nothing as he passed up several bulls. We had to work for our bulls as the migration was slow We had a phenomenal time and I would highly recommend this hunt to anyone. One arrow, two great P & Y animals~
Bob Accettullo has been an avid bowhunter and professional videographerfor 25 years. He is the owner ofStarlite Video in Canton. Ma. producing weddings, corporate and DVD videos for outfitters.