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The Saskatchewan Archery Bear by Wayne Gast

Ever since I started hunting at a very young age, I would listen to my uncle tell me stories about how his friends and himself would go to Canada and Maine bear hunting back in the 80s and how much fun it was!

 For me, most of my hunting was done in my home state of Maryland.  We have hunted for all sorts different animals. However, I had never ever been anywhere on a trip other than places a few hours away where we would stay at a deer camp or Maryland Eastern shore.

 As I got older, I got my first video camera and started filming hunts. Everything I did was still on a low budget basis, just trying to hunt as much as I could and make a name for myself.

 I put tons of time and energy in everything I filmed and edited. I made sure that every video I put out, was to the greatest of my ability, with the materials I had to work with. 

This proved to be a good thing…. some guys at a local archery shop, caught wind of the content I was producing. They decided to invite me to go on a bear trip to Canada with them to help film. In return, I would get to kill a bear myself. 

So when they contacted me, it was kind of a neat, but an overwhelming experience. I was really excited to go shoot a bear, but had never been anywhere on a hunting trip before.

First, I had to acquire a passport and make sure all my gear was in top working order. So when we got there I could perform at my greatest ability.

 If I told you I wasn’t a bit anxious, I would be lying… I had some anxiety about traveling out of the country. Luckily for me, I think the excitement definitely out weighed the anxiety, being that I was going to be able to get some epic footage.  I would be able to get some amazing filming done in Canada that would elevate what I was already doing with Lethal Injection Outdoors. 

So let’s take you back to Mother’s Day weekend 2018….. We caught a flight out of Maryland’s Bwi Airport to Minneapolis Minnesota. The guys and I thought it would be awesome to take a road trip to Saskatchewan Canada with some fun stops filming along the way. 

When we arrived in camp 2 days later, we got right to checking our equipment since we were hunting that evening. 

The first trip out was an awesome experience, we took an Argo across the back of a lake and to the stand. 

The guy I had teamed up to hunt and film with, had already shot a bear so he was looking for something specific. 

Since that was the case we both took our bows on stand because something he may pass on could potentially be a shooter Bear for me. 

The first evening was a long, but exciting one even though we didn’t see any bears. We saw some smaller animals native to the area. The anticipation of having a bear come in, even up until the last minute kept us intrigued all evening long. 

We woke up on day 2 hung around the camp, shot some really good B roll, helped mix some bait and started to prepare for the evening hunt with our guide Cory. 

Cory’s plan  was to take us to a different stand location that evening, that they named the Chocolate factory, because of the large number of Color phaze bears that were frequent to that area.

For those that don’t know, the color phaze bear is a black bear, that has a different color coat. In this particular part of Saskatchewan Canada, they have all of the different color phazes. A one in three chance of harvesting a colored bear whether it be brown, cinnamon, chocolate, blond,  or even a strawberry which would have some really nice hints of red in the coat. 

Day 2 plan was pretty much the same as day one. I hung a climber above a ladder stand, got my camera equipment all set up and ready to go and had my Mathews bow hanging behind me.

 I was either playing cameraman, or self filming, depending on the bear that came in. Either way, I was set up for an epic experience!

Not long after we set up, we had a bear that skirted the outside of the bait area. He was wanting to come in, but never did. We noticed the bear had a previous injury, possibly from a fight which may have been why he was so nervous and never came within range for us. 

As the evening went on, I looked out in front of us…. in the distance I saw a nice size black bear heading directly into the bait site like he was on a mission.

 I tapped the guy in front of me to make sure he saw the bear coming in. I immediately started getting some footage. 

He turned to me and said…. I’ve already shot a black one, that one is all you.

At that point I went from cameraman, to self film hunt mode. I started focusing on nothing but getting good footage and making a perfect shot on the bear if it was presented to me.

As the bear came in, he immediately laid down on the ground. I told myself to be patient and wait for the perfect opportunity. 

I was very excited, but I knew I had to contain my excitement, to make sure all the footage I captured was epic.

One of the most exciting things that I had done on this hunt, was put GoPro camera on the ground hoping to get some really cool footage that was up close and personal with a bear. 

As I sat there and filmed on multiple different cameras, I remembered one thing the guide told me….. BE PATIENT!! If the Bear was in the area, he wasn’t going anywhere fast. Even if he did, it was a good possibility he would come back. 

We watched the bear and filmed him for probably 12 minutes, when he started walking directly towards us. I drew back a few times, but never had the perfect shot that I was looking for. Before I could release the arrow he would move.

The bear laid down directly below us for probably another 4 to 5  minutes,  then started walking directly away. At about 15 yards he turned to the left giving me a perfect quartering away shot.

I came to full draw, focused the pin and released the arrow. It hit its mark perfectly, driving right through the vitals and sticking into the dirt on the other side of him. 

As he ran off, he was already stumbling and crashing from the wound that the Grim Reaper Broadhead had inflicted on him.

 It was a quick clean kill, as I heard him stumble and crash through the brush. A few minutes later, I  heard the death moan, a sound like nothing I’ve ever heard in my life.

While it was an eerie sound in itself,  it also was a relief to know that the bear died instantly, the broadhead did it’s job and I made a quick clean kill.

 I high-fived and hugged my partner on the hunt, thanking him for this opportunity, then sat there taking everything in and rewatching the kill shot that we had captured on the GoPro along with the other cameras on the stand.

At that point I went back into cameraman mode, just in case another bear came in that he wanted to shoot. 

As the day sky turned dark we didn’t see any other bears. We proceed to get down and film the rest of our footage for the episode, I got to put my hands on my first bear and touch his beautiful jet black coat! 

The guide came to pick us up, he seemed just as excited as I was to be part of my first bear kill and it was all on film!! 

My hunt was over, my tag punched.

I filmed other guys, got b roll footage the rest of the week and was able to film the guy I was partnered up with from day one shooting a colored bear!!

This definitely was an epic experience, that I will remember forever and be special to me because it was the first time that I’ve ever got to go anywhere to shoot something outside of my home state. 

As I sit here and write this and relive this hunt  I can’t help but think of all the good times we had. 

Another guy I met on the hunt who is now my best friend, crew member, hunter and camera man on my team, Mr Shawn Johnson. We talk almost every day about life, hunting and our plans for the future. 

If gain nothing else out of all the hard work I put in hunting and filming, one thing I can say I definitely gained is a good friend. 

Shawn has been by my side ever since that trip and is a great supporter and always has my back.

You will get to hear more about him in upcoming episodes. 

Special thanks to Grim Reaper Broadheads, accurate, sharp, dependable and they make really big holes and epic blood trails!

Kevin Paulson

Kevin Paulson is the Founder and CEO of HuntingLife.com. His passion for Hunting began at the age of 5 hunting alongside of his father. Kevin has followed his dreams through outfitting, conservation work, videography and hunting trips around the world.

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