07 June 2012I’ve just thrown another mesquite log on the fire, sending a spray or embers skyward. The coffee is ready, hot and strong. Grab a cup, pour yourself some, pull up a Nature Blind log seat and tell me what you’ve been up to lately. Where you been hunting? And where do you plan on hunting these next several weeks? Welcome to “Campfire Talk” no where else but right here on natureblinds.com! Glad you could make it! So where are you headed next? “Bear!” you say? You know I dearly love bear hunting, it’s a passion of mine, but then so is hunting just about anything with antlers, horns, claws and teeth. Hunting spring bear comes at such a great time, other than hunting turkey and going to New Zealand and South America, exotics in Texas, or possibly an early Africa safari, there’s not much going on, particularly here in the northern hemisphere other than bear hunting. About the time ya’ll will read this, I’ll be on my... on my...ah...”umteenth” bear hunt. Actually can’t remember how many bear hunts I’ve been on, been hunting black bear for a whole lot of years! I’ve hunted “br’er bear” across most of North America from Alaska to Arizona and from the Rockies to the Big Woods of Maine. I’ve shot them with rifles, shotguns, muzzleloaders and pistols. Heaviest I’ve taken thus far on scales weighed 563 pounds, that one came from the White Mountain Apache Reservation. It squared a bit over 7 1/2 feet and had a skull that missed the all time Boone & Crockett all time record book by 1/8ths of an inch. I’ve learned a bunch about bear hunting over the years. Especially that big mature boars can be extremely tough! In preparation to my hunt in Manitoba I made certain my .375 Ruger Hawkeye African rifle, topped with Zeiss’ new Duralyt scope shooting 300 grain Hornady DGX ammo was sighted-in dead on at 100 yards. I hunt black bear, as I do all big game animals, from the ground whether hunting “over bait” or spot and stalk which I dearly love. Why the .375 Ruger shooting 300 grain DGX Hornady? Manitoba black bear can be big and tough, often stretching the scales to well over 300 pounds and 400 pound or more bears are not uncommon. Each year more people are injured and killed by black bear than by grizzlies, partly because there are many more black bear than grizzlies, but that’s not the only reason. Big mature boars tend to be aggressive, tough and tenacious! That’s why I want to use the same rifle and ammo I used when hunting thousand pound Alaskan brown bear and African lion! And I’m using my Zeiss Duralyt scope because of the lit reticle that I can adjust. Black crosshairs on dark bear in poor light don’t make as much good sense. A lighted center point of a reticle in those same circumstances, does! I sighted in my Ruger to be dead on at 100 yards because I’ll be hunting on the ground where the bait will be approximately 100 yards. And I want to hold dead on the target and know where the bullet will be going. Were I hunting out of a tree stand (which I shun regardless of what or whre I’m hunting) I would have sighted in at 25 yards, which is about the average distance a black bear is shot over bait when when hunting from a treestand. I dearly love hunting from the ground, to be on the same level as the animals I hunt. And when necessary stalk an animal or move when the winds change if I’m hunting a particular area without a whole lot of commotion. That’s what led me to work with Nature Blinds to develop a lightweight “signature stalking shield” which also doubles as a ground blind. I spent many years privately “playing with designs” to come up with the one we’ll be introducing through Nature Blinds; lots of trial and error, but great success. I’ll tell you more about the the finished product in the near future, and, the adventures experienced while using the shield in a wide variety of terrain and habitat as well as the critters I hunted while using it. You’ll see here on www.natureblinds.com what we came up with and have the opportunity to use it yourself. As we get closer we’ll also likely have a sweepstakes where you may have an opportunity to win one. More about that in the future as well. One of the great things about hunting hunting Manitoba is not only big bears but “color phase” bears. Prior to our leaving Bob Kaleta, who has hunted the Agazziz area, about three and half hours north of Winnipeg, told me of the numerous different colored bears he’s seen in the area beyond black; light brown, chocolate brown, cinnamon, blonde, red and various colors in between. Personally I’m looking for a BIG (meaning a bear that will weight in excess of 400 pounds and square over 7 feet) that is any color other than black. If I find a sizable “odd colored bear” he’ll be headed to The Wildlife Gallery (my taxidermist) for a full-bodied mount. Bob has taken some really big bears where we’re headed and tells me such bear are quite likely, not necessarily one behind every tree, they exist in number in that area of Manitoba. On the hunt I’m talking about, I’ll be with with Zeiss’ Bob Kaleta (whom I just mentioned), radio personality Jim Ferguson and my cameraman/field producer Blake Barnett. This will the first hunt we film for my new show, “Trailing the Hunter’s Moon” which will debut on The Sportsman Channel in July 2013. I’ll let you know how we did on that hunt in the near future. In the meantime, please peruse the rest of the natureblinds.com site, and take a look at what’s available here on the site and at your local Nature Blinds dealer. Please don’t forget to tell them Larry sent you! Join me here again around the campfire next week? I surely hope you will. I’ll keep a stump available for you!