Newfoundland Bear Hunt 2019 [RECAP]

Last year, I met Mark, owner of Ironbound Outfitters, and he invited me to go on a Newfoundland Black Bear hunt. In June of 2018, I headed to Canada and was able to harvest my FIRST BLACK BEAR EVER! This year, I headed back north in hopes of getting a bigger bear than last year.

 

Here’s a recap of my trip:

 The travel to Newfoundland was easy, it was two flights- DFW to Toronto, Toronto to Deer Lake. In Toronto, Cole and I met up with TJ, the cameraman for my trip. Oddly enough, the first time I ever met TJ was right then and there at the airport. Having a solid relationship with your cameraman is a big part in making a film good. So, of course, I was a little nervous at first. Luckily,  we all hit it off as soon as we met!

We arrived in Newfoundland at 1:30am. When we left the airport, we went straight to the hotel~ The hotel I thought I had already booked. Come to find out, I forgot to book it, and it just so happens they were booked solid with no rooms available. We called around and finally found 1 hotel with 1 room left. So at 2am, we got a room for the night.

 Getting to camp + Day 1 Hunt

We woke up the next morning to head to camp, but before we made our way to the remote area, we made a few stops. One of them being the legendary Tim Horton’s (raspberry filled donut….YES please). We also went by the taxidermist, Newfoundland Taxidermy Services, where my bear from last year is being mounted. See all the amazing mounts he’s done below (video).

 
 

 

Ironbound Outfitters Bear camp

It was about a 2 hour drive to camp. As soon as we got there, we changed into our camo and headed to the stand. That night, we sat in a ground blind for 3 hours where they had been seeing a lot of activity. This was the spot where a 500+ pound bear had been showing up on camera. Unfortunately, nothing came in that night.

Day 2 of the Hunt

The next day, we went to a different spot next to a lake. It was TJ, and Cole, and I all sitting in a 5x5 blind with two chairs, a soft sided cooler which also doubled as Cole’s chair (poor Cole), my bag, my rifle, TJ’s camera bag PLUS all of his transformer looking camera gear. It was a close quarters with no personal space type of sit, but entertaining at the least. Also, there wasn’t any service in this part of Canada, which honestly was amazing. When you get to spend 8 hours in God’s country waiting for bears, you also come up with things to do to keep you a little busy so you don’t just stare out the window anxious like I normally would if I didn’t stay busy.

During this all day sit, I finally finished the book I was reading called “Wildflower- by Drew Barrymore” (PS girls this book is SO good, you’ll feel like you’re Drew Barrymore’s friend after you read it lol), made some new high scores on some games, and then almost broke my phone over this stupid puzzle game. Haha So I finally stopped playing a while to watch for bears and cool down from the frustration that puzzle game gave me. Cole and TJ can vouch, it was a team effort game by the time I stopped playing.

Anyways, it was a long brutal sit with the infamous black flies being in full force (see photo). We did an 8 hour sit without seeing anything but a Pine Marten. {Fun Fact: they are protected on the Newfoundland Island.} Thankfully we were far enough away from the bears at this sit I was able to use my Citronella Cartidges and mister from Hunter’s Kloak to help out with the fly situation. (Learn more about Hunter’s Kloak in the video below or click here.)

**The guides said they really can’t tell if citronella scent spooks the bears, some guys use it and still- some have successful bear hunts and some don’t. I just didn’t want to risk it at those close 25-30 yard sits.**

Newfoundland+Black+Flies

 Day 3 of the Hunt

Day 3 came along- I slept in while the boys (Mark, Cole and TJ) went to town. It had been a rough morning with the WIFI DOWN! (It’s okay, we lived to tell about it) and we decided to go check the sights and see if anything had come in. The bears had been MIA at all of the places we had hunted, so we tried a new place that night. Donnie, our guide, told us that this was HIS spot and it was a two person tree stand.

This was not an ordinary tree stand. It was a- man made, nails & screws, cracking wood treehouse that fell the previous year and was just fixed, type of tree stand. So TJ and I made our way up; just hoping that the wood wasn’t going to snap on the ladder steps as the trees were swaying back and forth, making our entire treehouse/treestand shake. Thennnn, we had to get my bags, my rifle, and TJ’s camera gear up from Donnie with only using a rope to pull it up…. I don’t recommend doing this.

Eventually getting situated, I was sitting in a small lawnchair and TJ with all his camera gear, sitting on a small wood chair with no back (not to mention he wasn’t the biggest fan of heights lol Sorry TJ). I actually enjoyed that setup, it reminded me of the good ole hunting ways. It reminded me of the way my grandparents would describe how they hunted growing up. This sit, we set out to not talk AT ALL-I’m not good at sitting for hours without talking, but we did pretty good with only a few sentences here and there. Mainly, the only time we talked was when one of us beat the others high score on Color Switch or Helix Jump. Again, another 4 hour sit of seeing nothing but squirrels and YES, at times those squirrels sounded like big bear. *eyeroll*

We didn’t get back to camp until about 11:30 each night. It gets dark super late in Newfoundland (like 10 pm) and then depending where we were, we had to get back to the truck as well as drive back to camp. So we didn’t do much in the evenings except eat (Paula cooks some yummy food and enough to feed a small village so you are always stuffed. Thanks, Paula!), watched a movie on DVD (Satellite wasn’t a thing, which was fun cause now it’s usually all on demand) and then go to bed. Sometimes the guys would go out and take picture of the milky way or some cool scenery shots. (pictures below)

 Day 4 of the hunt

The last day of hope came around, and I was getting pretty discouraged as we had not seen a single bear. That morning, we went to check all the sights from the night before. Still nothing had come in to any of them. We came up with a plan for the evening to go to the same sight as the first night. That looked like the best option. Not even going to lie, after the morning check, I was in a BAD MOOD. While waiting to go back for lunch that day, we fished for a little while catching a few small landlocked Salmon.

On the way back to camp, we passed a sight we hunted the first day, and right then a big bear crossed the road running and not planning to stop anytime soon…. Yeah my bad mood didn’t get any better. It was a good sign that the bear were moving, but it was still a time crunch for me since I only had one sit left. My flight back home left at 5 am the next morning.

The Infamous Newfoundland Black Flies

The Infamous Newfoundland Black Flies

The treehouse I mentioned before

The treehouse I mentioned before

Parked lakeside to take a boat over to the other side

Parked lakeside to take a boat over to the other side

Newfoundland Milky Way

Newfoundland Milky Way

We headed out for the evening hunt with high hopes. On the way, we passed a field and BOOM, big black bear crossing an open field. We immediately stopped to see if we could get a good shot on him. The only opportunity I had was a 450 yard shot as the bear was walking. I didn’t feel comfortable attempting this shot. I wanted to try to put on a stalk to get a better opportunity to seal the deal. Looking at the field from where I was, it looked wide open, but boy I was wrong. It was thick bush about 3-4 feet tall. The bear disappeared and wasn’t to be seen again. We walked about 1.5 miles circling the area where we last saw this bear, but we didn’t see it again.

After putting on the stalk, we headed to the last sit of the trip. There had been bears coming into this sight, but not until the middle of the night. With little hope left, we gave it a shot and put in a 6 hour sit that night in the treehouse treestand.

Nothing.

I was bummed. I knew there were bears in the area because they had been showing up on camera, they just didn’t want to come out for me. I debated on extending my trip and went back and forth multiple times. I decided I needed to go ahead and come on home as I had a lot waiting on me to do back in Texas, and the guys had to be home as well. ~AND changing flights is not cheap..

The next day after I got home, I received these texts from Mark—(pictures below)

 

The big bear that I had set out to hunt in the beginning had shown up at the sight I hunted the first day, as well as a few more bears showing up at the other sights I had tried to hunt. If only I had stayed a few extra days, I would have come back with a nice black bear.

The odds just weren’t in my favor this trip, but that’s okay- I guess that’s why they call it hunting. Now the only option is to plan another trip to go back ;)

All in all, it was a good trip with a lot of memories made. Cole was able to accompany me on this trip, making it the first big game hunt he’s ever been on. It was TJ’s first time out of the country, and it was good getting to know him. The 3 of us hit it off and have made big plans for the future. I also got to spend some time with Mark, Donnie, and Paula (Ironbound Outfitters Crew) which is always a great time! So even though I didn’t get one this time, I have something to look forward to!

Even though I came home empty handed, there was so much positive that came out of it to be grateful for. I tried to write this blog in a way that y’all felt like you were there with me. Leave a comment- let me know how I did/ what I should get better at. If you have any questions, feel free to email me and maybe it’s something I could write about in my next blog!

 

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**Don’t forget to check out the gallery of all the pics from my trip BELOW**

Happy Hunting, and as always, God Bless!

 
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Cole Townsend

Cole Townsend

SHOUTOUT

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to these two for filming and taking pics of our trip!

Click on pictures to view profiles.

TJ Booth

TJ Booth