Legendary “Big Ben” Alberta Monster Black Bear- By Dale Boyer

"The Bear Guy" and the big one that didn't get away.

I’d like to take a moment to tell you a little about myself prior to getting into this amazing story. My name is Dale Boyer, I’m an avid hunter and bowhunter of 35 years. I’ve been both lucky and blessed by having the opportunity to have bow hunted almost every big game species in North America, although my passion is black bear hunting. In 2015 I made the decision to take my passion of the outdoors and black bear hunting into over 45 million homes in North America, yes, I put together a team of individuals like me with the same drive and passion for black bear hunting, thus BearMagnet TV was born. BearMagnet TV is a 100% archery, 100% black bear, high energy hunting TV show. Now in Season 5 and airing on three (3) established networks, with a viewership base of over 265,000, it’s full steam ahead! As the Executive Producer, In-Field and Studio Director, my hands are full. If it wasn’t for my team of hardworking individuals at BadBear Productions Inc. taking care of social media, scheduling, promotions, sponsorship negotiations, research & development, and Prostaff that all spend countless hours to put just one (1) episode together for your enjoyment, BearMagnet TV wouldn’t be possible. Now that you know a little about me… on with my story.

To The Hunt

As mentioned, I’ve hunted almost every species in North America with black bear being my favorite, there’s just something I get from black bear hunting that I don’t get from hunting any other species. Maybe it’s the thrill and excitement to hunt an animal that can do physical harm to you, possibly cause death, or is it the majestic black bear itself, king of the woods as I call them. They can be as stealthy as a slithering snake and lurk in the shadows or be as loud as an elephant running through a jungle, you’ll not see one unless they want to be seen. Ok, my story starts out by leaving my home in Eastern Ontario for my 2017 Spring BearMagnet TV filming tour. Headed West, first stop… Burnt Lake Outfitters with Master Guide Brian Kitzan in Alberta, Canada. This amazing bear camp is a mere 41.5 driving hours from my home. With many stops to refuel, and an overnight stay including picking up my then filming and hunting partner at the Winnipeg International Airport after the first leg of my trip which took approximately 24 hours and with another 16.5 hours to go prior to reaching my destination at Burnt Lake Outfitters Alberta, Canada.

Let’s Go!

Pulling into camp around 2:30 PM, arriving on time and as scheduled I was looking forward to a relaxing afternoon of unpacking, shooting my bow, checking the camera gear and maybe enjoy a relaxing beverage, but NOPE, Brian Kitzan had other plans for us… He met us and welcomed us with open arms and a firm handshake and in his next breath was “Lets go”! He was taking us in for our first hunt!!! He said there’s some big bears on camera and he doesn’t want us to miss an opportunity if one presented itself. Completely exhausted from the long 41.5-hour road trip, we quickly unpacked, geared up, shot our bows, and departed for our first night in the Alberta BIG bear woods with our knowledgeable guide and workhorse Kevin, truck loaded with bait and an ATV we headed out. The back roads we traveled were made for and by oil companies to access oil well locations and pump stations, although gravel these roads resembled highways. Approximately 1 hour from base camp by truck, then unloaded the ATV to go another 1000 – 1500 yards off the beaten path to the hunt site. Stands were setup perfectly and as requested, I’m thinking to myself, these guys got it! We went about our normal routine… getting into the stand and setup while the guide would rebait and do what guides normally do in setting up or refreshing a bait site, its now “go time”!

Hunting and Fi lining

As always, I give my hunting and filming partner the first opportunity to be the hunter, or in this case huntress. Sitting for the evening, or should I say night because we were so far North legal light ended at 11:15PM. Unfortunately, we did not see a “shooter bear” in our first outing, it gave us the opportunity to get the bugs out from setting up and film what we call in the industry “B-roll” footage. Our assigned guide Kevin returned and escorted us out of the woods, not that I’m a scaredy cat to walk out alone, its policy for Alberta Bear Outfitters to ensure their hunters are safe, besides, I and all BearMagnet TV Prostaff carry Defense Aerosols BearGuard™ bear spray in which I trust 100%, we don’t carry guns. Arriving back at bear camp around midnight we’re welcomed by a pre-warmed outfitter tent and a delicious home cooked meal! After out post-hunt meal we had the choice to sit around a campfire or slide into a makeshift “old school” hot tub. It’s a hole dug by hand (guides hands), with a tarp doubled and laid in, then filled with creek water, and heated by a copper line coiled through the campfire and a small pump drawing water through the coil and back into the hot tub, quite ingenious I must say!

Day 2 & 3

Went pretty much the same as day one, back on our regular routine spending mornings and early afternoon gathering B-roll footage, then in for an evening hunt. Again, not seeing what we consider “shooter bears”, because after 32 years of being a hardcore bear hunter you get very selective in what bear you’re willing to take.

Day 4 followed the same routine as usual, wake, tasty home cooked breakfast of eggs (any style), bacon, sausage, home fried potatoes, toast, coffee, juice… you name it you could pretty much have it! We then headed out to film more B-roll footage, then back to camp for a pre-hunt dinner then ready set go! Back into the BIG bear woods we go! Although this time Brian Kitzan (Master Guide) suggests we bring in both bows and camera gear, his word were “he’s got a good feeling about today’s hunt”. Wind in our favor we head back into the bait site we sat at on the very first night, “Luke’s Bait”, and man oh man I’m glad we did! Kevin, our assigned guide takes us in, we get set, he baits and resets the bait “crib”, hangs a new fresh beaver carcass on the cross-pole, beaver you say???? Beaver to a black bear is like candy floss to a child, they can’t get enough of it! Kevin finished up and heads out on the ATV back to his waiting truck. It’s again “go time”, we’re in and set, quietly waiting, I’m behind the camera and my partner is the huntress.

It Comes Crashing In

Not an hour later, looking at the bait barrel we hear crashing from about an angle of 1 o’clock coming through the woods. Like I said, you’ll hear bears, or you won’t, and this bear was making sure if there was a lesser bear at the bait to get out! Still looking in the direction where the ruckus was coming from in runs a very nice black bear, at a quick glance I thought it was a sow, and a nice one at that, around 300 Lbs. is what I guessed. Moments later, another bear crashing down the same game trail appears, it’s a BIG boar, black in color including its muzzle. Now if you’ve had the opportunity to see one of these ALL-BLACK bears including their muzzle, they just look mean! I guessed this bear to be between 435 and 460 for weight and a large head. This bear knew there was something different about the tree we were in, there’s something in there… yep, us! With the sow still at the bait crib, this BIG boar decides to wander over to the base of the tree we were in to investigate. Now when a bear does this investigative look, here’s a few tips not to spook that bear… 1) Don’t make any noise 2) Don’t move, and 3) Don’t make eye contact, but don’t take your eyes off him. With both of us following those tips the bear turns around and heads back towards the sow and bait barrel. I motion to my partner to take the next opportunity when presented to make “the shot”, and seconds after the perfect shot was made, double lung! The bear ran off and within 40 yards was down, death moan, it was over! Post-hunt in-stand interview and we were all done and only been on-stand for 2.5 hours.

450-Pound P&Y

I asked my partner to text message our guide to come in, so we could track and recover her beautiful 450 Lb P&Y bear, although we pretty much knew where the bear ended up. Well, let’s just say there was a little bit of a discussion, almost an argument between the two of us because she wanted me to switch places and hunt vs recover her bear, and once again I’m glad we switched up! Guys… I’m not saying ladies are always right, but listen to them sometimes, I now believe 100% there’s such a thing as women’s intuition, because the events that happened not even 2 minutes after switching out was the BEST bear hunt of my lifetime!

Part Two in Tomorrow’s Post-

 

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