By Gerry Rightmyer of Forever Wild Outdoors
Who: Gerry Rightmyer, co-host of Forever Wild Outdoors Adrenaline Adventures TV Show
What: A black bear/wolf combo hunt
Where: Watson’s Kaby Lodge in Northwest Ontario, Canada
When: September 12 -18th, 2015
Why: Do you really have to ask??
The above scenario seems pretty straightforward. I know where I’m going, when I need to be there, and what big game species I’m going after. I’ve prepared myself for this hunt for months. Sighting in my rifle, getting all of my gear prepared, getting all of the necessary paperwork together for a hunt in a foreign country… what else needs to be done?
I’ve hunted many states, provinces, and countries over my 30 plus years of big game hunting. As I look back on my career, I’ve had some tremendous experiences, killed some tremendous trophies, and been blessed whether I came home with something or not. I’ve become much more astute over the decades too! I hunt more effectively and use the experience I’ve gained over the years to make my adventures more enjoyable and more successful.
Great gear is something a serious hunter can’t sacrifice. I look back to my younger years and think of the mistakes I made (and still make), and how those failures have shaped the way I hunt. I’m not just a whitetail and turkey hunter anymore. Some of the critters I choose to hunt are many, many, many miles from home. Why would I travel thousands of miles with sub-standard equipment? Why would anyone settle for mediocrity? Successful hunters learn to adapt just like any predator in the wild. Why would any hunter put himself or herself at a disadvantage? Using superior accessories ups the odds in your favor. Who doesn’t like better odds? I know I do!
So, back to the title of the story… What’s the right combination for this black bear/wolf hunt? Well, there are a couple of pieces of equipment that I know I’m bringing on any big game adventure… great binoculars and an exceptional riflescope! Seeing is believing… literally and figuratively. Crisp, clear optics are not only desirable; they’re absolutely critical to the success of any serious big game hunter.
I’ve trained myself to see things most others don’t. Picking out horizontal lines on the vertical plane is something I pride myself on! Picking out a throat patch in a pile of brush, an ear twitch at 50 yards, or the silhouette of any game species is an art, but the naked eye has its limitations. As we age, our eyesight generally deteriorates. As I approach my “Golden Years”, I have noticed changes in my own eyesight. If only I had “eagle eyes”!
The more I use optics, the more game I see. Whether it’s the plains of South Africa, the Barren Ground of the Northwest Territories, or a distant rockslide in the mountains of New Mexico, you’ve got to have a great pair of binoculars! It can mean the difference between success and failure.
My most recent hunt at Watson’s Kaby Lodge is a classic example. We planned a combination hunt. Hunt behemoth black bear in the most breathtaking country you’ve ever seen, and pursue wolf in some of the wildest countries you’ll ever lay eyes on!
The first half of our adventure focused on the bear. A large portion of the hunting was from elevated stands, but some of the time was spent hunting from meticulously brushed-in ground blinds. Either way, I would have to be quiet, still, scent-free, and make the shot count! On this hunt, my rifle of choice was donning a brand new Vanguard Endeavor RS 4-12 x 40mm riflescope. I had plenty of time behind the scope at the rifle range, but now I needed to put the scope to the true test… a real live hunting scenario! On the fifth day of my combo hunt, the sun began to set, and ambient light was waning, but the 40-millimeter objective harnessed enough light to help me settle the crosshairs on a gorgeous North Country Black Bear. Needless to say, the scope performed flawlessly and I had my first Canadian bruin on the ground. The 250-pound boar went barely 15 yards before expiring. As we took photos of the bear, we noticed a pleasant surprise… a beautiful heart-shaped white chevron on the bear’s chest… What a trophy! Next on our combination hunt was the elusive Canadian Gray Wolf!
Our wolf hunt was over bait. Several wolves were seen cutting through the camp during our stay, and we heard them howl on a daily basis. Believe me, wolves abound in this part of Ontario. Cognizant of the many wolves in the area, I realized the chance to glimpse a wolf in the wild would be fleeting. Wolves don’t survive in this country without supremely keen senses, so I was going to have to be extremely conscientious of my movement, and human odor. I would need to constantly scan every inch of ground in front of me in order to get that one chance at killing North America’s top predator.
Throughout the day I would methodically comb their favorite travel corridors. I spent most of my “glass time” perusing their favorite haunts. Areas such as beaver dams, moose trails, and sandy beachfront would be where I would concentrate the majority of my efforts. Sometimes the bait sites would be close and other times a good distance away. If I didn’t continuously scan these terrain features and bait sites, the chances of witnessing Canis Lupus would be greatly diminished. There was no way to effectively see the entire landscape without great glass.
Morning and afternoon “sit” would consist of vigilant concentration, persistent attention, and thorough dedication to every detail of the surrounding environment. On the evening of our seventh day of hunting, with the sun setting on another breathtaking horizon, I realized the dream of killing a wolf would have to wait another season. As I thought about the events of our hunt, the camaraderie in camp, and the extraordinary experience I had at Watson’s Kaby Lodge, I felt a strong sense of satisfaction reflecting on the entire adventure… a good solid hunt. Successful in killing a beautiful black bear, and satisfied that I had given my all trying to harvest a wolf. I couldn’t ask for a better experience!
If you’re thinking about hunting bear, wolf, or moose … I strongly recommend contacting Tom & Michel Watson of Watson’s Kaby Lodge. They’re one of the finest outfitters I’ve ever had the pleasure of hunting with… professionals all the way! I would also like to thank Vanguard USA for their fantastic new riflescope. Vanguard and Watson’s Kaby Lodge proved to be the right combination on my 2015 combination hunt in Northwest Ontario Canada! Thanks for making it happen!