Seven Sisters Bear Hunt
By Thomas K. Hagen
For many years, my dad and I have gone to the Seven Sisters area to hunt bear with Dean Randell. According to dad, Dean is the best and most respected outdoorsman he has ever known. On this particular hunting trip, my dad invited two other boys about my age. We were all going to bow hunt – a new experience. Prior to this, I had only hunted using a rifle. My dad was with me when I shot my first bear at the age of 12.
Since he wasn't hunting, my dad decided to accompany me and hopefully watch me take my first bear with a bow. On the first evening we caught a glimpse of a large bear but he wouldn’t come in to the bait. Dad thought that if I was going to get a shot, it wouldn’t be at the bait. I pondered that comment; it turned out he was right. We would have to wait for another evening hunt.
On the second evening, approximately one hour before dark, the huge bear started breaking branches and making a lot of noise. This was a warning to whoever was around the bait that this was his territory – that he was the dominant one in this locale. We waited patiently for a good hour, listening to his antics in the woods, before he entered the bait area. He was extremely cautious: sniffing the air, looking for movement, and listening to noise. Finally, he let his guard down by stepping into an opening that allowed me to make a shot, which was on target.
The bear never committed himself to the bait – just as my dad had predicted. Being dominant and in control of his area is what did him in. Since it was getting dark, we waited until morning to look for him. To my surprise, he was a true trophy. The bear weighed an estimated 500 pounds and his skull scored 19 7/16 inches.
Right now, I have a full body mount of my trophy in mom's living room. He is just too large to put in any other part of our home. Mom is not very happy that he is there, but I am proud of my trophy and the story behind it. I am thankful to the Manitoba Big Game Trophy Association for giving me the opportunity to share this story, and for having an awards program that recognizes the trophy animals hunted in the province.
It turned out to be the hunt of a lifetime for all three of us teenagers. Each of us took one shot at a bear and all three bears were recovered. As Dean and dad both agreed, with the quality of bears and our success, we probably would not repeat such a feat for many years to come. My friends Ben and Jon Wheelock shot respectable bears as well. One had a 3/4 mount done; the other a bear rug. We all are proud of our accomplishments, almost as proud as my dad is of all of us!