ScentBlocker's own Mike Swan gets it done in Ontario!

There's a lot that goes on behind the scenes here at the Shield Headquarters and one of the masterminds in the shadows is Marketing Director Mike Swan. The fall is Mike's busiest time of year and he rarely gets to leave the office to hunt. Recently Mike had the opportunity of a lifetime to cruise up to Ontario and hunt black bear with Bob and Larry of ScentBlocker Most Wanted. With a lot of hard work spiced up with a bit of luck- Mike harvested a giant bear on video! Here's the tale- in his own words. Stay tuned to the Outdoor Channel next season for Mike's bear hunt on ScentBlocker Most Wanted TV. 

The proud Mike Swan and his gigantic Ontario bear. This was Mike's first bear hunt- and he's not set the bar for future hunts rather high. The proud Mike Swan and his gigantic Ontario bear. This was Mike's first bear hunt- and he's not set the bar for future hunts rather high.

 

I just returned from what were the hottest day(s) in Ontario so far this summer which coincided with Black Bear hunting opener. My name is Michael Swan, and I’m fortunate enough to be the Marketing Director for Robinson Outdoors Products, which manufactures ScentBlocker, Tree Spider, and Whitewater Outdoor brands of hunting products. First week of August, I was invited by Bob Richardson and Larry Woodward of ScentBlocker's Most Wanted to join them on a early season black bear hunt. Though in the thick of the marketing season, they were able to convince us that this would be a short trip.

Bob and Larry had us situated in well-known terrain, just one hour north of the MN/Canadian border, I was to meet them in Atikokan, Ontario Canada, at Canoe Canada, home of Quetico Country Hunts. These guys are notorious for tagging out on some of the biggest black bears in TV. They have 20+ years of experience hunting this particular area in Ontario's wet, swampy, incredibly tough terrain. Highs neared 90 this weekend and the hunting day started late afternoon. 

To be clear, I have never hunted a bear, though familiar with the long process of preparation with setting stands, trail cams, baiting; sometimes weeks in advance to get bears familiar with a feeding sight. Shy, they will overcome fear for a shot at good calories, which baits provide in preparation for their annual hibernation. I was paired up with S.B.M.W. senior cameraman, Josh Hill. You may have met this young man at ATA, seasoned over five years of shooting video with Bob and Larry, and Scott from a tree; in the mountains, in Africa, and across the country. I was committed to shooting my first bear and making a good episode, which is Bob and Larry's charge in all their hunting activities- for they must create no less than 52 episodes of good hunting TV per year. 

Each hunt, after a day of checking trail cams, and filling up the baits on a whole series of stand sites, we headed to the woods. Hunters and camermen were all decked out in some our newest ScentBlocker and Tree Spider products. Myself, I wore the Trinity 1.5 shirt, paired with the new Trinity Featherlite shirt, and the Featherlite Spiderwebs. Even with the lightest scent control available, I worked up a sweat getting into stand, so I'd wipe down my hair, ears, neck, hands etc. with a Ti4 Body Bath Towel. This was a quick cool down, and removed odor causing sweat and scent in the thick humidity. I was immediately refreshed, and could literally feel the cooling breeze, which was consistently blowing directly north, unfortunately toward the bait. 

Not entirely surprising though was our regular visitor on cam during day light, a 200 lb black bear boar who was astute enough to not provide a broadside shot as he looted the bait pile repeatedly, directly facing us (and in our direct line of scent). He would crawl in on all fours, and back out on all fours, reminding me of a German Shepard doing tricks. Not a single shooting opportunity presented itself, which turned out to be a good thing.

The next evening, near dark, after a quiet hunt we heard the break of a stick not far off to our left. We assumed it was the 200 pounder coming back for his snack and readied to shoot, both camera and bow. I watched as trees shook in the forest below to our left coming in from 50 yards, winding further behind us presenting patches of black fur along the way. He wound around through the deepest cover, obviously checking scent finally walking below my stand before heading forward the left side of the bait, and just out of reach. He looked big, black, and wary, ...but hungry. He stood on all fours drawing deep breaths of the candy, cookie dough, and chocolate- all topped with strawberry pie filling buried under the pile of logs. 

I was prepared and drew my bow as shooting light was failing fast. We did not want to miss this opportunity. Tempted by the smell of a sweet snack, but shy of stepping into the open, the boar repeatedly hesitated, his vitals hidden behind the trunk of a mid sized cedar tree. Finally, with minutes left of shooting light, and after having been at full draw, the bear turned away, exposing his left flank providing a quartering away shot. I took it. 

 

Mike's shot is well on it's way. Mike's shot is well on it's way.

 

Anchoring the bear, and the memory of a lifetime- the arrow flew true and made short work of this massive boar. Anchoring the bear, and the memory of a lifetime- the arrow flew true and made short work of this massive boar.

 

The shot, though further to the right than planned was true as indicated by the fierce growl of the bruin and a disappearing glowing Nocturnal nock flying through the air. Sounds of bear crashing though the forest could be heard within seconds. And then, as if nothing happened, the forest was eerily silent once again.

Pushing into the dark woods at night with a potentially wounded bear was not appealing. I determined the best course of action would be to get down quietly, retrieve our GoPro cameras and pull back until morning. As a surprise, a lighted nock lay on the forest floor near the shot site, still attached to the last quarter of my Victory VAP arrow. Blood filled, and splashed up to the vanes and a hint of course black fur left questions in my mind.

We re-watched the nights action back at camp, getting opinions of Bob, Larry and the team as we reviewed the shot footage- real-time, and frame by frame. A hulking black shape masked by trees with what looked crazy string of the lighted red nock streaming into it's left side, then a blur of action. We took our best guess at the results we would not confirm until morning.  The consensus was optimistic. A restless night of sleep followed, with an early breakfast, coffee and a beeline to the woods to track a bear.

Excitement built as Larry Woodward and I moved at a quick pace into the woods, eager to get on the trail with Bob, Josh and Ryan following behind. As it turns out, tracking was easy with a healthy, and still bright red blood trail. The 2 bladed Rage Extreme had obviously done its work. Hopes high, we spread out and searched along the sides of the trail. The night before, we had heard the bear tear out of the clearing and with just a few moments of crashing, we had assumed he'd lain up, and that’s just what the track showed.  A mere 30 yards, the impression of where the bear had laid was obvious on the forest floor. Tracks and a healthy blood trail said, he had continued to move on, probably when we'd made noise left the stand the night before, but his tracks did not go far, for 15 yards from there the silence anticipation was broken when we heard Larry shout, “I got a bear!” Sweet relief!

Bob, Mike, and Larry. The guys were just as happy as Mike was and know the footage will make for great TV. Bob, Mike, and Larry. The guys were just as happy as Mike was and know the footage will make for great TV.

 

As I came upon the black beast, I was truly startled by the scale. His head was huge and the health of the bear was apparent. It had blonde highlights and consensus was that it is what is called a "Chocolate" black bear. He had a full, shiny hide, long 6" claws, and a great tan muzzle. No stranger to trouble, his muzzle, ears and head showed scars from sparing with his peers. Back slaps, hand shakes and pure excitement wraps this story up. Of course, hauling out a 400 lb bear through the swampy humid woods was no small chore, but one I was happy to do with the help of good friends!

Shane Selman, the head outfitter from Quetico Country Hunts estimated that it was a 9-year-old boar, which weighted in at nearly 400lbs! The rest of us agreed with its age estimate. Part of taking an Ontario black bear is that the government requires getting it aged by their Fish and Game via a small mailing envelope for the pre-molar tooth. I'm told I should get the results in the mail in a year or so. I look forward to the results, though no matter what, it is a hunt and a bear that I will never forget.

Michael Swan

Gear List:

ScentBlocker

Mossy Oak

  • Break Up Infinity camouflage

Mathews, Inc.

  • Hēli m Bow

Rage Broadheads

  • X treme Expandable

Victory Archery

  • Arrows

Scentblocker Most Wanted

  • Filmed

Canoe Canada Outfitters in Ontario, Canada

Nokturnal lighted nocks

 

OUTFITTER:
Quetico Country Hunts
300 O'Brien Street
Atikokan, Ontario P0T 1C0

Phone: +1 807-597-8317
Email: sselmanqueticotrapper@shaw.ca
Website: http://queticocountryhunts.ca/

 

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