An advantage to hunting in late May and early June in New Brunswick is that bear pelts are in prime condition and bears are actively feeding.
My guide, Earl Peterson places his stands at least five miles apart to ensure that hunters at different stands are hunting different bear. Earl’s devotion to his clients also is evident in his philosophy on booking hunts.
“I’d rather book eight hunters and have them all get bear,” says Peterson, “than book 30 hunters and have only half of them go home with a bear.”
Taking only eight hunters per season and hunting over 17 well-spaced, active baits, Peterson makes certain the sportsman is getting a quality hunting experience for their hard-earned dollar.
New Brunswick has a huge population of black of black bears that are eager to come to the bait stations as this monster proves.
Peterson certainly knows his quarry, and his training as a wildlife rehabilitation expert and licensed nuisance wildlife control agent are but a small testimony to his field knowledge of bear and other game. I accompanied Earl on his bait line as soon as I arrived in St. Paul, and learned just why his success rate always is above 90 percent.
Timers Help In Stand Selection
We started out in the afternoon with a truck full of rancid meat and sweet pastries that only would appeal to an omnivore like the black bear. We baited four of the 17 stands that Earl maintains, and with the aid of trail timers, were able to determine what time the bait was being hit upon. All four bait sites were torn apart by hungry bears, and all were tripped during legal shooting times.
A quick glance at the muddy areas surrounding the stands showed bear tracks of varying sizes, some quite large and others obviously cubs and yearlings. Earl advertises guaranteed hunting over active baits, and these baits were definitely active.
After a hearty meal and quick check of my rifle’s accuracy, we headed out to take a stand for the evening hunt. As luck would have it, a farmer was cutting wood nearby so Earl made a decision to move to a more secluded spot. We settled in at the edge of a swamp and began the wait until dark. The trail timer on this site indicated the bear was hitting the bait between 8:45 p.m. and 9:05 p.m., with legal shooting time ending at 9:33 p.m., (New Brunswick is an hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time using Atlantic Time). Earl was right on the money, as my bear made its appearance at exactly 9 p.m., sharp.
New Brunswick guides read tracks to determine the size of the bear that visit their bait stations.
Although I had several days left in my hunt, I was in no hurry to leave the comfort of the Sportsman’s Pride lodge, as there were plenty of things to do. My mornings were spent casting flies on one of the lodge’s two trout ponds that are stocked with speckled trout. In the afternoon, Earl kept me entertained with a few challenging rounds at the trap range. I also was able to see his champion pointer and springers at work on the game birds that he raises and sells for training.
Making The Trip
Peterson not only offers spring bear hunting in a region that is loaded with trophy-sized animals, he provides comfortable lodging, hearty meals and a host of other activities to keep his clients entertained both during their hunt or after they’ve taken a bear.
Sportsman’s Pride Lodge is located in St. Paul, New Brunswick, just outside of Moncton. The lodge is approximately a four-hour drive from Bangor, Maine. There is air service into Moncton and several surrounding towns.
A five-day spring bear hunt with Peterson did coss $1,575 U.S., which includes food, lodging and a non-resident license. Call for current pricing information. For more information about booking a spring bear hunt, contact: