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Hunting Large Game in BWCA

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Wondering if anyone on this forum has hunted the b-dub for large game. I'm considering a trip to the BWCA to hunt Whitetails during September (Archery - obviously) and possibly black bear if I draw a permit. I would be greatful if anyone could comment on the challenges in hunting this remote territory, specifically the challenge in keeping game meet cool in potentialy warm weather. Thanks!

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Jackpine Rob

I grew up hunting that area, and you have identified one of the two big issues.

#1 Keeping the meat from spoiling. Coolers with ice are one option. Praying for cool weather is another. Other than that, you have very little time to play with. The hide must come off, the beast must be quartered or boned, and the hunter has to run like heck for civilization and refrigeration. Bugs can be an issue, so mesh meat bags help keep things clean, and I've heard of guys using black pepper to keep the flies off. Never tried it myself, but I've heard it helps.

#2 Packing in and out. Weight and space are an issue, so coolers of ice may limit how far you can travel. If you are successful and bag something, you don't want to be too far from the nearest road if you're racing to get fresh meat out. Add to that the additional gear a guy needs for hunting, and the logistics of canoeing for a big game hunt take on a whole new dimension. MAKE SURE you can actually fit everything in your canoe without sinking it or making things unsafe. The last thing you need is to dump your canoe in fall water.

Speaking of the water..... I did dunk a deer in the lake one time to clean it off and cool it down after gutting. It was a warm day, and the cold water certainly helped. Just make sure you get things dry before packing into bags. Too much water can speed up the rot process.

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Thanks for those tips. We'll be hunting not too far away form the motorized area and hope to establish a communication method that will allow for our "beasts" to be picked up and motored back to the landing for proper care and processing.

Would you or anyone else care to comment on the availablility of whitetail and black bear in the area? How difficult will it be for us to see a bear?

Thanks again for your tips.

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I have hunted both bear and moose in the BWCA successfully. Your are smart to stay near the border so you can get out quickly with your bear. They do not allow bait stations so the number of bear shot each year is around 10 or less, check the DNR website for exact numbers. Staying close to the border on the busier routes such as Lake 1 chain gives you a better chance to encounter a bear. I would check with the outfitters to see where the problem bears show up this year. You might want to work with an outfitter like Andersons out of Crane Lake. He will haul you up by power boat to Lac La Croix, Loon, etc, rent you a satelite phone, and then you can call him if you shoot a bear to have him haul you out ASAP. Marc Anderson is one of the best, he can give you information as to where the problem bears are as well.

As for deer I wish you luck. They are like a needle in the haystack in the BWCA. I would try one of the areas that has been burned recently to see if maybe deer are moving into the area. I can only recall seeing one deer in the BWCA and that was years ago off the Nina Moose River. I spoke to someone last year on Lake 1 who had seen two swimming accross that lake.

I will tell you either way its a great place to hunt just not the quantity of game you would find in a managed forest.

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