Vancouver Island Black Bear
Island Bear (black bear living on Vancouver Island).
The current black bear population in BC is 120,000 - 160,000 animals or ¼ of the total black bear population of Canada. The coastal area and in particular the islands have the highest density of black bears in BC due to the abundance of rich food and mild climate. This means that our area has one of the highest densities of black bears in all of North America! What does all this mean for our clients? We see a lot of bears! Whether photographing or hunting, we routinely see 10 to 20 bears per day, with the highs reaching 30-plus! The record is 88 different bear sightings in one day! We have maintained 100% success on opportunities for the last 20 years with few exceptions.
The black bears on Vancouver Island have been classified as a distinct subspecies because of their long time separation from the mainland population. Our bears are all black with no color phases, yet, approximately 50% will have a white patch of varying sizes on their chest. Skulls and bodies are typically blockier than their mainland cousins and many of the bears we take will break the 7’ square mark. Our bears are unique physically but also in their behavior. They are the top predator in their ecosystem and act as such. The bears are opportunistic eaters and will eat nearly anything but are essentially herbivores in the spring, concentrating on grasses and clover mostly. In late summer and fall they target berries and salmon.
Clients booking to photograph bears, must maintain a respectful silence and not disrupt the bear's daily routine. Female bears with cubs, while beautiful, are susceptible to stress and are to be given a wide berth. Hunting clients must do so in an ethical manner and must adhere to Pacific Rim's biologically based management strategy. Our experienced guides try to only take the oldest male bears.
The First Nations people understand the complicated spiritual relationship between these bears, humans and the environment. Pacific Rim clients will continue to respect the ecologically sound black bear management strategy implemented many centuries ago by the First Nations people. Conservation of this unique and wondrous natural resource is, and always will be, Pacific Rim Guide Outfitters’ primary objective.
Lodging and Food
The lodging is modern cabins with ocean front views, electricity, private bathrooms, etc. Guests will be served excellent breakfasts and dinners each night with our other clients and guides and will take a field lunch to eat during the day while out hunting.
Terrain and Hunting Style
Pacific Rim's exclusive guiding area encompasses the entire northern end of the "Island." It takes five hours to drive from one end of the territory to the other! The terrain within our vast hunting area varies greatly from steep and rocky logging areas to lush tidal flats along the ocean. All of our hunts are spot and stalk since baiting is illegal in BC. Your experienced guide will be with you at all times, both to ensure your safety, and to inform and advise you on the habits, age, size and sex of each of the many black bears you will see.
Your professional guide will also provide a wealth of information about the other wildlife you may see including eagles, Roosevelt elk, Columbia black-tailed deer, wolves and, if you are lucky, cougar. The wildlife management strategy we have adopted in this area is geared toward balance, sustainability, and trophy quality. We spread out the hunting pressure as much as possible and target mature males; your guide will be very careful in the selection of bears. We try and get as close as possible for proper judgment and the majority of the shots are less than 100 yards.
We use several methods to hunt our spring bears including driving and glassing, ocean boats ATV’s, and hiking into deactivated roads and tidal flats. In early spring we focus on hunting low elevation areas and tidal flats targeting condensed bears that have just emerged from hibernation and are feeding on small areas of new growth. As the season wears on more and more country becomes accessible and the bears spread out and new bears show up. In late May/early June the rut starts and much like the whitetail rut, boars can be found anywhere cruising for sows. The method of hunting depends on the time of year, the physical ability of the hunter and the weather. We are able, in all cases to tailor the hunt to the hunter’s physical ability.
We are very excited to reintroduce our fall black bear hunts in 2013. The coastal region and its watersheds receive huge salmon runs mid-fall and this is a major food source for the bears and a main reason they grow so big along the coast. We find bears by working our way up and down the rivers which is a very exciting way to hunt since bears are seen close and often. Multiple bears on one small stretch of river is not unusual. This fact makes fall hunts very conducive to bowhunting. Also, bears are not the only wildlife this food source attracts which makes for constant action throughout the day. It is important to be reasonably physically fit for these hunts which can involve a lot of walking.
Weather on northern Vancouver Island tends to be cool and wet and temperatures can vary significantly even in the 5 day span of a hunt. Bring layered clothes that you can adjust for temperatures ranging from the mid 40’s to low 70’s as well as good rain gear and boots with strong ankle support. Once you send us your deposit, a complete list of recommended gear will be sent to you.
Hunters have two options for arriving at our bear camp. The first is to fly into Vancouver, rent a vehicle, take a ferry across the straits of Georgia and drive roughly 4 hours north to our cabins. Alternatively, you can fly directly into Port Hardy (typically after connecting through Vancouver) and one of our guides will pick you up at the airport. Once you book a trip with us we will get you all the details required for either option. In all cases, clients are responsible for all travel costs of getting to our main camp (outside of our guides picking you up at the Port Hardy airport).
Everyone entering Canada by sea or air, beginning Jan. 8, 2007, including US Citizens, will need a passport. All American hunters, planning to hunt in Canada or elsewhere in the future, should apply for a passport right away if you don’t already possess one.
Everyone entering Canada by sea or air, beginning Jan. 8, 2007, including US Citizens, will need a passport. All American hunters, planning to hunt in Canada or elsewhere in the future, should apply for a passport right away if you don’t already possess one. Also, please note that Canada is fairly strict about allowing non-citizens into the country if they have past criminal records or game violations (Canada shares game violation data with Fish and Game agencies in the USA). If you have any legal issues in your past, regardless of how long ago they occurred or the nature of the offense, it is wise to look into your prospects of successfully getting into Canada before booking your hunt. Much of the info regarding this process can be found at:
Guns and Ammunition
Guns .30 caliber and larger are ideal for our big bears, although smaller hunters can get by with a .270 caliber rifle. We strongly recommend premium, bonded bullets (Nosler Partition, Accubond, etc.) as bear are strong, heavily muscled animals. Gun hunters should be prepared to take shots from 25 to 200 yards. Archers should use a premium fixed blade broadhead and be practice shots out to 40 yards.
To bring your gun into Canada you will need a US 4457 form filled out in advance (this is available at any airport which has US Customs offices and can be stamped for approval by a customs agent when you bring them your rifle to verify the serial number). Once you arrive in Canada you will need to fill out a firearms declaration form and pay $25 CDN to temporarily register your firearm for your trip. Please note that handguns are not legal in Canada and cannot be brought in.
Spring hunts begin in mid-April and run until June 13th, fall hunts run from Oct 1st to 10th. Choice of dates is determined by the date your deposit is received.
Getting your trophies home
Your trophy will be skinned in the field, have the skull removed and the skin frozen. We can have your trophy taken care of on the island by a taxidermist we recommend and shipped to you upon completion or you can bring an extra duffle bag and take the frozen hide home with you. If you choose to take the hide home with you, all risks and additional luggage costs are your responsibility.
In British Columbia we are required by law to remove all edible portions of the animal. The meat will be professionally cared for, brought back to camp, and processed. If you do not want to take it with you we have several uses for it including donation to the local food bank. If you do want to take some or all of the meat home with you we request that you bring a cooler of the appropriate size. In all cases we will provide all the necessary paperwork and permits.
Cost (all costs in USD)
$7,700 USD (five-day hunt). Price includes food and lodging and all transportation while searching for bears. Normal hunting is 2x1 (2 clients, one guide), however 1x1 hunts are available for $11,000 USD and include the price of a second bear as part of the package. All bow hunts are 1x1 for $11,000 CDN and include a second bear. Hunters who are on 2x1 hunts may take a second black bear for an additional $3,300 USD (to be paid before 2nd bear hunt starts) plus another $150 USD for an additional tag. Observers are welcome, at a cost of $1500 USD. Add 5% Gov’t HST to all costs. Please note that if you shoot at and wound an animal efforts will be made to recover the animal, but the hunt is considered to be over.
A $3,850 USD deposit is required to hold dates. The remaining 50% is due January 1st on the year of your hunt. All deposits are non-refundable for any reason. Requests for date changes once deposits have been paid will only be honored solely at our discretion and are subject to a 10% processing fee. Although we have never exercised it, we reserve to right to add a “fuel surcharge” to cover extreme rises in fuel prices between the time you book and the hunt date.
All deposits and balances paid are completely non-refundable in whole or in part for any reason including but not limited to: illness, injury, flight delays, unforeseen loss of income, early departure, late arrival, business emergencies, family emergencies, etc. Please also be aware that any animal that is injured in any way is considered fatal and will be charged at full price.
All lodging, food and beverages while hunting (including alcohol in moderation), transportation from Port Hardy airport to the cabins if required, professional hunting guides, and field preparation of animals.
Commercial flights to Port Hardy or Vancouver, ferry fees (if any), hotel rooms before or after hunt, licenses, tips, trophy shipment or taxidermy.
The following licenses are required for this hunt location:
All of the above licenses will be purchased for you in advance of your trip. The only exception is 2x1 hunters who may decide to buy a second tag after arriving if they choose to go after an additional bear.
"...the pursuit of such magnificent animals in a beautiful land of towering mountains, thick forests, long beaches, pristine streams and jagged fjords is one of the most enjoyable sporting trips in North America. Most days, Mr. Shockey's Pacific Rim Guide Outfitter Ltd. guides and clients will see more than 10 of the ebony bruins. Sighting 20 to 30 bears per day isn't uncommon."—The Wall Street Journal
To Book a Hunt or for More Information
Contact: Dan Goodenow
To See Bear Photos
Click the following link: Bear Photos