Daniel Boone would have loved Ken Faith of Homer's Gap. Faith recently bagged his 59th and 60th black bear.
Faith does have an advantage over Boone in that he has modern gear and an outfitter to guide him to good spots, but Boone was not restricted by seasons so maybe it's even.
Faith's hunt was rather a difficult one in that his guide Chris McKinnon of McKinnon's Outfitters of Alberta, Canada had a great spot picked out for the hunt. However, it meant a 14-mile ride on a quad through swamps and rutted roads. Several times they had to dismount and wrestle the quad out of some pretty bad places before they got to the chosen stand near Calling Lake. When they arrived, ice and snow still dotted the shores of the lake.
He bagged a blackie the day before, but on May 17, the huge (400 pounds or better, they estimated) bear came into the stand and when Faith's .300 Weatherbee Magnum spoke, the bear was "In the bag."
"Twenty minutes after I shot this particular bear, a brown-phase black bear with a beautiful white patch on the throat ventured into the stand," Faith said. "But I had my limit of two bears for that season so I couldn't shoot."
One of the bears will soon be a rug in Faith's house.
Faith has bagged two blond-phase black bears, two cinnamon-phase, 15 brown-phase and one all-white phase black bear. This really a strange and rare event, but Faith said it was not an Albino but a true white-phase black bear. The rest of the bears were regular black bears.
Obviously, Faith hunts bears regularly. He's hunted Newfoundland (one of his favorite places to hunt) and almost all the provinces of Canada. I'm envious.
There is an interesting website you may want to look up. Called Wired Outdoors, it features local Pennsylvania hunts of all sorts, filmed by Pennsylvania field staffers of the organization.
The concept was the brainchild of Jason Say and Kyle Schwabendaur, both Pennsylvanians.
"Wired Outdoors is all about bringing to you hunts that are genuine Pennsylvania products. No canned hunts," Say said. "These hunts are the real thing, filmed on both public and private lands. Our niche is the Internet."
My friend and hunting buddy, Joanie Haidle, was recently added to the staff of 18 field staffers and her first assignemnt was a stiff one - to come do the calling for Jason Say's father, Carl, who had never bagged a spring gobbler.
Well, when Joanie fires up her own calls, few turkeys can resist and so daylight was hardly a half-hour old before Joanie had coaxed a beautiful, mature gobbler to Carl's gun.
Incidentally, the folks at Wired Outdoors all use Joanie's calls. They can be purchased locally, too, at a Duncansville store. Joanie's Beard-Bustin' calls are what you want to look for.
To get to Wired Outdoors program go to Wired Outdoors.com and also on YouTube.com/Wired OutdoorsTV. You'll see Joanie's hunt with Carl there. They all have Facebook pages too.
Wired Outdoors is involved in a couple of powerful charity events, too. One is called Camou Cares, which annually sponsors hunts for disabled children and children with life-threatening diseases. Also they branched out into sponsoring hunts with disable veterans.
I've always maintained that you can tell the worth of any sportsmen's organizations by how and what they give back to the sport and what they do for youngsters and others who need some help.
Say told me that the Pennsylvania hunts are the hardest to film because this is the toughest state in which to bag a gobbler.
"There is so much hunter pressure on birds," he said. "By the second or third day of the season they are already spooky beyond belief and shy of any calls they hear from afar. There is also a lot of hunter interference with hunts and filming attempts too. But we keep at it because we want to offer our viewers authentic Pennsylvania hunts."