Would You Shoot This Bear?

Some hunters decide whether to shoot a black bear based on size alone. Others, like me, also take into consideration a bear's overall coloration.

Through the years I've been fortunate to tag black bears that were black (several) and blonde/cinnamon (one). After a dozen bear hunts in various Canadian provinces as well as Minnesota, I've seen exactly one chocolate-phase black bear, and it weighed only 50-60 pounds.

Friends of mine have killed massive chocolate bears, and every time I see a pic of one of these rare beasts on Facebook, I can't help but hope it someday happens to me. And I'll let you in on a little secret: I know exactly where I'm headed to shoot such a bear. And I hope the boar's ears are itching right now as I write about him.

Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce to Willy Wonka. He lives in western Manitoba on land hunted by Big Grass Outfitters.

Check out the time/date stamp on this Big Grass trail cam pic of Willy Wonka. (No, the outfitter didn't come up with this silly name, I did.) Yes, it says August of 2012. I call your attention to that fact because Wonka is still alive. At least I think he is.

According to the outfitter, no one shot the boar during fall 2012, and the same was true in fall 2013. And because Big Grass Outfitters hosts its spring bear hunts in a different part of the province, Wonka is very likely eating dandelions and slurping swamp water while I write this post.

I have all summer to daydream about Wonka. He was a shooter in 2012, and he'll be even bigger this fall.