Hunting With Handguns

My "Dream" Bear Hunt
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by Dan Waters (a.k.a. Big Muddy) a.k.a. Muddy     Last updated: 2011-09-26 14:20:08

29 years ago, a black bear hunt in Maine with Foggy Mountain Guide Service was just a dream. Good things come to those who wait! Yes 29 years ago when I purchased my first 41 magnum Ruger Blackhawk revolver I read about a bear guide in Maine who's favorite handgun was the same gun. I read of Wayne Bosowitcz and his Foggy Mountain operation in several gun magazines, and really only dreamed of someday hunting with him. Anytime bear hunting came up in conversations, I always said I wanted to go to Maine. I wanted to hunt in a place where handguns were welcome and with a guide that knew handguns.

In October of 2010, my good friend Bart and I were talking about he and I, with our wives, going on a hunt together. Bart said that he had promised his wife Tammy a black bear hunt, so I immediately said "Maine"! I checked and found that indeed Foggy Mountain was still in business so the wheels were set in motion. I sent and E-mail, and was thrilled when I got a phone call from a man saying "Its Wayne from Maine". After the conversation I knew I wanted to book a hunt with him, but did do some homework and checking first. I found a few negative comments, and a lot of very satisfied happy hunters as well. We decided that this was the place for us to go. I have to admit, that my mind was made up as soon as I found Wayne was still guiding for black bears. Deposits were sent in and the planning started for the first bear hunt for all of us. My wife Cindy was going to go as our "videographer". She wanted to try and get me shooting a bear on film. Bart, like me, would be handgun hunting and Tammy would use her rifle. At that time, 10 months seemed like a very long time to wait.

Serious practice started immediately. I would work on the load we would use for our FA 454's. I decided that I would also keep track of every practice round fired with my handgun. I only counted rounds fired from field positions at unknown distances. My goal was to fire 1000 true practice shots. We practiced each week in as many different field conditions as possible. I changed loads a few times, and sighting arrangements more times than I could count. I tried scopes, various red dot sights, fiber optic sights,etc. I was looking for something that would work in the dark low light conditions I knew would exist. One conclusion I reached...I sure wish I had my 22 year old eyes back. (this "quest" started when I was 22). I ended up with 1500 rounds fired from my 454 and least 3 times that with my 44 special.

Finally, the day came that we headed out on our 27 hour cross country journey to Maine. To say we were all excited would not begin to cover our feelings. When we arrived, I finally got to meet Wayne. We hit it off immediately, and I felt like this icon of bear hunting was a friend I had known for years. We got settled in to our cabin which was full sized house on Sebec Lake. Then we went to firing range to check our guns. Everything was good there, so now we just had to return Monday morning at 7:00 a.m. Sleep did NOT come easy that night.

First thing Monday morning, we were introduced to our guide. Mike is a mountain of a man with a huge smile and enthusiasm that is contagious. He is recently retired from 33+ years as a game warden in Maine. We followed him for about 35 miles to the area we would be hunting. He took each of us one at a time to our baits, made sure we were comfortable with our ground blinds, showed us where bears would likely approach and answered all of our our dumb questions with patience. When Cindy and I got to our blind, the bait had been hit. I started to wonder what I was going to do all week. This was going to be too easy!

One of the complaints I had read about Foggy Mountain was the way they run the hunts. I knew ahead that we would be driving ourselves to our hunting area each day. Wayne explained that if we needed to talk to him or our guide we could come in at night, or be at his house at 7:00 a.m. as they all met there each morning. We were to also check in each night, either in person or by telephone. I can see where some would not like this arrangement especially if it was a surprise. The web site says that high ground clearance vehicles would be handy, I would say they are a necessity. We had about 13 miles of logging road to travel with a couple of rough places. Personally I really like the freedom to come and go at my pace. We had no appointed times to hunt and did not have to wait around for a guide to show up to take us back to our cabin. Be aware of this if you plan to hunt Foggy Mountain and if you prefer more one on one guide service I suggest finding another outfitter.

Now to the hunt...The weather was not good as we had 2 days of HARD rain, one day of gale force winds, and two really gorgeous days. We all hunted hard for the five days, rain or shine, and Tammy saw one bear on Thursday night. Bart and I did not see a bear. Several other hunters also had the same. Total bears taken for the week was four. We heard some of the "you should have been here last week" comments as they had a good week prior to our hunt. What I can say though is I had a GREAT time. I can't ever remember hunting five straight days with no animals sighted and having as much fun as I did on this hunt. I was in the company of good friends in country that is too beautiful for words. Each minute spent in these woods are ones I will cherish. Mike did all he could and while Wayne agonized over the lack of success, I kept telling him that we came to hunt not to "get". I did not want a guaranteed kill. I wanted to hunt for a bear and I feel that I did what I wanted to do. Of course I would have liked more bears, and chance to put all the practice to some good use, but as I is hunting. I learned a lot about my own shooting and my guns. I learned a little bit about bear hunting. Mainly I learned that I want to try this again...The quest continues.


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Poster: Muddy    Date: 2011-12-05    Top

I thought too that Wayne said they would be in Canada..if so that would be the reason a handgun was not used. Dan
Poster: Muddy    Date: 2011-12-05   Top

Boartuff Wayne told us that Doug Koenig was hunting the week after we did. He told us it was going to be with a crossbow. Wayne was surprised at that as well. Doug hunted with Wayne before and from what I read he made an amazing shot on a moving bear. Wayne had nothing but good things to say about Mr.Koenig, both his ability as well as his humility. Dan
Poster: Boartuff    Date: 2011-12-05    Top

I, like you, have wanted to bear hunt in Maine for more than 20 yrs. Also, Foggy Mountain has always gotten my attention, too, and 11 yrs it was looking like it was going to be a reality. A few enexpected cirumstances changed our plans and we never did make another attempt after that. Hopefully one day I will make the journey up there for a hunt, whether it is with Wayne or not. Sat. night I was watching the Sportsman Channel and Doug Koenig was bear hunting with Foggy Mountian, and it appeared as though he experienced similar weather conditions as did you. According to Doug, he got his bear on the fifth day. I wish they could have gotten in more detail within the 30 minute program, but it was nice to see regardless, and it was the first time I can recall seeing a show with Foggy Mountain. One thing that was a bit frustrating was that I wished Koenig would have been hunting with a handgun (which I would have expected) instead of a crossbow. I hope you get to go back and get your bear someday and be sure to post a new report!!
Poster: Muddy    Date: 2011-11-20   Top

Robert, that may be true I guess. I did not go with any request for a guarantee. My hunting partners all felt the same way I did. We might have liked to have been moved to different baits, but since none of the other hunters were doing any better I am not sure that would have helped. Some of the other groups/hunters were pretty disgusted that they were not seeing bears. Maybe I look at hunting differently. I figure I can make the most of things and enjoy the time spent, or I can harp on the negative and be miserable. I choose to enjoy!
Poster: ROBERT D. WYLIE    Date: 2011-11-19    Top

I'm sure FOGGY MOUNTAIN is good but most guide services go out and use tactics were you at least see a bear,And when there is a large chunk of money involved they usually have a hope of success,but if your happy that's all that matters,how about your other hunting partners?
Poster: Rick    Date: 2011-11-06   Top

Sounds like a great time regardless. This is why it is called hunting and not simply shooting.Good luck on future bear hunts
Poster: jamesfromjersey    Date: 2011-10-27    Top

I wish you success in the future....
Poster: wvhitman    Date: 2011-09-27   Top

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