Mike Deschamps Says He’ll Never Go on a Polar Bear Bowhunt Again
Editor’s Note: Mike Deschamps from Brooktondale, New York, has been on the PSE Pro Staff since Pete Shepley first started the company.
For this polar bear hunt, I used a PSE Mach 10 bow and a Thunderhead 125 grain broadhead. But, before I went on that hunt, I took this bow completely apart, removed all the lubrication and replaced the lubrication with dry graphite. I knew that in extremely cold weather, wet lubricants might create problems with the bow. So, I opted for a dry lubricant. I decided to go on this polar bear hunt when I was in Mexico hunting. One of the hunters on that trip had drawn a polar bear tag. Once our hunt in Mexico ended, this hunter called me and explained that he and his wife were splitting up, and that he couldn’t go on this polar bear hunt. He asked if I’d like to buy the tag and go on the hunt. I purchased the tag from him, flew to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories in Canada and then flew to Camp Felix, which was where I saw the last building I’d see for many days. We left the camp and went out on the ice in freighter dog sleds, because you couldn’t hunt polar bears on snowmobiles. Once we arrived out on the ice, we hunted from dog sleds. I didn’t find my animal until the eighth day of a 12 day hunt. The hunter who had made this same hunt before me actually was out on the ice for 16 days. For $2500, the outfitter would fly supplies out to a hunter who opted to stay for more days than the 12 day hunt. However, on the eighth day of my hunt, we found the tracks of a polar bear and began to follow the tracks.
This hunt was very grueling, with 20 hours of daylight each day, and we spent most of our days in a sled, being constantly pounded by rough terrain, while pulled by a dog team. We were constantly going over uneven ice. My Inuit guide stood behind me on the sled and directed the dog team. When we could see the bear and got close to him, my guide turned the dogs loose from the sled. They charged the bear and bayed him. I was able to walk within 32 yards of the bear and draw, but I had to hold my shot, until the dogs were clear of the bear. Once I was finally able to release the arrow, I hit the bear behind his front shoulder and double lunged him. When the arrow hit the bear, the polar bear turned and ran with the dogs in hot pursuit, but only went 25 yards before he went down. My guides were two young Inuit boys, and for backups, they both had .22 rifles. Shooting a .22 rifle would be about like a bee sting to a polar bear. Because the air temperature was negative 62 degrees below on the day I took the bear, we had to skin the bear quickly, before he froze, and the hide froze to him. We also had to keep the dogs away from the bear while we were skinning him. If the dogs ate the liver of the bear, the dogs would die very quickly.
Once we took the cape and the skull, we wrapped the hide up. Within an hour, the cape was frozen solid. Then, we packed the skin and the skull in a tarp and returned to the village. Four days later, I was picked up by a charter airplane and flown back to Yellowknife. I left the hide and the skull with a taxidermist and petitioned the United States Government, to bring my trophy back into my country.
Tomorrow: PSE’s Mike Deschamps on the Grizzly Bear That Charged Him
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