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Local bear hunter tags possible record holder

By Kirsten Zoellner

Fri, Aug 31st, 2012
Posted in All The Great Outdoors

Jennifer Nolte of Chatfield shot and killed a 403 pound Black Bear. Photo submitted

When you think bear hunting, you may get the image of a burly, north woodsman holding a large rifle while stalking a massive beast. You may be surprised then to meet Jennifer Nolte, of Chatfield. The small-framed mother of three young children is hardly the stereotypical hunting image, but her skills with a bow are nothing less than impressive.

Nolte, along with husband Chad and friend Tim Melver, of Preston, recently returned from a hunting excursion in Ignace, Ontario with quite a tale to tell. While the trio is still awaiting official news, following a 60-day wait period, Jennifer may have tagged the largest black bear ever shot by a woman. There’s no doubt that the bear will at least make the top ten record book.

With the season opening this past August 15, the trio made arrangements to hunt through an outfitter. The way the system works is much different than the lottery-type hunting here, due to the high number of bears in Ontario. “The outfitter purchases a permit for a 150 square mile piece of land in a bear management area,” says Melver. “It’s wild hunting, on provincial land, exclusively open to only non-residents, and we purchase our tags through the outfitter. It’s actually really affordable.”

While it was Melver’s fourth bear hunting trip, it was the Noltes’ first bear expedition. In two days, Melver says the trio saw six bears and they tagged their bears in three days. To some it may sound terrifying, being only 12-15 yards away from the bears in nothing but a portable tree stand, but Black Bears are not aggressive like their cousin, the Grizzly. Still, it’s thrilling for the hunter. “It’s an adrenaline rush!” enthuses Melver.

The typical Black Bear male weighs 200 to 250 pounds on average, while the female of the species averages 200 pounds. On all fours, they stand at three to four feet high, but standing on their hind legs, they can reach seven feet in height. Melver and Chad Nolte’s bears weighed in around the 250 pound mark, while Jennifer’s prize was a whopping 403 pounds.

Chad Nolte is a team member of Driven TV, on the Outdoor Channel, which chronicles hunting of all sorts. Both Chad and Jennifer’s hunts will be aired on the show next summer, although the air date has yet to be announced.

Not surprisingly, the trio already has plans for the 2013 bear hunt. “It’s such fun,” notes Melver. “It’s a hunter’s paradise.”


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6:46:31, Sep 2nd 2012

michael Haugerud says:
So whats the point...a big bear is now dead ?


5:53:46, Sep 9th 2012

fillmorefarmboy says:
Maybe the point is that it was a local pair of hunters. It's called "Human Interest story."