Joshua Charron had never been to Maine until he booked a black bear hunting trip with Travis Libby. He'd received information from many outfitters over the years, but his conversation with the Registered Maine Master Guide made him realize he was the right guide to hunt with.
"You could tell Travis really enjoyed what he did for a living, and you know, he did his best to make everyone happy that comes to camp with him. I've told everybody since that I won't hunt with anybody but Travis."
Joshua has hunted in Nebraska, Missouri, Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Wyoming. Several things drew him to Maine. "The number one thing that turned me on to Maine was I have states closer to me that have bear hunting, but they're on a draw system. I can't set my vacation up if I don't know I'm gonna have a tag. In Maine, you can buy the tags right over the counter. That was a big big plus for me, which a lot of guys would be happy with. I called Fish and Game and they told me in Maine there's six bear per square mile. So, you have easy access to tags, great outfitters, particularly Travis, and a large bear population. That's a no-brainer to me."
Getting to Maine from Lincoln, Illinois with a rifle and all his hunting gear was easy, according to Joshua. "At first, I thought it was gonna be hard. You just check it at the counter. They inspect it. You have to have the ammunition in the case with a weapon and put four TSA locks on the case in front of them before they'll check it. Then, when you land, you have to go to the counter. They won't just send it out with the regular luggage."
Travis picked him up at the Bangor International Airport for the hour and a half drive and described it as "a pretty drive and everyone was super-friendly and welcoming." He was impressed with the entire experience. "I've hunted a lot of different states with different outfitters and those guys, especially Travis, worked their butts off to do whatever they can to get you on a bear."
They say the best advertising is word of mouth. The next time Joshua booked a bear hunt with Travis he brought along four of his friends.
Travis set them up in a cabin near the main lodge. "We had our own cabin to stay in, clean, warm, the sleeping arrangements were great with comfortable beds. Then of course there's the food. The food they gave us was absolutely out of this world. They did a lobster cook for us. They do at least one the week you're there."
Joshua wasn't sure how they knew, but his 40th birthday was during his week at camp and he returned from hunting to find a birthday cake. "I was happy."
As for the actual hunting experience, Joshua remembers it well. "The first day, you don't go to the woods for bear 'til afternoon. So, the morning was spent checking your guns and having a good breakfast. We had a meeting with Travis so the newer guys could understand bear anatomy, where to shoot so you don't just wound the bear. You want a clean kill. Each individual is taken out to a different bait site and a different stand. He only puts you on bait sites that are being actively hit by the bears. Travis refreshes the bait, wishes you luck and then picks you up after dark."
Alone in his tree stand, about 35 yards from the bait, Joshua recalled Travis' words. "He told me you will not hear the bears come to the bait. They'll just appear out of nowhere. Well, I kind of took that with a grain of salt, but it's almost scary--they make absolutely no noise. I don't know how something can walk on leaves and not make a sound, but they do it."
One of Joshua's friends took down a bear on day two of the six-day hunt. Joshua said his buddy found plenty to do while everyone continued hunting. "He hung back and fished, rented an ATV and just, you know, ran around, had fun. We bought fishing licenses because a lot of times, you'll fish during the day early morning or before you go hunting. It's worth it to buy the the fishing permit to fish while you're there as well."
On day five, to Joshua's surprise, he had cell service in the woods and was able to call Travis after his successful hunt. "A few guys came out to celebrate and drag it out of the woods. They hung it up, took care of it, took a bunch of pictures. It was wonderful."
Joshua's bear had a large white crest on its chest and weighed approximately 150 lbs. It just so happened that a world-class taxidermist was also on his annual hunting trip with Travis while Joshua was there. Rex Haun, from Bear Claw Outfitters & Taxidermy, took Joshua's bear back to Tennessee with him and crafted a three-quarter mount.
As for the bear meat, it was packed up and brought back home by Joshua's friends who had driven to Maine instead of flying.
Joshua offered advice to anyone considering black bear hunting in Maine. "Do your research when it comes to outfitters. Talk to other guys that have hunted with them, not just one, talk to several and really get to know a little bit about your guide and how he goes about things. I can tell, Travis, his father and everyone that works with him absolutely goes the extra mile to get you a bear. Whatever they have to do. I mean, up late, picking guys up, cleaning the bear...whatever they got to do."
Joshua enjoyed his black bear hunting experience so much, he's going to try to come back every year, and said if he was lucky enough to have his name drawn in the Maine Moose Lottery, he'd book with Travis. "I got video on my phone of a moose walking around me when I was in my tree stand one day. They're big, and they're beautiful, completely different from bears. They sound like a semi coming through the woods. Not quiet at all."
Libby's Lodge & Canty's in Mt. Chase, Maine has exclusive access to hunt on 180,000 acres of prime black bear territory in zones 5, 6, 10 and 11, providing many options for you to hunt. Limited spots are available to book your 2023-2024 Maine black bear hunt. Secure your spot by booking online at: