I first met Les Johnson a few years ago at a Cabela’s grand opening in Regina, Saskatchewan. As it turned out we had a lot in common, and soon became good friends. After a little trash talk I invited Les to Manitoba for a little challenge. For those of you who do not know who Les Johnson is, he is one of North America’s top predator hunters. He also has a hit television show called Predator Quest on the Wild TV network.
Day 1 — On the first day of our challenge I arrive to get Les at his hotel at six in the morning. He is a little quiet but he requests a visit to a Tim Horton’s for a cafe mocha. We get that out of the way and head to Selkirk, the catfish capital of the world. His first challenge was to successfully catch a master angler channel catfish over 34 inches. Les did not disappoint, landing three huge catfish over 34 inches, one of which was over 37 inches. He now completed the first part of his challenge.
Day 2 — This time I round up Les at 5:30 am from his hotel. Guess what, the first thing out of his mouth was take me to a Tim Horton’s for a cafe mocha! Today we are on our way to Whiteshell Provincial Park to fish for walleye at Crowduck Lake Camp. This time his challenge is to land 20 walleye within four hours. This particular day was windy, rainy and fairly cold so I figured the chances that he could meet the challenge would be pretty slim. Guess what, not only did he land 20 walleye right away, he landed another 20 walleye for good measure. So the first part of day 2 came to an end and we loaded up our gear and met with Mike Adey from Whiteshell Outfitters and headed to the bear camp at Jessica Lake in Whiteshell Provincial Park. Now for Challenge # 3, it’s my turn. My challenge was to successfully shoot a spring black bear. So Mike takes us out to the bear bait while Les Johnson records the moment on film. Unfortunately, because of high winds and rain no bears show up.
Day 3 — Les wakes up and guess what, he wants his usual cafe mocha. Too bad, so sad, no Tim Horton’s at bear camp. So he had to settle for a good old fashioned cup of coffee. Around three pm our guide Mike Adey takes us to a different bear bait where he has seen a particular bear on his trail camera that was coming out before sunset. Patiently we wait in the tree stand as hours go by and no bear. Finally in the last hour of our hunt the bushes started to rustle. Low and behold a nice three year old comes out the bush. But something was wrong, maybe he smelt us as he bolted back into the bush. Five minutes later the bear appears. Same scenario, he again runs back into the bush without a shot. Five minutes later, guess who? The bear returns but did not give me a shot and ran back into the bush. This was getting very frustrating for Les and myself. We knew the bear was still around and there were grunting sounds in the background. It’s a bear’s way of telling us to get lost so he can come in and dine on the bait. With 15 minutes left in the hunt he comes out of the bush for a fourth time and Les looks at me and nods and I take the shot. Challenge 3 done. Hi-fives and fist pumping all round, I was a very happy hunter since I had completed my part of the predator quest challenge. Les and Mike skin the bear and harvest the meat and we all head back to camp for a well deserved steak dinner and remove lots of wood ticks.
Next morning at 3:00 am I had to take Les to Winnipeg to catch his flight to go home and guess what, the hunt was on for yet another cafe mocha. I think the real predator quest challenge should have been for Les to go four days without his cafe mocha (ha…ha). In the end, Les can not wait to come back to Manitoba for more hunting and fishing. He left as one happy camper.