Bill Boberski of Oreville, Pennsylvania, poses with the 493-pound black bear he shot on Monday, Sept. 5, hunting with Homestead Lodge in Oxbow. Credit: Courtesy of Homestead Lodge

Bill Boberski knows from his considerable experience hunting black bears over bait that you can’t predict what might happen once you’re in the treestand.

Through the years, he also has learned to be incredibly patient, so much so that he has become pretty choosy when it comes to deciding which bears to harvest.

Boberski’s patience and hunting awareness paid tremendous dividends recently while hunting in Aroostook County with Homestead Lodge in Oxbow.

The Orefield, Pennsylvania, man shot a 493-pound boar (live weight, before field dressing) while hunting at a site in the Presque Isle area.

“I’m very fortunate. I waited a long time for it, but it was worth it,” said Boberski, a former motorcycle shop owner whose friends call him “Wild Bill.”

The bear is the largest of six taken by Boberski, just edging out one he shot with a bow in New Brunswick 12 years ago.

It had been a long wait before he decided to pull the trigger. In fact, he has hunted and fished in Maine several times in recent years, hooking up with Registered Maine Guide Scott Soucy.

Soucy and his wife, Trisha, bought Homestead Lodge last year and relocated from central Maine to Oxbow.

“He doesn’t bait his bear, he feeds his bear,” Boberski said of Scott Soucy. “He puts a lot of time and effort into taking care of his clients and makes sure they get a good hunt.”

Boberski retired three years ago, so he has ample time to hunt and fish. And as part of his trip to the lodge, he stays in a camper on the grounds and helps out the Soucy family with maintenance and other odd jobs.

For that reason, Boberski wasn’t the least bit flustered when, during the first week of this season, he didn’t see a single bear.

“I was looking for something nice,” he said. “I wasn’t going to shoot a bear just to shoot a bear.”

The Soucys changed things up this week and took Boberski to another site located an hour and 15 minutes — and a considerable walk — from the lodge. Scott Soucy’s son Dakota, who earned his Registered Maine Guide license on Aug. 24, led that effort.

Dakota took four hunters out to sit bait sites in the new area.

“He was the furthest one out, down past the beaver bog, and we had to drive through about 2 feet of water to get over to the spot,” Dakota Soucy said.

Despite the longer haul, there were reports of nice bears in the vicinity, which is less than half a mile from a local dump.

“If they’re seeing that big of bears over there, you’ve got to throw some people over there,” Dakota said.

Boberski got some action on his first sit in the stand. A bear came into the site and promptly laid down directly behind the bait barrel — and didn’t give him a shot.

Within four or five minutes, the bear got back on its feet and came around to the front of the barrel, which was positioned vertically.

Bill Boberski of Orefield, Pennsylvania, shot this 493-pound black bear hunting with Homestead Lodge in Oxbow. Credit: Courtesy of Homestead Lodge

“I finally realized that the bear was bigger than the barrel,” Boberski said, admitting that he couldn’t help but be consumed by the excitement of the moment.

“I shook like a leaf,” he said.

At approximately 7:30 p.m., Boberski made a good shot. Then, he waited.

Neither Boberski nor Soucy had cell service, so it wasn’t until Dakota walked into the site that he got the news from Wild Bill.

With darkness having descended on the thick forest, and the bear not readily visible, Soucy called in a houndsman to help track the animal. It took about an hour for the dogs to find the bear.

“It was just crazy walking up to that bear and seeing the size of it,” Soucy said.

Then, the work began. Boberski said it took six people to drag the bear out using a plastic ice fishing sled.

“You could barely see the sled,” Soucy said of the bear’s size. “We were all laughing. It was just a crazy experience.”

Boberski said it was a long drag to extract the bear and that the party didn’t return to Homestead Lodge until after 2 a.m. Tuesday.

As memorable as the hunt is for Boberski, it is a night Dakota Soucy can look back on fondly. It was only the second bear harvested thus far in his budding guiding career.

“That’s definitely a hunt I’m never going to forget,” Dakota Soucy said. “I think it’s going to take the record for a while for me. You don’t come across them that big very often.”

As a show of appreciation to the Soucys for their hospitality and efforts, Boberski is providing them with a special decoration for Homestead Lodge.

“I said I’m going to shoot a big bear for the lodge and that’s what we’re doing. I’m donating it to the lodge. It’s gonna stay here,” he said of the planned full-body mount.

Pete graduated from Bangor High School in 1980 and earned a B.S. in Journalism (Advertising) from the University of Maine in 1986. He grew up fishing at his family's camp on Sebago Lake but didn't take...