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Wednesday, June 19th, 2024

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

Crookston hunter takes new Minnesota bear record with muzzleloader

Ben Genereux, from Crookston, Minn., shot a 463-pound live weight bear in Polk County on Sept. 3, 2022. The bear has been recorded and confirmed as the Minnesota state bear record for muzzleloader. (Photo courtesy of Ben Genereux)

Crookston, Minn. — Ben Genereux never misses a goose hunt – even if the day before the goose hunt, he’d had a big-game day he’ll never forget. 

On Sept. 3, 2022, Genereux killed the new Minnesota state record bear via muzzleloader after shooting a 463-pound live-weight bear in Polk County. The skull scored 21 916 inches.

“I never thought I’d break my personal record two years apart,” Genereux said. “I’m very grateful.”

Genereux was born and raised in Crookston and has been hunting bears for the past 10 years. He hunts and fishes pretty much everything and anything, but he anticipates September for bear and goose hunting. 

On Sept. 1, 2022, Genereux and one of his brothers went out bear hunting, but neither of them saw anything worth taking. On Sept. 2, they decided not to hunt during an unfavorable wind.

Ben Genereux, from Crookston, Minn., recorded a bear skull of 21 9/16 inches, which made it the Minnesota state bear record for muzzleloader. He shot the bear on Sept. 3, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Eric Meyer/Minnesota Deer and Turkey Classic)

On Sept. 3, Genereux and his brother debated an hour by phone about whether the wind would be too much of a factor again. Genereux decided to hunt a spot where they’d previously seen large bears. 

Genereux reached his stand between 3 and 4 p.m. on Sept. 3, and around 7 p.m., he heard sound coming from the wood line, but couldn’t see anything. Eventually, he heard a twig snap about 30 to 40 yards to the left of him. 

“I was about to stand up and see what it was, but then I saw some black fur,” Genereux said. “I’m glad I waited to stand.”

The bear came down the trail to the bait site. Once the bear was in an opening, Genereux brought his hammer back on his .50-caliber muzzleloader.

Before the bear could react, he had shot the bear and smoked filled the air. The shot happened at 8:10 p.m., shortly before the end of shooting hours. 

Genereux sat in the stand for a “painful” 30 minutes before going to check. He wanted to start looking before it became too dark. 

“I first looked for blood and fur, but there wasn’t anything there,” Genereux said. “Then, I looked down the three trails and used process of elimination.”

The first two trails had spider webs on them, so he went down the third trail and found his bear. There was a sigh of relief knowing he’d found the bear. 

His brother and friend came over and helped haul the bear out. Genereux said it took all three guys to put the bear on the back of an ATV. 

His brother and the friend had to sit on the front of the ATV to even out the bear to drive out of the field.

They immediately began processing the bear and cleaned out the garage before the morning broke. His brother is a taxidermist, so he was looking at the skull and knew it was a massive bear. 

On Dec. 20, 2022, Genereux had the first official scoring of the skull. Because it’s in the top 10, a panel score was necessary as well. A Minnesota Official Measurers panel eventually confirmed he’d killed the biggest bear via muzzleloader in Minnesota. 

Genereux said he brought the skull to the Minnesota Deer and Turkey Classic this year, but not the taxidermy because it wasn’t finished in time. He placed first in bear muzzleloader category, and it was certified as a new state record.

Now, he’s excited to get the mount from his brother’s company, Outdoor Addictions Taxidermy, and officially close a memorable hunt. 

After gutting the bear, doing all the work in the garage, and getting a bite to eat, Genereux said he had about five minutes to lay on his kitchen floor before his friends picked him up for goose hunting on Sept. 4.

Again, he never misses a goose hunt.

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