Oct 29 2020

Going All Trad

The text message was short, simple and to the point “I’m going full traditional this hunting season”. This text went out to my closest friends (some trad guys and some compound), and I wasn’t sure what response I’d get back from them. The trad guys, of course, were supportive and encouraging, while the compound guys were…baffled I guess? They weren’t negative about the switch, but definitely curious why anyone would go from shooting a compound to a trad bow for no actual reason that made much sense. I could understand their point and figured I’d have said the same if the roles had been reversed.
"How will we ever stalk that far without being seen?", my friend Will Eason said as we watched a big Alaskan brown bear through binoculars. The bear was at least a mile away, on the other side of the bay, and as an added challenge the animal was eating grass in the middle of a large open area with no cover nearby.
One of the most enjoyable parts of hunting is sharing it with my kids, being able to take them out and show them things most kids don't get to see. Too often kids are raised by TVs and video games and have no clue about the adventure that lies beyond the tree line. As for my family, we’ve spent countless hours exploring, hunting together and getting away from the noise and distractions of the city.

If I don't get to take my kids along, they mob me as I walk in the door, waiting to hear about how the hunt went. They sit on the floor, eyes wide open, clinging to every word that rolls from my tongue as if they were there experiencing every moment with me. They are never discouraged with an unsuccessful hunt, but rather are filled with awe and wonder as I unravel the details of the adventure that was had. I live for those moments and often think I enjoy coming home and sharing stories with them more than the adventure itself.
“We’re too close to try to skirt him. He’s gonna see us one way or another. He’ll either charge us, or take off running.” As soon I quit speaking the bear spotted us. Reno and I stepped out into the open, stood side-by-side, waved our arms in the air, and started hollering.

The massive boar lumbered fearlessly toward us...
I wasn’t really sure what to expect on my first bear spot & stalk bear hunt in British Columbia a few years ago. The first action of the first day with the outfitter was a walk up a hill. Let’s just say we don’t have much for hills like this in the Midwest. My young, long-legged guide and I headed up a steep skidder trail for the better part of a mile to an area where we could look over some clear-cuts.
I’ve had some great Western hunting coaches that have tutored me in bear hunting. They’re locals, living in the areas that I’m traveling 1,500 miles to hunt. Their advice was to not get so far back into the wilderness and lock myself into one area...
As we rounded the hairpin turn on the closed logging road, a patch of chocolate hide caught our attention. He was barely a 100 yards away, and after hiking countless unnamed roads the past few days, I had gotten pretty good at spotting flashes of dark hide mixed in with the emerald-green foliage. Although this particular bear was not the biggest we had encountered, the after-noon sun had his dark chocolate-colored hide perfectly lit, causing it to glow with a reddish hue. Needless to say, I didn’t need a green light from the outfitter on this one and quickly developed a plan of attack.
Billy guided Sam Triplett to a beautiful, 9’8” brown bear. After waiting the legally required 4 years to return to hunt brown bear on the Alaska Peninsula, Sam is back for a spring hunt once again with his sights set on a 10-foot boar.

Mar 20 2020

Western Hunting Prep

Since I was a boy, I’ve had a curiosity about hunting bears. From their elusiveness and sheer power, to the iconic presence they have in all things wild, my eyes and ears were wide open to them. At the time, it sounded like one of those things that I would dream about, but never actually do. That curiosity never waned, and by the time my mid twenties came about, I just couldn’t handle it anymore. Within a few months, my first bear hunt was upon me. I had no clue what I was doing, but knew that I wanted to learn. That was about 7 years ago. Since then, I’ve hunted bears in the West every spring and fall. Each season that went by, I’d collect another piece of the puzzle that was, and is, bear hunting. The learning curve can be a great one for a first timer in the West pursuing black bears. Preparation is key and can go a long ways once in the field. Here are some ways to help you prepare for your first western black bear hunt.

Aug 23 2019

Western Fall Bruins

Opportunities for the Western DIY Bear Hunter!

For many western hunters, elk, mule deer and antelope seem to be at the top of their to-do list as the leaves turn gold every fall, and frankly I can’t blame them. It’s hard to compete with the bugle of a rutting bull elk, the impressive heavy rack of a mule deer buck or the lightning quickness of an antelope buck. However, in my opinion, black bears should also make that esteemed western list. With most hunters focusing on the horns come fall, it’s a great time to zero in on western bruins.

Although virtually every state west of the Great Plains has bear hunting opportunities, some are obviously better than others. Here is the list of some of the top destinations that offer easy to get tags, solid bear numbers, multiple ways to hunt them and the opportunity to put one in the record books.