Many of you will be familiar with what our household calls “you suck” emails; those terse messages from wildlife agencies that contain the dreaded word unsuccessful. I had resigned myself to being unable to draw a southeast Alaska bear permit while my husband and friends seemed to pull every year. I was considering changing my name but instead changed application areas and this resulted in the word successful ending up in my inbox.
I’ve made candles before. It was in school, and it was one of those fun projects that teachers come up with that doubles as a Christmas presents for the family. Simple, easy, and fun. Imagine me when I realized that I could make bear grease candles! I’m now on a quest to find everything that I can make with bear grease.
My daughter, Teagan, and I enjoy spring bear hunting over bait in interior Alaska for special reasons I’ll explain later. Baiting season opens April 15th, a time of year commonly referred to as “Break-Up,” where temperatures and slushy conditions vary significantly from year-to-year. We land on remote frozen lakes, rivers, and tundra with ski-equipped airplanes, then snowshoe hundreds of pounds of cheap dog food, powdered sugar, and a bucket of foul-smelling “stuff” to our registered bait sites. Then, as soon as the ice melts and we can get back to the baits, we check them by airplanes on tundra tires or floats sometime around mid-May.
April 21st 2022 was an amazing day for bear hunters nationwide, but especially for our Californian brothers and sisters. The California Fish and Game Commission voted 4-0 to dismiss the Humane Society of the United States petition for an all-out ban on bear hunting. But there is more to it than that simple punchline.

Micah Booze has been a wildfire fighter since 2005 in Alaska, and his experience with surface sh*t (putting his hands in it) led him to start the A_S_S_ Movement, which stands for Against Surface Sh*tting Movement. Seeing and having to deal with turds and tissue on the surface of the land while fighting or follow-up up fires pushed him to launch a campaign.

The great state of Arkansas has a Black Bear program that is the envy of most states. We have a thriving population of bruins and a rich history of hunting them here in what was once known as the Bear State. I am proud to be a part of that bear hunting heritage that we have here in Arkansas, from the Mississippi Delta region of Arkansas to the Ozark Mountains that I call home, we have and hunt bears.

Hunting is the perfect venue to connect. There are many traveling hours shared in the truck heading to the hunting grounds. Next week my son and I are at elk camp for five to seven days. It's a five-hour drive. There will be lots of time to cover whatever is on his mind. We will have time for meaningful conversations and have some time to reminisce and dream and plan about the future. It is its own reward to spend time with my boys. We will camp in my big outfitter tent. We'll share coffee in the morning, a pot of soup at lunch, and some exquisite wood/coal-stove-cooked dinner. All the while, we have the choice of quietly enjoying each other's company, or we can chat about whatever needs talking about.

The rage in bowhunting is to send an arrow traveling at a high rate of speed. The faster the better, right? We all want a missile traveling on a flat trajectory getting to the target in a hurry. Well, that may be great for deer and small game bowhunters, but for bears, it’s another story. Things like kinetic energy and momentum also come into play. Let’s dive into this a little more.

Western hunting has changed significantly over the years, and one area that has seen this impact is the method, equipment, and ethics of long-range shooting. Whether you agree or disagree with this type of hunting, you can’t deny its precision and effectiveness today’s equipment delivers. From determining the right caliber, calculating bullet drop, proper windage and ballistic coefficient, to adopting a stable platform, target acquisition, breathing, trigger control and follow-through, there really is a process to be mastered. Frankly, if you’re planning a bear hunt in the open vistas out west, having the ability to squeeze the trigger at long distances will certainly impact the success of your hunt.

“I would hunt, but it’s just too expensive.” Last fall a guy at my gym rattled off that phrase. I couldn’t count the number of times I’ve heard someone say this, and I have to admit I’ve always taken it as a lame attempt at defending one’s manliness after they’ve been outed as a non-hunter. Hearing it this time I began to wonder if I’ve been too judgmental all these years. My introduction to hunting happened back in the mid-90s. What could that first hunting season cost with today’s ammunition shortages and complicated licensing systems? I left the gym, but the thought stuck with me. It rolled around in my head for four months before I finally decided I had to put it to rest. Early in the year I locked up all my hunting gear and started planning my 2021 Idaho Spring Bear season as if I was a new hunter. The goal was to start with zero gear and take an animal on the tightest budget possible—the hunt for the bargain bear began.