It's that time of year when we start getting out our hunting gear, placing trail cams, practice shooting, and overall just start getting the fever of hunting season. We all have our favorite hunting season, whether it is deer, elk, bear or duck we are all hyped and getting our gear ready. Some preparation is less than others when it comes to the species and the area you will be hunting. When you take on a hunt that puts you at 10,000 feet above sea level the preparation can be extensive. I have been hunting Utah for seven years for elk and my base camp sits at the 10,000 foot mark. Over the past years I have seen and experienced many situations that can be avoided with proper preparation.
It was mid September in the high alpine mountains of Alaska’s remote interior and I laid frozen in a blueberry patch, watching over a giant grizzly grazing across the ravine. My heart felt as though it would pound out of my chest. The excitement was not from fear, nor how close the bear was, but because I recognized the bear’s unique blonde coloration and impressive size from previous years. In the past I had only found tracks or caught glimpses of the great bruin as it slipped into the forest. Until today, I never had an opportunity to close the distance. Now the bear was upwind, distracted while intently gorging on blueberries, and in an ideal location to stalk. My only dilemma was that I had already drawn a coveted brown bear tag for Kodiak Island later that fall and was only allowed one grizzly/brown bear per year. The memory of reluctantly walking away from the big bear will forever be seared in my mind.
Here I am, on my way to Northern Vancouver Island, to search for black bears. I love to hunt bears because of the challenges that hunting them brings, and the season is an indicator that a new hunting year has begun. This year I decided that I was going to try hunting an unfamiliar area. It can be very easy to get complacent in hunting the same locations over and over again, especially if you have had success. You learn all the trails, every rise, hill, and every nuance of the area. What if something changes in your area? Perhaps your area gets logged, or if it is private land, maybe it gets sold and you no longer have permission to hunt. There are any number of factors why you may need to look for a new location, but for me it is just time for a new adventure.
Grizzly bears are one of the most famous predators on the planet, and it’s many hunters’ dream to take their shot at one. While they could previously be found throughout much of North America, their numbers have rapidly dwindled in the last 50 years, due to habitat loss and other conflicts with humans, making it much more difficult to find them. They are listed as a threatened species in most of America, meaning they can now only be hunted in two areas: Alaska and Canada.
Springtime; the weather is getting warmer, the birds are out, and for most outdoorsmen, you are back inside daydreaming of next fall. Some may see springtime as the time of year to hang up your hunting boots and practice your range shooting. However, that is not totally necessary. While springtime hunting takes some thinking outside of the buck, we’ve compiled five springtime hunting opportunities for you to pursue this “offseason.”
Kim Titchener began working with black bears and grizzlies at Banff National Park while attending university. Her lifetime experience has been critical in providing vital information to improve bear safety. From personal accounts from friends and survivors of bear attacks to immediate response to fatal bear incidents in the town where she lived, Kim is passionate about helping everyone enjoy the outdoors and do so safely.
This past summer saw an increase in fatal bear attacks. Why is this happening?
What happens when the weather is so hot, even the animals can't take the heat?
Another bear attack, another call to the importance of bear awareness and safety.