After over 20 years I can still remember the first time I headed out west to bowhunt. The 60-plus pound pack seemed to get heavier with each step I took deeper into the wilderness area, and after nearly 4 miles of steady climbing I finally reached the particular bowl I felt held promise. After setting up camp I stood in awe as I took in the vastness of the Creator’s awesome handiwork and dreamed of what I hoped would transpire in the coming days.
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.

May 28 2019

In Over Your Head

Grizzly Country by Billy Molls

The Alaska Peninsula had a record salmon run that summer. In turn, the commercial fishermen went home with fat wallets, and the bears lounged in the alder thickets with fat bellies. In 20 years of guiding, I’d only seen it this bad on one other occasion. Simply put, the bears had plenty of fat for hibernation and they knew it. The mature boars were feeding only at night and holed-up in the thick stuff during the day. Hunting was so tough many hunters quit early and went home, but not David. “I’m gonna hunt until I get a bear, or the season ends,” he vowed.
Born and raised in Montana, Jason has hunted bears ever since he can remember, and it’s a big part of his hunting heritage. “Spring bear hunting is something that has gotten into my blood over the years,” explained Jason. “It really started at a very early age when I would hunt bears with my family, and has grown since.” Although Jason loves hunting elk and mule deer in the fall as seen by his films, when spring rolls around in Montana’s high country it’s time to hunt bears, and Jason loves every minute if it.