Jul 22 2022

Patience Pays off on Kodiak

Originally published March/ April 2016 in Bear Hunting Magazine

Nestled at the base of the Brooks Range Mountains, our camp was set on a tundra bench beside a crystal clear stream. The bugs were all but gone and the willows were turning yellow. A gentle arctic breeze felt good against our faces as we sipped hot coffee. To the west, the otherwise drab, brown tundra was aglow with waning rays of sunshine. We watched as a small group of caribou filed by our tents. Life was good.
Kondelis stepped up to the challenge. He said, “Myself and a good friend are dyed-in-the-wool bear hunters that just loved the sport and loved the species. We noticed a lack of concern for bears and bear hunting. We felt not a lot of states were worried about their bear populations, not a lot of the organizations out there focusing on the right to bear hunt and ensuring there’s a future for bear hunting on the landscape. We’re in existence because we’re seeing a lot of headwinds coming against bears, bear hunting, and specifically predator hunting.”
If you are from or are familiar with California, you know that there is no shortage of black bears or wildfires. California has one of the highest black bear populations in the lower 48. California's black bear population has increased over the past 25 years.
He was the most significant black bear I had seen in 10 years, and he was only 100 yards across the legume-rich meadow from where I lay. I was surprisingly calm, however, as I could only see the top of his back in the high foliage. His female companion was even less visible. I was downwind of the bears, and a stalk to get closer was unthinkable in the dry, late-May weather. The stalky clover, dead from last season, was crunchy. It was like walking on a large packing bubble sheet. My mind was busy trying to figure out what to do. I think that helped with the nerves. I didn't know it at the time, but my adrenalin would be flowing hard within minutes of this particular moment.

Apr 06 2022

Challenge Accepted

It was the fall of 2017 when my dad and I were driving back from an unsuccessful hunt in the national forest in Arkansas. We had hunted all day and were frustrated at how little our expedition had produced. My dad explained to me that we hunt here because while we may not have very much success, the day that we do, it will mean so much more. He told me that if we wanted to go kill a deer or bear, we could go to the bait pile and could have a much better chance at killing one, but we hunt on national forest because there will be so much more behind the animal that we harvested. I understood. Not long after that in the same long drive home after talking more on the subject I made a commitment that I was going to try to kill my first bear in national forest. This was a massive commitment.

”A Very Propitious Event”: (pruh-pish-uhs, indicative of favor, favorably disposed towards you)
Every once in a while something significant happens that causes you to ponder the individual choices that decided the outcomes in your life. That causes you to wonder; what if things went differently, what if I went left instead of right, what if I stayed home, what if I did ask that girl out on a date, what if, what if, and what IF?

Feb 14 2022

Glassing Arizona

A veteran hunter takes a new bear hunter into the backcountry & breaks the curse.
The spring might be the most popular time to hunt western black bears; however, the fall is a great time to chase them as well. Some states only have a fall season which means that it is the only time to hunt bears. Before you buy a tag, do some research, do some e-scouting to find hard-to-reach trail-less basins, and give yourself an ample amount of hunting time to find and harvest a mature bear.
The author's first trip to Montana proved to be a big challenge with a color-phased reward.

Jan 11 2022

Helicopters & Bears

A bear hunter on a spot and stalk hunt breaks her leg and is flown out by helicopter out of the backcountry.