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.
There’s something so satisfying to me about the multiple uses bear grease provides. It’s a bear hunter’s liquid gold. It’s great in pastries, in soap, and is very moisturizing. Bear fat will make even the toughest of hands, smooth as a baby’s bottom. It also doesn’t hold any strong smells associated with other animal fats when rendered.
I’ve been pondering a question. What is it about bear hunting that makes it different for me personally as a hunter, compared to that of deer or elk hunting? As hunters, I think, collectively we can all agree that there is an indescribable excitement, respect and remorse cocktail that wells up within our souls when we take an animal’s life. This cocktail overflows for me when it comes to bear. I have a great and wonderous admiration for bear and their life force.
When it comes to hunting Virginia was never as high on the destination list among non-resident bear hunters as other states. In 2019-2020 visiting hunters contributed about eight percent of the annual harvest but there are reasons to believe that percentage may increase in coming years. To help control rising bear numbers, hunting seasons have been extended by a few days, others by a week or so.

Whether you are an experienced bear hunter or a novice, there is always something to learn and skills to develop when hunting new states, especially the western states.