Becoming a Hunter

Becoming a Hunter

This is me breaking down and absolutely losing it when I arrived back to my truck after the hardest two days of bear hunting and perhaps the two hardest days of physical activity ever in my life.

Last week, I spotted a big bear in an area behind an open gate that, as it turns out, I wasn't supposed to be driving in. I made a 50-mile loop around that area trying to find a spot of open, legal access to get in and it was all behind locked timber company gates (over 71,000 acres!)

The closest access point I could find meant a 4.3 mile hike in with almost 800 feet of elevation gain. I wasn't sure I could do it with a 40+ lb hunting pack and camping gear.

But I decided to go for it.

Monday, I ended up hiking over 8 miles into the spot and around the area looking for the bear. I spotted a sow and cub 1100 yards off a few drainages over which was pretty cool, but the big boar I was after eluded me. Monday night I was pretty much out of water and it was a couple mile hike to the nearest source that I knew of. I was soaking wet from a rainstorm and from sweating so profusely. I made a small fire, dried out my socks and pants as best I could and put on a fresh hoodie which I luckily had brought along. It ended up being a cold night and I barely got any sleep. When I got up to go to the bathroom, my hamstrings and feet succumbed to the worst cramps I've ever felt. It was so incredibly painful.

Tuesday morning I packed up camp, glassed for a while, and then started hiking out, hunting a few timber cuts along the way. With each mile, the pain in my feet grew more intense. Each step reverberated up through my calves, my hamstrings, my hips, my back, and into my shoulders. I wanted to stop, take off my pack and rest, but I knew if I did, I might not be able to get back up and make it to my truck.

I've never felt anything like it.

I thought about my wife and how much I missed her. I cried walking down the trail.

And when I made it to my truck and tried to film a clip talking about the experience, I just completely broke down. This was the hardest thing I've ever done.

But I did it.

When I decided to start hunting, I knew it was going to be hard. I knew it would challenge me in all kinds of new ways... and it absolutely has... and I love it. I've already bought my fall bear tags, I drew a Wyoming cow elk tag, and also applied for deer and elk in Oregon.

Bring on the next challenge.

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Here are some products we used or would recommend for this type of adventure!