In my opinion, bear hunting is one of the most underrated Western hunts. It's a great way to get back in shape, scout new country, manage the local predator population, test gear, and hunt with new people that you might not have time to hunt with during fall. And spring is just a beautiful time of year to be in the hills, minus the ticks!
As soon as I understood the entire view of the hunting as a management tool, I knew bear hunting was going to be a part of every year's hunts. I felt that if I was going to try to take a deer and/or elk every fall, I needed to do my part on the other end of the spectrum and manage some predators that would impact those deer/elk populations. Living in Missoula, MT, at the time meant that the surrounding hills were thick with bears, and finding bears wasn't going to be hard. My first full day of bear hunting found me five miles back with a dead bear at my feet and a long pack back to the truck. I made it back but was a hurting unit. From there, I was hooked.
I've been a part of almost two dozen bear kills and have killed five myself, and it's my excitement for spring only grows. At this point, I've transitioned into targeting big, old boars that live up in the high country. A perfect reason to get another mountain hunt or two under my belt and hopefully give me a little edge going into fall.
A lot of my spring kit closely resembles much of what I'd take on a fall rifle hunt. Take a look at the video above to hear what I take and why on a 3-5 day backpack bear hunt.
Zack's Gear List
- SG EVO 6900 with Accessory Pocket and Large Accessory Pocket on a Krux EVO Frame.
- Big Agnes Q-Core SLX Sleeping pad
- SG Chilkoot 15º sleeping bag in Outdoor Research waterproof compression sack
- Weatherby CarbonMark Pro in .300 Weatherby Mag, Vortex Razor HD AMG 6-24x50
- SG SkyAir ULT with Vestibule
- SG Grumman Down Jacket
- SG Grumman Down Pants in Outdoor Research dry bag
- 3-5 days of food in Outdoor Research dry bag
- SG M5 rain jacket
- SG M5 Rain pants
- Toaks titanium pot with Optimus Crux burner
- Assorted gloves from Outdoor Research and Smartwoli
- Toilet paper and extra rifle ammo in ziplock
- Toothbrush and other assorted toiletries
- Kestrel Elite 5700
- Bino tripod adapter
- Fenix HL60R headlamp
- Garmin inReach Mini
- Vortex Summit XLT tripod
- Leica Televid 82 spotter
- SG Helio Hoody
- Backpack rain cover
- Outdoor Research waterproof mitts
- Caribou Gear game bags
- SG Camp pocket with tags, medical kit, paracord, and other small items
- HotHands handwarmers
- CAMP trekking plie
- SG Nalgene
- SG Cuffed Beanie