My First Spring Bear

Hosted by
Tanya Avery



Let me just start this story out by admitting I’m scared of bears.  I mean, I’m sane.  Of course, I’m scared of them, Have you seen The Revenant?  Yeah, I know it was a Grizzly in that movie, and I know I was hunting Black Bears, but still, that was still fresh in my mind.   Bears are scary shit.  They don’t screw around.  I feel that it is good to have a healthy fear of predatory animals when you are hunting.  It heightens your senses, and I feel like it makes me a better hunter.

So, after giving Ryan a TON of crap about shooting the bear I was supposed to get to shoot last year, He was determined to help me get a bear this year.  We had seen a couple of good sized bears on the trail camera, and I was excited and nervous.   There was a big one coming in, and I had my sights set on him.  I have wanted to try to make ‘bear bacon’ as I had seen on an episode of ‘The Meateater’ and this big boy had some ham hocks on him!  So we pack up our gear and head out.  I chose to take my new 14r pack from Kifaru to give it a mini-test run, and the lightweight Cooper 92 we are testing on Rokslide.  I wasn’t paying attention to what Ryan was taking, and this is why I stress the importance of going over your gear together BEFORE you set out on your hunt.  I feel like we were lazy with this because we were doing a day hunt and not staying overnight, but I will get to that in a minute:)

We arrive at our spot and set up the new ground blind and slowly and quietly set down our gear and get prepared.  At any point, a bear could come in, and we needed to be ready.  I started to unpack my gear quietly and kept being told to ‘SHHHH!”  HELLO!  Didn’t he know I was quiet???  But the look I got from him when he spied the bag of chips in my pack would have melted plastic.   “CHIPS?!  YOU BROUGHT, CHIPS?!”  I couldn’t help but laugh.  Of course, I brought a snack.  I didn’t know how long this was going to take and I thought I might get hungry.  I have a ‘mom’ mentality and am always trying to plan.  It’s just the way it is, and no matter how much Ryan bitches about it, HE is usually the one that needs all the supplies and eats the food I bring, so he can just deal.  After he had got over that, he figured out I put on bug spray, but by then he couldn’t help but laugh.  Sorry, I hate bugs, especially ticks.

After a while of sitting and glassing, I was getting bummed.  I just knew we wouldn’t see a bear and I would be blamed because of my bug spray usage.   Then Ryan said, ‘ok, ten more minutes.’ You most likely don’t know this about Ryan, but that phrase is the kiss of death.  literally.  When he utters that phrase, the bears are summoned.  And then it happens, he whispers “here comes a bear to the left.” and promptly the adrenaline kicks in and I start to shake.  I raise my gun, and I can see the bear through the scope.  It is really challenging to be patient and scared with crazy amounts of adrenaline flowing through your body!   FINALLY, what felt like forever, the bear turns broadside, and I get a shot.  I shoot, and the bear starts bawling.  That was horrible.  I was not prepared for that at all.  The bear that Ryan shot the previous year (my bear) did not bawl like that.  I didn’t know what the hell that meant.  Was it a good shot?  Was it a bad shot?  I had no idea, and of course, I couldn’t ask Ryan because he had already hopped up and was chasing after it!  Yes, you read that correctly, that crazy loon was chasing after the wounded bear!  WTF right?  When I catch up to him, the bear is already down,  but I was not entirely convinced it was dead.  I would be ok with getting close right about the time Riga Mortis sets it.  Ryan is super jacked.  I am still in shock, and it has not entirely quite sunk in that I shot this bear!   The elation wears off quickly as we realize neither one of us brought an appropriate backpack for this hunt.  Seriously.  So yet again Ryan has to pack this huge bear out strapped to a frameless pack, something after last year he swore we would never do again.

So we take a few pics, but only a few, because we now have to figure out how the hell we are going to get this bear out.  Ryan decides to do what worked last year and wrap the compression straps under the bears front legs.  We also thought maybe it would be easier to tuck the back legs up into the bottom compression straps.  This didn’t work out well, as a few steps in one of the legs worked its way out and was swinging back and forth.  Also, the bears head kept flopping around and was making it hard to pack.  We could have used Paracord to tie the head to the pack, but I’m sure you guys won’t be surprised at this point to hear we didn’t bring our kill kit.  At this point, I may have accused Ryan of thinking I wouldn’t kill anything because we were so unprepared. He denied it.  So, I sacrifice a boot lace to improvise.  It was quite a feat to get the back on Ryan’s back after the bear is strapped on the pack, but eventually, with the help of a fallen tree, we get it done.  This is the part of the story I have to give MAD PROPS to my husband for the amazing pack out.  The bear was a 6-footer, and Ryan is only 5′ 8″.  In addition to that, the bear also outweighed him, but slowly, stopping several times for adjustments, we made it out.  And keeping to our usual bear hunting routine, we had to strip down almost naked to get our bloody clothes off and pray we didn’t get pulled over on the way home, LOL.

Provided for your convenience are links to the products discussed on this podcast.  Some links are affiliate links. Click here to read our full disclosure policy.


Our Pack List:                                                                                  What We Forgot:
1. Kifaru 14r Pack                                                                             1. Tanya’s Kifaru 22Mag Pack -or-
2. Kifaru Tarryall                                                                             2. Ryan’s Kifaru  EMRii Pack
3. Ghost blind                                                                                   3. Rokslide Kill kit
4. Folding Chairs                                                                             4. Scentless bug spray -or-
5. Deep Woods OFF bug spray                                                      5. ThermaCell Mosquito Repellent Appliance
6. Wendy’s tortilla chips                                                                 6. quiet snack. Donuts?
7. Sitka Women’s SubAlpine                                                         7. Change of clothes for the car ride home
Midweight top                                                                                  8.  Zip-lock bag with soapy washcloths
8. Sitka Women’s Jetstream Jacket
9. Sitka Women’s TimberlinePants
10. Lowa Boots
11. First Lite compression socks
12. Swarovski EL 10 x 42
13. Crispi Boots Nevada GTX
14. First Lite Aerowool Minert shirt
15.Cooper 92 7 Rem mag
16.Hornaday 180 ELDM
17. Dodge Ram 1500



More from this show