Search for the First

Brandon Thome-neitzelThe third day of our hunt started out as the day’s prior. A slow moving overcast surrounded the valley, and the bears were moving slowly.

Brandon Thome-neitzel

Although the animals must remain exposed to the harsh elements, I was comfortable glassing in the rain while in my Sitka Gear Stormfront Series Jacket and Pant.

Brandon Thome-neitzel

While the day passed on, the clouds began to scatter, and bears began to show themselves. As the sun broke through the clouds for the first time in three days, I had a feeling that our luck was about to change.

Brandon Thome-neitzel 3 Bears

Days spent glassing for large boars in the thick wilderness of Vancouver Island paid off when I first laid my eyes on him. People always say that bears are the hardest animals to field judge, but there wasn’t any doubts about this bear. He swayed his weight from side to side, clearly walking with a swagger. Big bears are the toughest animals on the island, and he acted like it.

Brandon Thome-neitzel Bear HuntBrandon Thome-neitzel Bear Hunt

As we closed in on the stalk, he began to walk directly away from us. He proceeded into a small gully, and we ran forward 100 yards to get into a better shooting position. Then as if time stood still, the large boar was looking directly at us.

Brandon Thome-neitzel Bear Hunt

The moment he turned his head in disregard, we closed the final ten yards to get into a better shooting position.

Brandon Thome-neitzel Bear Hunt

My heart pounded in my chest, and my lungs gasped for air as I hovered the crosshairs over his large shoulder. I slowly squeezed off the shot and watched it hit hard just 130 yards away.

Brandon Thome-neitzel Bear Hunt

The king of the forest disappeared from sight as we proceeded with caution. We approached the site where he was last seen and were pleased to find a large mound of fur laying motionless.

Brandon Thome-neitzel Bear Hunt

Brandon Thome-neitzel Bear Hunt

I knew that he was a large bear, but I was still in amazement when I laid my hands on my first black bear. Looking back on this trip, his skull size is the last thing that I will think about.
The memories made with family on a little island on the west coast of Canada will remain vivid in my mind.

Brandon Thome-neitzel 1st Bear

Story written by Brandon Thome-Neitzel

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