In June, I met up with Gray Farnsworth and Dean Capuano of Swarovski Optik North America for a spot and stalk black bear hunt in Idaho with the Flying B Ranch. The Flying B lodge simply put is breathtaking. Everything from the accommodation, meals and guides was amazing.
I was excited as this was my first time hunting with and meeting Gray. Even more exciting for her I am sure as this was her first black bear hunt. Mid June is peak rut time for black bears so you will find many two year old bears that have just been weaned and mature boars on the move looking for ready sows. All the excitement that June brings gives hunters the perfect opportunity to spot a bruin on the move.
The weather could not have been more perfect to go along with the miles and miles of hillsides that we were glassing for bruins. On the second day of our hunt we spotted a nice boar on the move but were unable to stalk within range before he disappeared into the timber.
Big open country like Idaho can be very deceiving. What appears to be close can in actuality be miles and miles away. Having good optics brings those miles closer to you; however covering those miles to hunt can in reality be very tricky.
We were able to stalk within range of three bears, but unfortunately, they were all only two year old bears weighing in at maybe 70 lbs. each. We passed up these little guys in hopes of finding a mature bruin.
The weather in high country can go from good to bad very quickly and on the final day of our hunt we literally hunted in a down pour of rain. Our hopes remained despite the conditions and we hunted until dark hopefully seeking a mature boar without luck.
For me, one of the highlights of the trip was one morning while loading our gear into trucks, Gray spotted a bedded doe just in front of the lodge. Getting out her spotting scope Gray discovered a doe in labor. Literally right before our eyes, we were able to watch the birth of twin fawns and thanks to Swarovski Optik, we were able to digiscope stunning photos of the entire event.
This trip was a trip of forged friendships, good times and even greater memories in the field. Gray was able to take in the splendor of Idaho’s rugged landscapes for her first time. I am sure that her heart is now as fond of the western landscapes as mine and will return again sometime soon.