Background, Planning, & Logistics
After throwing the idea of a Polar Bear hunt around for
several years, I finally bit the bullet and finalized plans last fall. Mark
Buehrer at Bowhunting Safari Consultants is a good friend of mine and I call
him first on any hunt that requires an outfitter -- especially on an expensive
and logistically complicated hunt like this one. I can't imagine hunting the
Arctic without previous experience and a track record like BSC's on your side. I almost booked last-minute back in 2008 when the U.S. Government's
threatened-status decision loomed and we thought I could still chase an
importable bear. We decided to hold off at that time, as I did not want to be
rushed into a decision of so much financial magnitude and there were many
questions surrounding the bears' status. My gut feeling was that I'd be
getting myself into a beaurocratic mess, that the non-importable areas offered
a higher quality hunt, and that prices would come down after a decision was
In some ways I regret waiting because that may have been my
last chance at an importable bear. Having said that, waiting allowed me to
book and plan the trip on my own terms, with less pressure financially and more
time to savor and anticipate the hunt itself (obviously the anticipation is one
of the best parts of going on hunts like this). Waiting to pursue a bear also
enabled me to plan a trip for Muskox in 2010 -- which was undoubtedly the best
and most logical way to prepare for hunting the white bear.
Speaking of Muskox, last spring I spent several days in a
qamutiq (wooden sled pulled behind dogs or a snow machine), hunting out of
Iqaluktuttiaq (Cambridge Bay) on the ice of the Kent Peninsula. The journey
proved fruitful in many ways. I was fortunate to take two net-scoring Boone
and Crockett bulls with my bow and to spend significant time testing and
perfecting my hunting system for a future Polar Bear hunt. Most of the gear I'm
using this spring passed the test on that hunt.
Last fall Mark and I decided on a final destination -- Pond
Inlet. By that point I had settled on a historically non-importable area and
the decision was easy -- especially after hearing the stories of Michele Leqve
and Bryce Olson's recent successes.
Pond Inlet, surrounded by mountains and glaciers, lays on
the shore of north Baffin Island in the Canadian province of Nunavut. On April
17, I'll leave West Virginia and fly from Dulles (Washington, DC) to Ottawa. The following day I'll continue north with stops in Iqaluit (the capital of
Nunavut) and Clyde River before reaching Pond Inlet. After another overnight "in
town" we'll head out on the land on April 19 by snow machine (weather
permitting) -- it will take at least a full day to reach the hunting area. I'm
hoping to be officially hunting by April 19/20, but as anyone who has traveled
in the Arctic will tell you -- delays are the norm rather than the exception.
When am I coming home?
Your guess is as good as mine. I'm there to hunt, and I
only booked one-way flights.