Sitka Gear

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 finalized.

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.

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