We were covered up in bears, of that there was little doubt. Some hunters reported seeing as many as six or seven bruins in an evening—and we were finding plenty of tracks like the one shared here. That's a human handprint to the right, for the record. For scale.
Among the new gear evaluated on our hunt was the brand new Engage line of binoculars from Bushnell. Four configurations will be offered, from 8x42mm to 12x50mm. ED Prime Glass is meant to ensure sharp images, while PC-3 Phase Coating has been added to enhance resolution and contrast. We'll have more coverage of these in the coming months.
As part of the greater Vista Outdoor family, Savage Arms provided the rifles for our hunt. My bolt-action was topped with one of the new Bushnell Engage riflescopes. Engage scopes feature a new look for Bushnell, as well as upgraded features and a new Deploy MOA reticle that offers 1-MOA windage and elevation hashmarks.
For 2017, Federal Premium announced its “Non-Typical Whitetail” line of ammunition. Non-Typical features exclusively soft-point bullet offerings, and is largely a simple repackaging of existing Federal products. It’s also good for more than just deer. I put 150 grains of .270 Win. through my black bear, and he died 30 yards from my stand.
It took me a few nights, but I ultimately was able to fell this 200-pound bruin on the fourth evening of my stay at Narrows West. He surprised me by sneaking into the bait site around 5 p.m. local time. It didn't take long to ID him as a very respectable first bear.
After a few relatively quiet nights, the bears started to surface. Four were killed on the Monday of our hunt, and three of us—myself, gun writer Chris Mudgett and Bushnell's Jake Edson—tagged out on Tuesday evening. When the bears started moving, it happened fast.