It has become a common theme as a freelancer to be called to a shoot with only a few days of preparation. The race to gather my gear and finish tying all my knots at home has been a practice that I have yet to perfect but I enjoy none the less. It was about 5 days out when I got the call from Jim Lewis. He needed me to head to Utah, and with no hesitation, I said yes. I have experienced Utah on my own accord and for the record it stands out as one of my favorite pieces of land in the States, but I was about to experience Utah through a completely different eye. I was hired to shoot with Stephen West, an exceptional big game hunter from Texas that was looking to fill his bear tag with only a week before the season ended. The remaining days at home flew by like they always do and before I knew it, I was saying goodbye to my girls at home and boarding the plane, next stop Salt Lake City, Utah. This was my first time seeing a bear up close and to see it through a viewfinder is something that I would wish differently. I am the kind of person that when I see a moment that I like, I try to pause myself and really appreciate that second for what it is worth. Which can be hard as the camera man when you have a role to react during irreplaceable moments. Nonetheless, the the experience was irreplaceable in itself and I wouldn’t have changed a thing. We spent five days in the Roan Cliffs and after day 02 Stephen had already filled his tag. We spent the remaining days chasing bears with the Houndsmen and taking in the views.
The controversial topic of bear hunting brings a variety of individuals opinion to light. How does it benefit anyone if a boar is killed? How can you kill such an innocent animal? What did the bear ever do to you? In all reality, bear hunting is a crucial part to conservation when you live a rural lifestyle. As we expand our urban communities, the wildlife are forced to smaller regions of the “wild” which effects the ranchers, livestock, and neighboring wildlife. If the population is not controlled, then the boars will kill the cubs in order to put the sows back into heat for breeding. Ultimately this causes the number of bears to decline when the younger generation is being killed off by its own. In the words of @stephen__west “the strongest and healthiest bear populations are hunted ones.”