A Record Book Bear for Russ

Russ Wangen almost had to cancel his BC Black Bear hunt.  A recent battle with cancer took it’s toll but he toughed it out and made his way to BC to try and harvest a Black Bear.  He did just that and not just any bear…  A truly giant record book BC Black Bear.



It’s Big…it’s Brown… and it’s DOWN.

Prostaffer Darren Bell took time off from guide / outfitting and found a Blackwater giant for himself.




3 REAL BEAUTIES!… and 3 bears too

Marty from BCB has been busy guiding three wonderful ladies to there first black bears.  First off was his cousin Kalea from Merritt B.C.  After three hard days of hunting Kalea made a great 100 yard frontal chest shot and was rewarded with a big scared up  boar that squared 6ft 11”.   Next up was Marty’s girlfriend Ashley.  Accompanied with her two boys they were able spot a shooter  boar and stalk to within a 100 yards. She hit the bear high in the back just clipping the bears spine. After a well placed follow up shot Ash was standing over a good mature boar that squared 6 1\2 feet.  After missing a good portion of last years spring bear season and passing on a 5    1\2 foot boar on the last day last year it was very rewarding.  To have her two young lads with her was very special also.
Lastly was Ami from Prince George.  After having no luck getting a crack at a good bear in several attempts with other so called guides they headed out in one of Marty’s honey holes. She made a great 80 yards shoulder shot on a good boar that was with a sow.  The bear being hit through both lungs only made it about 10 feet before expiring. To say that Ami was excited is an under statement.  This was her first big game animal and I’m sure not the last.   Marty said it was an absolute blast guiding all three gorgeous women to there first bears. They are all great marksmen and good fun chicks.


Mountain Hardwear Skyledge 2.1 Review

Skyledge1I purchased this tent 2 years ago to replace my MH Helion 2, which was a fantastic one person tent, but just too small for  2 guys… unless your hobbits.  I’ve done a few backpack hunts with the Skyledge now and it has served me well.  For the weight it has performed great even in high winds, and has been able to withstand a decent snow load.  The tension arch 3rd pole design is simple but strong, especially once you guy it out.  The tent has 2 doors and 2 separate vestibules that enables you to store both your gear under the fly, and no crawling over one another to get out of the tent.  It has a ton of convenient pockets inside the tent and large doors to get in and out easily.  The biggest advantage this tent has is the weight.  For a double wall tent it is very light, weighing in at under 4lbs.  It’s large enough to fit 2 6ft guys comfortably enough, but if you are claustrophobic or just a bigger dude, you might want to consider the Skyledge 3.

Skyledge The Skylege 2.1 is plenty light enough to serve as a 1 person tent as well so keep that in mind if your in the market for a single person shelter.  The only complaint I have is the durability of the fly material.  I’ts very light and will tear if your not careful.  However a thicker, more durable fly would add more weight to the tent…  Overall I have been impressed with the Mountain Hardwear Skyledge 2.1 and highly recommend it to anyone looking for a lightweight backpacking tent for August and into September where there’s a chance of bad weather. www.mountainhardwear.ca




# of People: 2
Freestanding: Yes
Packed Weight: 4 lb 4 oz / 1.91 kg
Trail Weight: 3 lb 7 oz / 1.56 kg
Pitchlight Weight: 2 lb 11 oz / 1.23 kg
# of Poles: 3
Floor Area: 28 sq ft / 2.6 sq m
Vestibule Area: 11 sq ft x 2 / 1.1 sq m x 2
Peak Height: 39 in
Packed Dimensions: 21 x 6 in
Number of vestibules: 2

Sitka Gear Ascent Pant

AscentDuring our spring bear and August sheep / goat backpack hunts, you’ll find us wearing the Sitka Gear Ascent pant.  I’ts become our favorite warm weather, early season pant for many reasons.  Before Sitka Gear, we were forced to buy clothing designed for mountaineering and backpacking to get the fit and features we needed for the type of “athletic” style hunts that we do.  Sitka recognized the need for technical camo clothing for the mountain hunter, and has since changed the game completely when it comes to today’s hunting clothing market.







The Sitka Gear Ascent pant uses articulated knees and a gusseted crotch to offer full range of movement when hiking or climbing.  Combined with it’s highly breathable, stretchy polyester fabric, this pant will be one of  the most comfortable pants you will ever wear.  The zippers are durable and quiet, and the pockets close using a snap system that is silent and bomb proof.  The fabric is incredibly durable, especially considering how light weight it is, and has a brushed finish to keep it quiet.  Another unique feature is the rubbery lining  on the inside of the waist that keeps your shirt tucked in place while hiking hard.  The other features the mountain hunters will appreciate is the roll up pant leg system for stream crossings and the dual fly zippers, which makes it much easier to go the washroom with a loaded pack on, or a tree stand saftey harness. Sitka has since introduced the Mountain pant and the Timberline pant which I will be doing separate reviews on shortly.  Both have extra fabric built into the high wear parts and built in knee pad systems, as well as other cool features.  With these additional features comes extra weight, and  while they both have a place in our specific hunting applications,  I will still reach for the Ascent pant before all others when heading into the mountains in the early season.  www.sitkagear.com

Darren Sitka Gear

Pack Review – Eberlestock J107 Dragonfly

Having spent years guiding & hunting in the mountains of BC and the NWT, as well as spending my off season working in outdoor pro-shops, I have had the opportunity to use many different brands of packs over the years. One of the packs I have had the chance to test recently is the Eberlestock J107 Dragonfly. I have used it extensively over the last few seasons with impressive results.  Here’s a detailed review on why it has become one of my favorites.

I will break the review down into 4 categories:

 – Durability

 – Features

 – Comfort, Frame, & Load Carrying Ability

 – Warranty… How the manufacturer stands behind their product



I have put the J107 through the paces over the last 3 seasons without any failures.  Eberlestock’s NT-7 fabric has held up extremely well, and while I believe the 500 denier cordura fabric used by companies like Mystery Ranch is a tougher over all choice, the NT-7 fabric is quieter and seems to be more water resistant.  Also keep in mind that Eberlestock has the same J107 pack but with a 1000 d option!  It’s called a J107m, the M being for Military.  I haven’t had the opportunity to try one myself, but his pack would be bombproof.  The zippers on the J107 packs are huge and tough as nails, and the buckles seemed to be equally as durable.



The J107 has  more features than any pack on the market today, hands down.  This includes a compression strap system like no other, which uses 3 huge straps to allow you to compress heavy loads closer to your body and enables you to strap just about anything to the pack securely.  Another unique feature is the ability to unzip the main compartment expanding the size of the pack from a 2900 c.i pack into a 5400 c.i pack.  That will be large enough for most backpacking situations but if it’s not, there’s a slick spike camp duffel add-on that increases the capacity to a whopping 7875 c.i.  Like it’s competitors it features a removable lid that convert into a fanny pack, hydration pockets for bladders, as well as a multitude of pouches and cases that can be added to the pack.  The feature that really sets it apart from all the others is the built in rifle scabbard.  This is the best carrying system out there for packing your rifle and it gives you quick and easy access to it when you need it.




Using the J107 to haul an outboard into a mountain lake.





Comfort, Frame & Load Carrying

The Eberlestock J107  utilizes a full frame sheet and 2 internal aluminum stays to give it the stability and strength to pack heavy.  The advantages to this system is the ability to adjust the stays to contour an individuals body.  Myself, I find that sharper angled stays on the lower portion work better for me than the factory configuration.  The pack features heavy duty load straps and a comfortable waist belt that allows you to distribute the weight onto your hips and shoulders. By adjusting the two you can find that sweet spot needed to pack the heaviest of loads.  It does however carry the weight on your shoulders a bit more than some other packs I have used.


Warranty… How the manufacturer stands behind their product

 The J107 has a lifetime warranty. The crew at Eberlestock are the best in the business as far as standing by there product, and making sure their customers are happy.  The first time I contacted Eberlestock with questions about their packs, I was forwarded to none other than Glen Eberle himself.  He went over the pack with me in detail and answered all my questions.  I thought that was pretty great. I ended up ordering one and I’m glad I did.  I have since ordered a few packs from Eberlestock as well as a horde of accessories and add ons. Every time I have contacted them their service has been top notch.


Once August hits you will likely find the BC & B staff in the mountains of BC chasing Sheep & Goat.  The pack I find myself reaching for lately is the Eberlestock J107 Dragonfly.  The thing that sets the J107 apart from all the others is the ability to transform from a day pack, to a large meat hauler, to a huge multi-day backpack that has room for anything and everything.  This makes the pack incredibly versatile.  And then there’s the rifle scabbard…..  it is worth it’s weight in gold when hiking long distances and also protects the rifle from the elements, brush, rocks, etc…  Your rifle and shoulders will thank you.  www.eberlestock.comDSCN0064

Sitka 90% Jacket: “90% of the time, it works every time”…

90 percentBack in the day, the go-to clothing system for mountain hunters and hikers was a synthetic base layer, followed by a fleece shirt for warmth, and then a hard shell waterproof jacket for protection from wind and rain. Here’s the problem with that setup: Hard shell waterproof jackets will keep you warm and dry while walking or stationary glassing, but they simply do not breath enough during high output hiking or climbing to keep you from sweating and becoming wet. They are also loud and stiff, making them uncomfortable to wear. The fleece shirt you used for insulation works well under the hard shell to keep you warm, but when you’re hiking hard or climbing you will over heat, forcing you to remove the hard shell outer.  Now you’re cold because the fleece shirt by itself does nothing to block the wind and rain, and digging into your pack over and over again to pull out your hardshell can get old in a hurry.

   Enter Soft Shell Technology…

 The Sitka Gear 90% Soft shell jacket takes the wicking & insulating properties of the base layer / fleece shirt, and combines them with a stretch woven outer fabric  treated with a water resistant finish (DWR). This creates the ultimate single clothing piece with the ability to wick moisture, breathe incredibly well, is highly wind resistant, and will keep you dry during light/medium rain storms. The material is also stretchy and quiet, making it very comfortable to wear and much more durable than the hard shell fabrics. Perfect right? Just about…, you will still want to pack a waterproof hard shell in case of a heavy rain, however for “90%” of the time this jacket will be all you need.


 We use our 90% jacket’s all year round either as a single piece in the early season, or we add an additional fleece or wool layer under it for later when the temperature drops. We also use them in the winter as a layering piece under a insulated jacket or hard shell. For hunters looking for the ultimate do-everything jacket the Sitka Gear 90% Jacket is money well spent. Oh and if there’s any Sitka employees reading this…. please build me a hooded version!