Unlike seasons in the past, this year required hauling in bear gear earlier than normal. A landslide — trigged by a small earthquake — occurred 17 miles north on the Greys River road.
Because of its location, it immediately cut off the route we traditionally use to access the Box Y. Therefore, we were forced to haul approximately 8,000 pounds of bear bait, along with two rubber tire wheelers, a side-by-side razor, a baiting trailer, an equipment trailer, and part of the groceries.
In order for this operation to take place, we used four Yamaha’s (with tracks designed to traverse the snow) and it required two trips with a Tucker snow groomer. The guides (and our fearless leader) that hauled in the gear were Mark Warr, Jim Barton, Dave McKnight, Sy Gilliland, and Tim Haberberger — we are so thankful for their help! It took four days of preparation and loading trailers, three days of moving gear / bait, and two total travel days from Casper. Needless to say, it was exhausting.
All of that is to say, the road is not expected to be re-routed until late summer. So, during the entire spring bear season, we will use a forest service road from the Big Piney side of the Wyoming Range. Luckily, this road does not completely melt off until June (typically).
Our plan is to shuttle hunters using tracked wheelers over the McDougall gap, transferring to a side-by-side and on into the Box Y. That said, the actual hunt won’t be impacted by this route change — in fact, it should be a banner year because we anticipate heavy action and multiple bears per bait. While the landslide cut off access to two of our baits, the rest are all intact.
Last but not least, given the amount of snow in the area, spring is not anticipated to be early. So, the first hunters will experience plenty of snow hiking into the baits. The boar bears usually emerge first from their dens, which should start around the first of May.
A look at the work: