My brothers first black bear. He and his family were brought to the small town of Stevensville Montana a couple years back due to Matt being on the Grayback Hot Shots fire crew. Although this year he is not on the crew due to his eldest son having health issues. Anyhow, the way of life in Montana is dramatically different then anywhere else I’ve experienced. Most of the state is untouched by people and where there are towns there aren’t many jobs so most people in these small towns truly live off the land. People garden and they hunt. Matt and his wife have three little kiddos and live a very quite life of low paying jobs and lots of family time. They garden during the summer and hunt during the fall, winter and spring. This is how they put food on the table and there is such a beautiful simplicity I find in this.
So regarding this image, as I think some who keep up with my work might have a negative reaction to hunting. Me and Matt were raised in the outdoors with a great great respect for nature, the mountains, and the animals that call these beautiful places home. Our outlook and techniques are humane and minimal. Matt hunts primarily by bow and arrow and harvests enough animals to feed his family for the year. Bears are a touchy subject because there are many out there who own private ranches and hold bear hunts where they actually bait for bears, they set up barrels of bacon grease and donuts (sadly, this is not a joke, it is also illegal). Anyhow there is a resurgence of young hunters now who are hunting in traditional ways and are having a very respectable impact on the hunting community. Matt is one of those making a positive impact. And if I live in Montana one day… I’ll join that group.
Montana gets in your blood. The wilderness up there is still wild. There is a different perspective of needs and wants, its a perspective that really has been speaking to me.
If anyone has any direct questions about this, shoot me an email!