On May 29th, I landed in Missoula, Montana at 12:30 PM, 15 minutes earlier than expected. The 58-degree temperature felt invigorating after leaving 90 degrees and high humidity in North Carolina. Entering the airport, it wasn’t difficult to recognize my Outfitter. Standing over 6 feet tall under a granite colored cowboy hat, Earl Keating greeted me with a wide smile and a firm handshake resulting from years of rodeo events, shoeing horses and outfitting hunters. After 35 years in the business, Earl still guides some, but it’s his son Cody Keating who does most of the guiding. The business is still a family operation that’s made it’s mark in the industry by providing quality hunts through proper wildlife management. They offer elk, bear and mountain lion hunts along with summer horseback trips for the family.
Hunters stay in a comfortable two -story home where Earl and his wife Sue live. Cody lives next door with his wife Dena and their 5 daughters. Everyone helps make the business a successful operation.
After unpacking and a short visit with everyone it was time to head to a bear bait where I would be operating a camera. I would be trying to film California hunter, Mike Carter take a black bear with his replica 1863 Sharps black powder rifle, then begin my bowhunting quest for a color-phased bear.
Author and Cody Keating pose with Mike Carter after dropping this fine bear with an 1863 Sharps.
This was Mike’s second day of his hunt. He had seen a decent size black bear the first evening, but Cody had advised him to wait for a better bear. At 7:45 PM (my first day out with the camera) he was very glad he had waited. His 75 – yard shot dropped a huge black bear and I had it all on film. The boar bear weighed approximately 275 to 300 pounds and toted a pumpkin size head. I couldn’t believe I had departed Greensboro N.C. at 8:26 am and in the same day filmed a successful bear hunt in Idaho!
Tomorrow I would begin my hunt. I hoped success would follow me in the wild mountains of Idaho.