Q & A with Steve West
This week we sat down with Steve West of Steve’s Outdoor Adventures to chat about last year’s hunts, what he has on his plate for next year, the methods to the madness of planning hunts, and his thoughts on the various Bergara rifles.
What hunts did you go on in 2015?
We started the year in Alaska filming the brown bear hunts as they came out of their dens, then went into British Columbia for spring black bear hunts. I sent two of my staff to Saskatchewan for a black bear hunt in June while I got the office ready for my fall departure.
September we filmed 24 days for moose, mountain caribou, and grizzly in the extreme north of British Columbia just a few miles from the Yukon border. We returned and quickly headed for Alaska for a peninsula brown bear hunt and wild free range bison hunt. And then we ended the season in Utah on a trophy mule deer hunt. It was an action packed year with a couple of really long trips.
What hunts are you planning on doing for 2016?
We have a huge schedule planned for 2016. We are going to the Alaska Peninsula for spring brown bear with Dan Hanus, the head gunsmith from Bergara Rifles. I will be there May 8-30 and really won’t go anywhere again until the fall. Then in August we are exploring a new area in Quebec and maybe doing the first ever adventure float hunt through a few hundred miles of the Quebec tundra wilderness. We will then head to Alaska for September moose and brown bear hunts. When we get home at the end of September we will spend a couple of weeks with two terminally ill kids hunting trophy bull elk on our ranch, and in October we are hoping to get the Newfoundland woodland caribou permit bought, but we will go to Wyoming for mule deer & antelope hunts, then in November we are on Kodiak Island of Alaska hunting Sitka blacktail deer and will finish up the season in British Columbia hunting Columbia blacktail deer.
When you’re going on hunts out of state or country, how do you go about planning out your hunts?
This is what we do for a living, we plan hunts for our clients so my office staff and travel agents book our flights, we get the camera equipment prepared for travel in pelican cases, and really we rely on our great outfitter/guide partners we have in the industry to make sure things are ready for us when we arrive at our destinations. After doing this for 20+ years the preparation is actually pretty easy for us now.
With much of your hunting requiring special tags, how do you take care of tags?
We buy them. I maybe draw 1 tag every 2-3 years if I am lucky. We rely on being able to buy general season tags or landowner tags for all of our hunts. Once again, the outfitters and guides are a tremendous resource for us and our long standing relationships with them make it easy for us to get the tags.
You’ve been hunting in many different places, where is your favorite place to hunt?
Not a fair question, but I have a demon inside of me for the wilderness, so I have to say Alaska or British Columbia. Really anywhere I can’t drive to and somewhere with grizzly bears. But, I like my bugling bull elk too!
So it’s a hard question to answer to be honest with you!
We have a lot of guys who hunt their local woods for whitetail and turkey and would like to go on expedition hunts. What is the best deal out there for someone wanting to get into expedition hunts?
“Expedition” is a term that could have many meanings. For some people a trip out to Colorado to hunt elk is a huge adventure. For others it means going to Alaska or the Yukon. My best advice is to call me or another professional hunting consultant with a lifetime of experience and talk about your dream hunting adventure and we can tell you, based on our personal experiences, what adventure or expedition to seriously consider and we can help you book it. The sky is the limit – from antelope to elk, grizzlies to caribou, the whole adventure world is out there just waiting for you to get off the couch and make it happen.
Which caliber Bergara rifle have you been shooting, and why did you choose that caliber?
I am stuck on two rifles and calibers – I have done a lot with the Bergara Custom rifle in .338 Win. Mag and this rifle fits all of the extreme northern hunting I do because it will effectively and ethically kill every grizzly, brown bear, moose, or mountain animal I come across. I have even elk hunted with this rifle and I truly believe the .338 Win. Mag is an under rated caliber.
Additionally, I love the .300 Win. Mag for almost all of my western big game hunting – for elk, mule deer, whitetail, or antelope I think it’s the best all-around big game rifle caliber there is on the market. I have never been a wildcat caliber guy and the .300 Win. Mag is versatile and you can find ammo for it anywhere.
And on another note, I have been spending more time with my .308 Win rifle every week. There is another underrated caliber you will see me deer and elk hunting with more and more moving forward. I put a suppressor on it last year honestly, I just love shooting that rifle and it drops them dead in their tracks.