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Darling Creek horse

What Spring Bear Season Means to a Seasoned Wrangler

March 20, 2023 is the first day of spring and this means Idaho spring bear season is right around the corner!

Let me introduce myself, I'm Kelly Swingruber, my daughter (Tia) and I pack for Wild Idaho Outfitters and Castle Creek Outfitters. I also manage the livestock. Simple right? Hmm, not so much! We run our livestock start to finish, so to speak, which means, we don't just buy broke stock and put them to work. We raise our stock. We find and buy the right brood stock and raise our replacement stock: mares, geldings, stallions, mules!

Prior to the start of Idaho spring bear season, the young Darling Creek Livestock has to be started. They have to be started clear back when they are Lil kids on their Mommas, but when they get some years on ‘em, it gets serious. When Idaho spring bear season rolls around, the young stock needs to be trained enough to at least throw a blanket and pack saddle on, throw some pack bags on and be able to lead. Hopefully they are a little further along then that, but not always.

Anyways….., before the official start of spring bear, we start setting baits and Idaho spring bear season means packing on Darling Creek colts in mud and remnants of snow and green bursting forth and an end to a long long looooong winter!

When we brought the old pros (livestock) out of the back country the end of November 2022 in snow and cold, some of which were just started before spring bear 22, we came home to rest a little and to dream of the start of spring bear season.

Well folks here it is almost spring, the dreaming is over and the long awaited “work” begins! The colts need saddled, the mules need shaved, the horses need shod, and thousands of pounds of bait needs set!

Horses that were cute colts on their Mommas “just yesterday” now are stepping up to hopefully become “old pros”. Myself, I haven’t just been dreaming of spring and the back country and green grass for a winter, I’ve been dreaming of throwing my leg over these colts for 3 and 4 years. Dreaming of how great they could turn out to be!

Spring also means a new crop of Darling Creek Livestock babies are just around the corner, more fodder to dream on!

Yes, the first day of spring means Idaho spring bear season is almost here but to me, so much more! Not only new growth, new stock, new memories but also new hunters as well as return hunters of which some become friends and family. 2023 is going to be a great year!

Contributed by Kelly Swingruber (Wrangler Extraordinaire)

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