A Big Opportunity with a Compact Move: The Ravin R18.

Doug Guthrie uses the Ravin R18 to Power an Epic Hunt in a Vast Canadian Wilderness.

When you shoulder into unknown territories, adventure follows. Avid hunter Doug Guthrie, VP Product Development at Ravin Crossbows, knows this well. Since its inception, Doug has helped push Ravin Crossbows into new frontiers with his engineering prowess and team of peerless experts. When he’s not behind a prototype or product sample, he’s on the hunt, always utilizing Ravin’s apex accuracy to his advantage. In this first installment of Ravin Success Stories, Doug walks us through a recent bear hunt in rural Saskatchewan, Canada. He pulled the trigger on the ultra-compact Ravin R18 crossbow to harvest what can only be described as a 376 lb. absolute unit of a black bear.

How did you outfit your group with Ravin?

I wanted everybody to make sure they got out there fully fitted up. We geared almost everyone up with an R29X. I took the R18 because I wanted to show people that yeah, it's a small package but it packs a big punch. It’s got the VertiCoil Cam System that makes tight tree hunting so much easier, especially for close quarters in a remote setting. I shot this bear at about eight yards, which is tight. But luckily we were prepared for the ensuing adventure of tracking him down. Took a little bit of work [laughs].

Set the backdrop for this once-in-a-lifetime hunt.

Some drove. Some flew. Once we all arrived we met the outfitter the next morning and drove three and a half hours to the camp. We all arrived over a weekend, got situated, and started our hunts early in the week. Really nice place. Good setup. You’ve got the main house and then a couple different cabins where everybody stayed. They have a nice, big shop where they keep wheelers and gear and, importantly, keep other bears from sniffing around where we processed our harvests.

What kind of Ravin crossbow did you use on this hunt?

I've always used a vertical bow bear hunting. On this hunt I brought the Ravin R18. It’s so compact, and the vertical limb format is very unique, custom to Ravin, and as I’ve learned: highly effective [laughs]. On a bear hunt you’re typically 15 to 25 yards away from the animal, so whether it's a firearm or crossbow it's a bit of personal preference, but in this instance I wanted to put to use the R18’s VertiCoil Cam System and just how damn different it is while being so lethal. Like I mentioned, I took this bear at about eight yards.

What stands out about the day you pulled the trigger?

So the night that I shot this bear I had actually seen a mule deer walk through the bait and I had two bears that were milling in and out, in and out. One of the bears was a sow from what I could tell. All of a sudden he appeared in front of me, and I'm like, yep: that's a good bear. It's a shooter and I was expecting him to turn broadside. Of course, he walked straight because the other bears were right behind me. So he walked straight to my tree and was straight underneath me.

And then he turned and started coming back before he stopped and turned broadside. I was taught by a friend a long time ago: “Take the first available good shot. Don't wait for the perfect shot.” I know I made a good shot. I saw the shot go in. Of course, by this point it’s dark because it was about nine o'clock at night so we walked into this thick stuff, and of course couldn't find blood.

When we went back the next morning we picked up the blood trail, followed it and found him lying there. I walked by him twice and never saw him that night before. 

What were the specs of this bear?

His skull was 19 ⅞” and scaled at 376 lbs. Yeah, he was a big bear.