Archery Twins; Surviving A Grizzly Attack
While I was in knife school, I overheard a couple of bladesmiths talking about how being on Instagram was the best way to promote custom knife sales. When I got home, I opened an account and the number of followers and “likes” were minimal and mostly friends and family. I knew I had to find a way to reach more people if I was ever going to sell many knives. I was scrolling through the “gram” and stumbled onto the Archery Twins (@archerytwins). They are out of Edmonton Alberta Canada and were in the beginning stages of learning to hunt and dedicated their page to their journey. They were cute and a little flirty but were doing nothing that I considered over the top or out of bounds. Their posts were mostly about clothing and shooting their bows.
I sent them a message asking if they had good quality knives. They responded by showing me a picture of a small store-bought pocketknife and a trendy skinning blade. I offered to make each of them a custom hunting knife in exchange for some pictures of them in the field using my knives. They agreed and each of them told me what they wanted as far as style and color of handle material.
I made a few billets of beautiful ladder pattern damascus steel and created the blades. At this point I didn’t even know their names as they did not want that much exposure on social media. I knew there was a blonde and a brunette. They did finally confide in me that their names were Jacey and Randi. Jacey wanted a skinner with a blue handle and Randi wanted a drop point hunter with a green handle. I sent pictures to them throughout the process and finally was able to ship them to Canada, however, it was after the current hunting season had ended. When they arrived, they took a few pictures and posted them on Instagram but it didn’t have much influence at that point. I think it just looked like an old guy that sent a couple of girls some knives.
We stayed in touch during the off season as they went ice fishing and entered an archery shooting competition (Randi was in the final but took home the silver). They practiced their archery skills and geared up for the 2021 hunting season documenting their journey as they went. When I first met them, they had 2k-3k followers but by hunting season they had amassed an incredible 12.7k followers.
They posted a couple of unsuccessful days of moose hunting and were diligently spending time in the field with their bows. Finally, they posted a picture of Randi with a whitetail deer still in velvet that she had harvested with her bow. They fulfilled their obligation to me by taking pictures of them grinning ear to ear while showing off my knives. A few days later they posted again sharing Jacey’s success in harvesting a cow elk. Once again, they shared pictures of my knives as they celebrated their success. I had teased them throughout the year that they were my influencers and I was counting on them to influence the world.
My number of followers went up from 375 to over 400 overnight. I was elated that they had that much influence. I was celebrating my own Instagram victory and posted that I had achieved the 400-follower mark when I received this message from Jacey:
Just wanted to let you know that your knife just saved my life. I was attacked by a grizzly while doing a goat survey and I was able to stab him with your knife holstered to my bino harness.
My heart stopped for a few beats. She also included a short video of her leg covered by shredded pants that revealed several claw marks along her entire leg. After asking if she was okay, she assured me that there were no life threating or disabling injuries. I tried to communicate with her to find out what happened but I am sure she better things to tend to so I heard nothing until the next day. I shared the video via text with a few of my friends and family and there were basically four responses: 1. Wow! 2. Holy crap!!! 3. Holy Shit!!! and 4. Dude!!! (okay, there was only one person that said Dude!!!).
The next day Jacey posted the following:
For those of you who don't know, I work as a full-time biologist. Yesterday I was doing a mountain goat survey, which I routinely do, but this time the survey went very differently. I was cresting a hill to get to my next lookout point, and as soon as I got to the top, I ran directly into a grizzly bear and his freshly killed mountain goat. Before I could even realize it was a bear, he had closed the 10 yards and was lunging at me. I instinctively threw my leg up to shield my torso as the bear made contact and flung me to the ground. Thank goodness I had my Kuiu pack on, which took some of the force off the fall and helped from getting the wind knocked out of me. While on the ground, the bear was standing right over top of me, using his weight to easily pin me with just one paw on my pelvis. I keep a knife attached to my bino harness at all times and thought that that would probably be my only hope because it would be too late if I took the time to unholster and uncap my bear spray. I grabbed the knife and shoved it as hard as I could into the bear's neck. This made him take a few steps back and pause just long enough for me to reach my bear spray and douse him in it. He turned and ran and I did the same. Overall, I escaped with fairly minor injuries: a seriously black and blue body and relatively shallow cuts. Now that I've had time to process, I truly am so fortunate and grateful to have made it out of that situation alive. Sometimes it's hard to remember just how wild and unpredictable nature is. You never know what could happen, so if you take anything from this post, please pack all the necessary equipment you need to stay safe and protect yourself. Also, thank you @janvaterlaus for making me that knife and quick grab holster. It's definitely performed above and beyond its regular duties.
I watched as her followers went from 12.7k to over 13.3k and mine climbed from 400 to 520 and still going. I am so fortunate to have joined forces with the most dedicated influencers in the business. I do not know of any other that would take on a grizzly to promote my knives (haha). Seriously, I am so proud of both Jacey and Randi for their dedicated approach to hunting and their willingness to share their adventures. I am glad that she had her little blue knife at the ready. I am so grateful that Jacey came out of the attack mostly unscathed and plans to continue her hunting pursuits. I consider it a privilege to have them as friends.