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View Full Version : Spring DIY Bear Hunt - Where to Go?



hoshour
03-16-2013, 02:35 PM
I'm thinking about grabbing my camping gear and doing a DIY spring bear hunt, spot and stalk. Any ideas on the best state, general area and time to go?

I spent a few days last fall walking logging roads around Libby, MT but had no luck, so I thought I'd give it another try, thinking spring might be a better time.

Also, I'd much prefer a color-phase bear, if that helps narrow down an area.

ivorytip
03-17-2013, 03:35 PM
yellowstone national park:) idaho montana wyoming and northern utah are known for the color variety in the black bears. most of idaho is otc but there are some controled units. not sure about the other states.

ORBucksBullsBears5
03-17-2013, 03:46 PM
Not real sure about other states but here in OR all but 1 of the spring bear tags offered are by application only and is already past the deadline, the other is on a first come first serve basis and are sold out. Our fall season opens up on August 1st. As for a color phased bear you'll want to look any where east of the cascades, not that there aren't any on the west side but of the 100-150 ive seen on the west side only 1 has been color phased.

feel free to pm me if you want anything specific

AnthonyVR
03-17-2013, 06:11 PM
Idaho is a great option. Long seasons, high bear densities, and reduced tag fees in certain areas...

charlesfetters
03-18-2013, 04:16 PM
Bayfield County in Northern Wisconsin has more black bear than humans. This is a true statement. We have a population of 14,000 people and 22,500 black bear. There are several color-phased bear but they are black bear, not grizzly.
Best time for Bayfield County would be after the second week in April. We have over 2 million miles of logging trails and ATV trails on Federal and State lands. As long as you are not carring a gun then there would be no permission or permits requiered. If you can walk quiet and have a camera you will need lots of film. It won't take long to spot your first bear.
Charles Fetters, author of the fictional novel, "Grizzly."

hoshour
03-19-2013, 04:39 PM
Last fall I hunted north of Libby for 3 days, which is not very long, but only saw bears on the main roads where of course I couldn't shoot them. The area has not been logged in so many years that there are few hillsides to glass and many of the closed logging roads are choked with brush.

So, this year, I was thinking of going in mid to late May, either changing to the areas around Noxon or Thompson Falls or just going to Idaho areas 1 or 4, maybe up around Priest Lake.

MSUcat61
03-20-2013, 06:32 PM
Though I've never done it, I've always wanted to do a spring bear hunt along Hungry Horse Reservoir. That might be something to look into.

AnthonyVR
03-20-2013, 08:27 PM
Though I've never done it, I've always wanted to do a spring bear hunt along Hungry Horse Reservoir. That might be something to look into.

I had a buddy that hunted up there and he had nothing but good things to say about the area, there are some REALLY nice bears to boot...
Go Griz :cool:

hoshour
03-20-2013, 09:35 PM
I've also heard good things about the area around Hungry Horse. There are mountains that run along both sides of the reservoir with quite a few roads.

Over the hills to the west is the Swan Valley which apparently has one of the highest bear densities in the state. I haven't been to the area but you can have a look on Google Earth.

hoshour
03-22-2013, 10:29 AM
I spent some time looking on Google Earth last night and I am afraid the Hungry Horse area has so many drivable roads that any bear hunter there will have an awful lot of company as hordes of lazy hunters drive up and down the roads. That's not for me.

Bitterroot Bulls
03-22-2013, 11:07 AM
I spent some time looking on Google Earth last night and I am afraid the Hungry Horse area has so many drivable roads that any bear hunter there will have an awful lot of company as hordes of lazy hunters drive up and down the roads. That's not for me.

hoshour,

Spring bear hunting isn't all that popular in MT, and there aren't "hordes" of bear hunters anywhere, in my experience.

There is also a LOT of backcountry in that area, if you are willing to hike it.

ivorytip
03-22-2013, 02:13 PM
yeah you wont find to many spring bear hunters in the rockies, snow generaly has most mountain rds closed well into the end of bear season anyways. the lower elivations get overlooked alot..... keep in mind.

hoshour
03-22-2013, 03:28 PM
I spent a couple days around Libby and Troy last fall looking for black bear. I only had a very short time, the weather was warm and the hucks were done, so I didn't see much in the way of bears, but I did run into several hunters cruising the roads, including the ones I was walking on.

I'm thinking of trying again for a week in mid-May and camping a mile or so off the road after I drive as high as I can. In that Hungry Horse area, it looks like you can't get much farther from a road than 2-3 miles anyway.

Bitterroot Bulls
03-22-2013, 04:10 PM
I spent a couple days around Libby and Troy last fall looking for black bear. I only had a very short time, the weather was warm and the hucks were done, so I didn't see much in the way of bears, but I did run into several hunters cruising the roads, including the ones I was walking on.

I'm thinking of trying again for a week in mid-May and camping a mile or so off the road after I drive as high as I can. In that Hungry Horse area, it looks like you can't get much farther from a road than 2-3 miles anyway.

Well, if you go to the head of the lake and head East you won't hit another road for 35 miles if you want. A lot of those roads are closed to vehicles also. In any case, good luck! Lots of bears around there.

ivorytip
03-22-2013, 06:17 PM
good luck! looking forward to some pics. i found some bear tracks along the creek where i plan on goin and im getting ammped!

AnthonyVR
03-22-2013, 07:00 PM
When I first started bear hunting I would hike in a couple miles before I even started to hunt. I would walk trails or closed roads and glass good looking country for twenty minutes then move on. It was always frustrating, I would get back from a hunt only to find that some "lazy" road hunters had been successful on the very road that I had driven in on...

I have since found that you are better off glassing a few key clearings and waiting for the bears to come to you than spending all of your time hiking. There are many places that produce a bear or two from the same 1 acre clearing year after year. While you won't find me anywhere near a road during elk season, I wouldn't think twice about hunting a roaded area for bear. They are not nearly as sensitive to human presence as deer or elk and in heavily forested areas they actually rely on them for food as they usually have the first green grass... Just passing along some knowledge that I had to learn the hard way.

Aught6Fan
03-22-2013, 07:40 PM
...I'm thinking of trying again for a week in mid-May ...

Ivorytip is right, depending on the snow this year lots of roads could still be closed in mid May. For Idaho, I'd recommend you come later if you can, late May first or second week of June maybe.

Depending on the size of the bear you'd like, don't overlook central Idaho. Shoot me a PM if you want to talk some specifics.

alaska2go
03-24-2013, 12:29 PM
come to Alaska !! In some areas we have a 3 bear limit and you can bait to boat ....To bait ya just have to be a 1/4 mile off the road & do a 3 hour class.

hoshour
03-24-2013, 03:48 PM
Thanks, guys. Since I am basically brand new to bear hunting, I really appreciate the advice.

I work for myself, so I can be flexible about when I go. I can keep tabs on how the roads are doing and time my trip that way. I just need to give my CO clients a week or so heads up to before I come out. That way I can visit them and write off the air fare to Denver.

MSUcat61
03-27-2013, 01:50 AM
Just to reiterate, just because there are roads on Google Earth, doesn't mean they'll be open, especially in May. Even Forest Service roads that will be open in the summer will most likely not be open in May. Not just because of snow, but the gate at the bottom will be closed.

hoshour
03-27-2013, 03:10 PM
I talked to the bear biologist and the local ranger station for the area I am planning to hunt. Both were helpful and glad to talk.

They said some of the roads are usually opened on May 15 and the others clear depending on the weather. They don't plow any but the main roads. Both thought the last week of May would normally give me a good shot at having some clear roads to walk and the bears still be active. Some higher roads don't open until July 1.

Since I can be flexible, I will check back with the ranger station to see how the roads look as it gets closer.