What Are The Basic Tips For Bear Hunting?

Spring bear hunting is a chance to dust off the hunting boots and enjoy some spring weather in the woods at a time of year when other major game seasons are all closed.

Sam Dodenhoff, a wildlife biologist with the Department of Fish and Game in Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge, enjoys bear hunting for all the usual reasons because bears are tough prey and clever – and he likes beating at their own game. This makes Sam a seasoned bear hunter, and here are some pointers to assist you in becoming a successful bear hunter as well.

The Basic Tips For Bear Hunting

bear hunting

For The Start Of The Season, Pay Attention To The Weather Conditions Rather Than The Calendar

Yes, the legal spring bear season begins on April 1, but that does not imply that the animals are necessarily out and about. In fact, when more bears emerge from their lairs later in the season, this is when the best hunting is.

When the weather is warm and bright enough for grasses to grow, bears will emerge from their dens. This makes the early portion of the season extremely predictable; bears will be concerned with newly emerged grasses in open areas such as clearcuts and meadows. Green up will start at lower elevations and work its way up throughout the year.

Find Mature Timber

To enter the big bears, you must find three components, according to Werner. First and foremost, old-growth timber for denning; secondly, food and water. Locate 10 to 50-acre parcels with these three characteristics.

Keep The Afternoon Free For Lunch And Rest.

Bears will be most active during the first and last hour of daylight, whether you’re scouting before the season or hunting during it. They’ll seek refuge in the shade and concealment for the rest of the day. Bears are most active at dawn and dusk, although they may be spotted at any time of day. If humans approach, they will become frightened and retreat to concealment.

It’s all too easy for novice bear hunters to become discouraged and believe they’re doing something wrong, when they may simply be hunting at the most difficult time of day.

Scout It For Sign

Look for broken branches on trees, claw marks in the bark, and scratched-out bark strewn with bear hair. Ideally, you’ll see fresh footprints that are 6 inches or wider in diameter on the ground.

Begin The Season With Some Early Or Pre-Season Scouting.

Warm, south-facing slopes should start to green up first as the snow begins to melt and the grass grows in clear cuts and meadows. The slopes will grow warmer with time, so watch for that.

Locate some bear-friendly spring terrain. Start by looking for potential den sites near open clear-cuts and meadows (rocky outcroppings are popular with bears). When bears first emerge, they will immediately begin seeking food. Set up a vantage point where you may scan a few promising areas and settle into the glass.

bear hunting

Trust Your Eyes

Bears that are fed heavily will eat for a third of the day and sleep the remainder, according to Werner. The bears you watched through your binoculars will be revealed.

Begin Walking Later In The Season

As the season continues, bears will depart open meadows for new food sources as more food becomes available. Some hunters move from glassing open meadows to hiking isolated forest roads with good grass growth on the boundaries. Look for desolation logging and skid tracks devoid of motorized vehicle use.

Listen For Calf And Fawn Distress Calls

As bears shift from open meadows to forest cover, they become more difficult to detect. Calling attracts the bears to you. Bears are responsive to distress calls when deer and elk fawning seasons begin. Locate an area with lots of deer and elk, then settle in a spot where you can see a bear approaching.

When hunting predators, some hunters prefer digital calls since they are more effective than traditional mouth sounds. A bear’s attention will be diverted away from you to the source of the call if you set up a digital call some distance away.

Note The Wind

Unlike other canines, bears have a poor sense of smell but a fantastic nose. Their noses are 50 times better than those of bloodhounds, according to Werner. “There is no way to defeat their nose, let alone improve it. The wind must be just right.”

Remember, It Is Illegal To Capture Bears Less Than A Year Old, Including Sows With Cubs Under A Year Old, So Take Precautions

It is simpler in the early part of the season when most of the bears will be boars. After that, if you’re not sure whether or not a boar is a sow, watch the bear for long enough to be certain there aren’t any cubs nearby. Cubs are active and will soon expose themselves.

Bears feeding higher up in the mountains may stay even longer (up to an hour) since any cubs might be concealed among the trees.

Take Extra Caution When Dressing Your Bear

Bear meat can be prepared and served as table food, but only if you handle it correctly after harvest. You’ll want to skin and chill the animal as soon as possible, just like with other big games. However, unlike deer and elk, which don’t have as much fat content as a bear, you should remove all of the fat you can from it.

Bear fat is thick and retains a lot of heat, which can cause other meat in the field to become spoilt. If you’ve ever had a greasy or rancid bear, it’s because the animal wasn’t monitored properly while in the woods.

Start The Stalk

Werner and his clients take the wind and approach the bear from behind. “Stop and wait if the bear alerts in your direction,” says Werner. Only advance when the bear goes back to feeding and appears peaceful.

Make A Clean Kill

After that, you’ve got to take a chance. “No more than a double-lung hit is required in order for recovery to be a toss of the coin,” Werner warns. “Guys get really amped up while hunting big predators, so it’s important to practice enough so that the shot is second nature. But there’s nothing better once everything comes together.”

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