"What's with all the sheila's?" My new friend and client remarked in his ultra-dry Aussie accent i'd grown to like so much... I shook my head in mutual disgust and simply told him i had no idea why we'd seen seventeen brown bear in the last eight days and only one was a boar. "The Nursery" phenomenon...i'd heard about this, but hadnt quite had the opportunity to observe it yet...
i'd been told (by more experienced bear guides) in the past to watch for places with high sow content, and to avoid them in the early fall while hunting for mature males. the observation being explained with the thought that early in the fall while the boars and more aggressive bears target the obvious protein rich fish food source, the lesser bears, and females with young will tend to group up on outlying food, like berries...the lesser bears and sows with young not wanting to compete or not being mature enough to compete for the fish.
the above mentioned hunt was a very good example of this...and it really stuck out in my mind. what was interesting to me was the fact that i had hunted this exact drainage a full twenty days later the seaon prior, and had been able to count over eight boars in ten days, most of which were mature. i only observed a small handfull of sows...three or four if my memory serves me. this very same country a year later and nearly a month earlier produced 20 different bear in nine days...two of which where boars. thats not coincidence. it was neat to observe and learn from. i'd always heard of "nurseries" but had never observed what i thought was a good example of this until last year. says alot about bears and theyre social structure, and the different hunting the same area can provide at different times: if you ask me on day eight with the australian if i thought we were in a good spot i'd proly mumble something about women and kids, and TOYS R US and frown at you...lol. but if you'd have ask me in 2010, i'd tell ya it was the best camp i'd hunted all year...cause it was.
it was interesting to me, and reafirmed some opinions i was allready forming about our seasonal bear movement in that particular country...which is changing by the way.
i found the australian a bear though...that second boar i mentioned. i had to hunt about four miles from camp, but we found one.
two sows i found during this hunt had me fooled to the point i insisted on getting close enough to watch them urinate before i could confidently judge them. some bears are tough to judge. older sows really get me. i would have put both of them at right around eight foot, but sexing them was hard. some are. i couldnt tell my client for sure theyre sex until i got to within sixty yrds or so. i look at alot of things to judge bears, but verify it to myself with a fairly common headlength technique...a technique that doesnt work unless you know the sex. this because of the obvious difference in headlength between males and females.
anyway, was thinking about this all lately and though it'd be a good thread topic...i'd like to know if anyone else has obversed a "nursery"