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Thread: Introduction to Early spring BEAR spotting in snow Class 101

  1. #1

    Default Introduction to Early spring BEAR spotting in snow Class 101

    There are a few bears out now, some are either sunbathing on their front porch for a day or three. But most seem to just head downhill like drunken sailors. What to look for, this spring.......??? They don't linger on the open hillside, unless they find a dead moose, which is very unlikely as the moose will winter and die in the lower willows, lower meadows and creek bottoms.

    Look for two things shadow lines and birds. Looking for a bear just wandering on the hillside in the snow is a waste of binocular time, and is hard on your eyes if it is real sunny. In the snow covered hillside look for gray lines or white lines they are the same bear tracks or bear trench made by spring bears. They will appear as white or as gray depending on the light direction and/or the degree of overcast conditions.

    These bear tracks in the snow are often only visible at an exact light angle. That is to say that I can glass the mountain sides every hour and the bear tracks or bear trenches will appear and disappear throughout the day because of changing light conditions.

    I think it is important to not look for a bear on the snowy hillside, but to focus on looking for the tracks. Because if your looking real hard for tracks you will see a bear if one is in the open. But if you are looking for a bear you will likely miss the bear tracks.

    Birds (mostly jays, crows, ravens or eagles) are a clear sign of carrion (generally a dead moose or caribou) that the melting snow has exposed. Study this area with a quality spotting scope. When you get bored.......man'up and study the area with the birds more/longer/harder. Look for bear tracks coming to or leaving the carrion.

    As to the tracks or deep trenches for bears wallowing through deep snow, follow the track in both directions. Know that just because you can't see a bear on the carrion, does NOT mean there is no bear on the carrion. It is possible that a wolverine or wolf, and not a bear is what is disturbing the birds.

    Not relevant to snow, but as soon as I see a few bears out, and knowing that because of avalanche danger I am not going on the hillside this time of the year, I will spend my time looking for track on the beach and also under the powerline. I can learn a massive amount of bear population data from the spring bear tracks. I learn the ratio of black bears to brown bears in my area, I learn the ratio of sows with cubs, and sows with newborn, 16 month old, and 28 month old cubs. I can also follow the tracks in the mud or silt to bear bait stations. I can also study the hair on the utility poles used by the bears for rubbing as it get warmer. I measure the tracks of all the mature bears in my area to see who is new to the area, and who has gone missing.

    Good hunting to you.

  2. #2
    Member Antleridge's Avatar
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    Thanks for the lesson.

  3. #3
    Member Longbow6360's Avatar
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    Good post!

  4. #4

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    Excellent post good info please share more like this.

  5. #5
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    Thanks AGL4now!
    Vance in AK.

    Matthew 6:33
    "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."

  6. #6
    Member Steven_JR's Avatar
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    Great, thank you for the information! I'm hoping to hunt black bears up here for the first time this spring, so I'm trying to absorb as much info as possible before I head out.

  7. #7
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    Anybody see any bears this weekend? No bears for me while hunting Saturday but I did see a small black bear near Cooper Landing driving home.

  8. #8

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    I have not seen a bear or tracks since March 25'th when I seen a Black Bear in Turnagain Pass.

  9. #9
    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Went to a area I've always been able to watch sows with thier new cubs this weekend. They are already past that stage and moved on to the shoreline. Figure bears are at least two weeks ahead this year and we already have deer in town.
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

  10. #10
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    The wife saw a black bear last Thursday here in Wasilla when she was leaving for work. It crossed the road coming out of the backside of the neighborhood. I figure he was looking for trash cans where he came out from.

  11. #11
    Member Birdstrike's Avatar
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    I hunted the Seward Hwy south of Girdwood today. I walked into a couple of side valleys a mile or two and saw no bears and no sign. Nice hike with a rifle though.

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