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Thread: Scouting for Fall black bears, what kind of berries are best?

  1. #1

    Default Scouting for Fall black bears, what kind of berries are best?

    Haven not grown up in Alaska and being pretty new to hunting there I pretty much have been figuring things out by trial and error. I'm wanting to do a fall Black bear hunt. I'd like to try some spot and stalk over berry patches, but have never hunted ball bears yet.

    My understanding is that just above the treeline is the ideal place for this. Is this correct? If that's the case, I should have the best luck between 2500 and 3000 feet if I was hunting the Kenai area. Am I way off here?

    Also, anyone have any pictures of the type of plants I'm looking for? I did a hike in the Summit creek area in July and saw lots of plants that looked like they might have berries in the fall, but It was too early for berries. Some pictures of what I'm looking for when scouting in the spring and early summer would be real helpful. Pictures in the fall would help too. The only berries I saw in July were the little ones on that grew on the tundra (I think their called moss berries). They didn't look like something bears would find particulairily apealing.

  2. #2

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    I did my first black bear hunt on the KP this fall after moose season. Right when we got to the location there I spotted 5 seperate black bears across the hillside as soon as I started glassing after I put the truck in park. All about 3/4 mile apart. All just above brushline. There were probably way more than that and just couldn't see them due to the brush. Once we got up there it looked like the berry of choice they were chowing down on was blueberries, but I doubt they are too picky in getting ready for winter, most berries would probably do. Tons of bears on the KP. Where we were the hunt is pretty easy once you get through the brush. Just plan on being miserable during the 2 hour uphill hike through the devil's club and alders, but once your above the brush line its all worth it.

    Good luck man

  3. #3

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    Thanks!! Out of curiosity what elevation were they at? How far from the tree line did they venture? What was the approx date?

  4. #4

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    Just looking at the Google Earth machine most of the bears we spotted for around 2700'. That is just above brush line in that area. Personally, I'd be more concerned with getting above brushline and treeline however. Even the smallest of alders have an amazing ability to conceal with 60+" moose let alone a 6' black bear.

    So I'd try to spot for general area where you see the bears at. Hump it up the hill for a couple hours and sit and wait for the bears to come back out and feed once you get above brushline. Then when you spot a bear then you can begin your stock. Not saying that is the only way to do it. Its just what worked for me. The date was between Sept. 25-30th.

  5. #5
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    You will be between 2500-3500 feet. You can spot them from below and hike up but it can be extremely tough to get up in a day even with an early start. If you are looking
    for a trophy then that may still be your best bet since you can pick your bear. We got our fall bear by hiking the ridges in the 2500-3500 range. We camped above tree line
    and stalked 2 bears in 3 days of hunting, we missed the first (larger) bear due to a rifle that lost zero. The second bear we connected on. Both were stalked from above and
    neither pulled it's head out of the berries enough to notice us and we were very close. The first one was missed at 65 yds and the second was killed at under 30! The berries
    that they were eating were both blue and crow/

    Crow berries are generally 8" or less high and look like...


    Blueberries usually under 2' tall and come in low bush or high bush varieties

    Low bush


    High bush


    This last pic is just for incentive <grin>


    The crow and low bush blueberries will frequently be intermingled and don't stand out that much at a distance but the high bush blueberries will have flame red leaves in the fall
    and stand out pretty good.
    Have fun
    Last edited by LuJon; 12-12-2008 at 00:24.

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    Member Bearclaw67's Avatar
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    Lujon thanks for that info, this newbie will benefit from your knowledge.
    Paul

  7. #7

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    Thanks, that's exactly what I was looking for!

    Anyone ever had much luck with this strategy early in the spring (say late may early june) hunting over what's left of last year's berries or is there pretty much nothing left by then?

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    one other point on the red leaves... that if you get in to the tall stuff and brush around you... THOSE RED leaves can make a blood trail difficult to follow in gray light.. it blends in REALLY well. so make sure you watch closely where your bear is at and runs too.
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    WIsam - Generally in early spring they're eating the first green shoots they can find - grass and other small leafy plants. Once the ridges clear enough to expose the berries they might key in on last year's leftovers, but generally small patches of grass are a better place to focus your efforts.

  10. #10

    Default Suggestion

    My suggestion would be to get to the top of a range of mountains where you can run the ridges. There are multiple areas on the Kenai where you can do this. Late in the fall if you are up there, the bears will be right near the top and you will be able to make a stalk down on them.





    "Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything."

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vince View Post
    one other point on the red leaves... that if you get in to the tall stuff and brush around you... THOSE RED leaves can make a blood trail difficult to follow in gray light.. it blends in REALLY well. so make sure you watch closely where your bear is at and runs too.
    Excelent point vince! That is one reason there is a 45/70 in the pic I posted next to the bear. We have had no problems stalking bears up high and getting very close, so I don't see a need for a lightweight flat shooting rifle. I prefer something that hits em like a bus so I don't have to follow a blood trail.
    The other reason is blackies aren't the only bears in the berries!

  12. #12

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    Blackfoot, those pictures are exactly what I'm looking for. The more pictures I can get of bears feeding on ridges, the more I'll know what to look for when scouting. The second two seemed to venture quite a bit farther from the treeline then I thought!

    I did a lot of hiking up above the treeline on the Kenai with the intention of hunting in the fall. Never happened though. After looking at those pictures it looks like I'm on the right track though! Keep them coming.

  13. #13

    Default Bears

    Most of the bears I saw on that trip were just below the peaks, well above tree line. I saw a dozen bears that trip. It was October 1st.
    "Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything."

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I have posted this picture several times on here but it applies here as well. We were sitting at the tent when the bear came into view. We got it about 80 yards to the right of ehrtr the tent is in this pic.



    Shortly after this picture was take a bear started working it's way up out of the thick stuff. we were able to move down and intercept it above the yellow patch of scrub alders on the right side of the pic. My camera died before I could get a pic of it though. In the fall the jet black bears stand out very well!

  15. #15
    Member Stogey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LuJon View Post
    You will be between 2500-3500 feet.
    You can spot them from below and hike up but it can be extremely tough to get up in a day even with an early start.
    If you are looking for a trophy then that may still be your best bet since you can pick your bear.
    We got our fall bear by hiking the ridges in the 2500-3500 range.

    Crow berries are generally 8" or less high and look like...

    Blueberries usually under 2' tall and come in low bush or high bush varieties

    The crow and low bush blueberries will frequently be intermingled and don't stand out that much at a distance but the high bush blueberries will have flame red leaves in the fall and stand out pretty good.
    Lujon - lots of good info... you ought to update the Bear Hunting wiki - there's no info posted on it, except for baiting:

    http://wiki.outdoorsdirectory.com/wi...k_bear_hunting

    I'd give you a rep point, but I must spread the wealth elsewhere!

  16. #16

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    Think sheep hunting for late fall black bears!!!!
    "Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything."

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WIsam View Post
    Blackfoot, those pictures are exactly what I'm looking for. The more pictures I can get of bears feeding on ridges, the more I'll know what to look for when scouting. The second two seemed to venture quite a bit farther from the treeline then I thought!

    I did a lot of hiking up above the treeline on the Kenai with the intention of hunting in the fall. Never happened though. After looking at those pictures it looks like I'm on the right track though! Keep them coming.
    when your glassing you will be looking for Black... NOT a bear.. i Don't know how many i have spotted and only seen an ear or the rump in the brush... they are in no hurry and usually eating..


    see the Bear? I'll post the next set.. too... he only moved out because i was there...
    Last edited by Vince; 06-28-2009 at 18:46.
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

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  18. #18
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackfoot View Post


    Think sheep hunting for late fall black bears!!!!
    We were sheep hunting when we scored the bb in my earlier post.

  19. #19
    Member Vince's Avatar
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    here are 2 more.. after he came out of the brush..
    Last edited by Vince; 06-28-2009 at 18:45.
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

    meet on face book here

  20. #20

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    Cool, I'm assuming the low reddish brush are blueberries?

    Also, when we were hiking last spring, we saw lots of reddish stains in the snow around the 3000 foot point (not blood) Is that caused by some kind of berry?

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