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Thread: Spring black bears spot and stalk?

  1. #1

    Default Spring black bears spot and stalk?

    I was looking to do a bit of hunting this spring and was thinking about a Black bear hunt. For me spot and stalk is much more exciting than hunting over bait so I was hoping to do some hunting above the tree line similar to a fall hunt with berries. Iíve heard from a lot of people that finding the first green south facing slopes is a good bet for a spring hunt. Iím also thinking that it might be easy to spot bears at a distance when they cross patches of snow on the mountain sides.

    My question is how would a spring hunt on the mountain sides compare to a fall hunt in terms of the number of bears I would see and the odds of success?

    Second, what is the best time of spring for a spot and stalk hunt? I did a bear hunt last September and it was probably the most fun Iíve ever had hunting. Iím hoping that a spring hunt will be similar. I was thinking of going the 3rd or 4th week of May, but I could probably go anytime in May or April.

    Howís the meat in spring? The fall bear was great eating. I almost finished it and I donít think I can wait till fall for more.

  2. #2
    Member akguy454's Avatar
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    where you live depends on what tactics work in that area. A little more info on experience and locale will help with future posts

  3. #3

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    I would probably hunt somewhere on the Kenai. I've hunted black bears both in Palmer creek and Resurrection creek areas. Hatchers pass looks kind of interesting looking at the topo maps, but I would have to look into the area more before I decided whether or not to hunt it. I usually backpack in so I have no problem camping a few miles from the road if it helps me to hunt more productive areas. I usually try to camp on a flat somewhat sheltered area around 3000-3500 feet so I can glass from camp during breakfast and dinner. During the day, I usually like to walk ridges and glass the sides. This is probably my favorite way to hunt and it worked well for caribou and fall bears. Would this be a productive strategy for spring bears?

    As for experience, I've done 2 caribou hunts and 2 black bear hunts in AK. I actually live in the Midwest, but I try to get up to Ak 3 or so times a year.

  4. #4
    Member akguy454's Avatar
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    I hunt the interior but if you are down south of the range a coastal hunt would be good. Hunt the low tide for clam diggers and fresh shoots. I would go the 3rd week in may down there. If you have access to a boat your chances go up. But I am no expert for blacks south of the range, perhaps some valley boys (or girls) can help you out with a little more info.

  5. #5
    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Spring black bears...

    WIsam,

    Within your first question-post you mentioned "above tree line", So I'll relate some of my experiences concerning my spring black bear hunts on the Kenai Peninsula. And these experiences have been compiled every other year, "odd numbered years" for the last 20+ years..."even numbered years" I'm on the Alaska Peninsula hunting/guiding for brown bears, usually...

    My prefered black bear hunts on the Kenai Peninsula start at about 1500 feet elevation. At that elevation, lakes are still iced over and even the south facing slopes are still mostly covered with snow through the last weekend in April. I have went out on many "last weekends in April" and never seen a bear, yet. But, I always see my first black bear on the first weekend in May. And during the first two weekends in May every bear spotted is without cubs, and has always been larger than average. I have been in on only four black bear kills during these first two weekends in May. These were all boars, squaring 6'9", 6'6", 6'4", and 6'3". Those, I believe, are really good size black bear boars for that location. All have been low on the mountain and they had only been out of hibernation for mere days, and each had fine, non-rubbed pelts. Again, on each of those kills, that was the only bear sighted. All were boars.

    On the third weekend in May lakes are ice-free and I will usually see four to seven bears but most, probably all but one, will be sows and cubs. And that solo bear might be a tiny solo bear. At this time the bears are often sighted up as high as 2500+ foot elevation as the grass starts growing higher and higher on the slopes. My friends and I have whacked a few of these solo mid May boars and the pelts appeared unrubbed.

    During that forth weekend in May I'll see seven to elevin bears. But again, most will be sows with cubs. Any single-solo bears may be tiny or mature. Also, by this time the bears might be anywhere on the slope, very low eating dandelions or very high on the newest shoots of grass. One boar we shot at this time was rubbed a tiny bit on the forehead and just above the tail. By this forth weekend in late May the lowland grass will be 18 inches high and the alder brush will be completely leafed out and thick.

    When June comes along I'm tired of chasing black bears with my buddies and it is time to start rafting, getting ready for summer rainbows.

    ...my experiences...hope it helps....

    Dennis

  6. #6
    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    Dennis has pretty much summed up what I would say about Kenai Peninsula blackies. One thing I would add is that the spring bears do not stay in one spot as long as the fall bears on berries do. Spring bears are quite tasty from my experience. Tough to beat one that has a butt stained blue from blue berries though.

    Another poster mentioned something about a boat and the coast. No bears to be found along the coast. Sorry to "bear" the bad news.
    Spending my kids' inheritance with them, one adventure at a time.

  7. #7
    Member Vince's Avatar
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    i Always head out end of April and start looking for tracks.. pretty soon bears start to find me... i have always been that way.. been called a bear magnet more then once...my experiences are much like Dennis says down that end of the world.. Up here.. memorial weekend seems to be the key to finding them.. though this year i am hoping different with the unusually warm winter so far.


    Spring time is the Rut for bears... Boar MOVE many miles a day to find a sow in heat or single to get her in... a Sow with SMALL cubs will also be a target for Large boars, he will kill the cubs to bring her back into heat. I does pay to watch them as they feed the day to see who is bedded near them on occasion...


    also... Always keep a rabbit call in your pocket.. a solo bear can be called out of some tough stuff for some dinner..
    "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

  8. #8

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    Thanks for the help. I'm thinking that based on what I'm hearing, I might try for the 2nd or 3rd week of May. How do you think the chances of shooting a bear on a grassy slope compare to a fall hunt over berries in terms of the chances of catching one?

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