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Thread: PWS Spring Bear

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    Member patrickL's Avatar
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    Default PWS Spring Bear

    So thought I would change the subject away from the draw. My dad and I didn't do any good so we've decided to drown our sorrows with a spring bear hunt in PWS. I've never bear hunted but I think I've got a fairly good idea where to go and what to look for. My question, is there anything special about black bear hunting. We are experienced big game hunters, deer, elk, caribou, etc. but never bear. Any special tactics? Also, I've heard mixed reviews about bear meet and what to do with a bear. Is the meat at least decent to eat? Any advice you can give us would be great.

    Hope this helps to distract you guys from the draw.

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    Black bear is good stuff unless it has been into fish or garbage. Spring bears are sweet tasting. I posted my opinion on black bears this fall. If a little bear and a big bear were standing close to each other, which one would you shoot? I would probably shoot the little bear, they taste much better and are not as tough to eat (or kill). Unless of course it was a REALLY little bear or a REALLY big bear. See you out there in PWS this spring. We are trying to learn the black bear thing out there too so no help on tactics.

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    I hunt PWS each spring, I find the meat delicious. Glass the tidal flats and avalanche chutes, they will eating the green grass as it first starts to grow.

    Porterhouse Steaks and Bear Backstrap.






    Good Luck

    Steve
    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"
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    Lots and lots of glassing. Take your time and keep looking. Steve's got the spots right on. Although its been a couple years, I use o go all th etime and enjoyed it. Spot and stalk is the tactic out there.

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    Member Grizzly Man's Avatar
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    I just posted a thread about baiting PWS. So I'll ask you guys.....is it worth it to bait or is there enough spot and stalk oppurtunities. Either way, it's something to do while the shrimp pots are filling up.

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    You should see plenty of bears to keep you busy with spot and stalk. I have baited there as well with great results and usually take inexperienced or physically limited hunters to the bait stand as they aren't as able to traverses the slick rocks, creeks and mud on the tidal flats or unable to climb the chutes. The other issue is the tide can get you quick, by either leaving you high and dry or trapping you with high water. Keep a tide book in your pocket or pay the price, don't ask me how I learned that!!! LOL If you do decide to bait, "DON'T GET ANY ON YOUR DINGY" the bears will make it a chew toy!!!






    Be Safe

    Steve
    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"
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    Man I'm glad I'm not the only o ne to have done that. I had anchored the boat off shore but one of the other hunters brought it in to get something and then didn't push it back out. High and dry!
    You can bait and it can be great but usually will take a little time. There are plenty of spot and stalk oppurtunities but not as many as before the tunnel opened. Back then it was not unusual to see 30 to 40 bears in a long week end.

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    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
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    When hunting Kenai Peninsula mountain black bears that are "inland", I get serious and successful in very early May. My friends with extensive PWS experience get serious and successful in late May/early June. This sounds strange because those PWS bears are lower in elevation than my mountain bears, so I would expect them out a week sooner.
    Don't have to much fun shrimping and fishing on the boat. Get off the boat and hunt up into the little bays and inlets where the grass has began to green-up.

    dennis

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    Member patrickL's Avatar
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    Thanks folks for all the advice. I'm pretty sure I've got the technique figured out and even a few spots where I've seen bears the last few years. I guess I was mainly thinking about edibility and so far I've heard it can be a bit tougher but good. Is this true? Also, what about trichinosis? I've heard about this but don't know anything about it. Folks have just warned me to make sure we cook the meat fully and we shouldn't have a problem. Also, I'm very interested in having a nice bear skin. Is spring bear good a time for the coat or is that mainly fall bear? Any places I can get info on how to skin out a bear? I rarely keep the skin on the game I typically hunt.

    Thanks folks for all the info and help.

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    Griz,
    No need to attempt to bait in PWS. To much work. Not a positive time investment. Not necessary unles you have limited mobility, no walking or climbing abilitys. Hunters with legs and some lung will have ZERO problems finding spot&stalk opportunities, every day with good visibility.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskaTrueAdventure View Post
    When hunting Kenai Peninsula mountain black bears that are "inland", I get serious and successful in very early May. My friends with extensive PWS experience get serious and successful in late May/early June. This sounds strange because those PWS bears are lower in elevation than my mountain bears, so I would expect them out a week sooner.
    It does seem counterintuitive that the PWS bears would come out later, but it's worth noting that PWS often gets well over 1,000" of snow in a winter. There will be feet of snow down to the tidewater well into June in spots. Though warmer than the mountainous areas, that snow covers their food, thus the bears don't have much motivation to get up and forage. I've seen a bear cruising the beach out there as early as May 1st, but that is the rare exception, not the rule.

  12. #12
    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    Spring Bear hunting on PWS is special. Fish at high tide and hunt bears at low. Generally at low tide bears will come out and scavage the shore line. They will walk the shore line. So you can get infront of them and let them come to you or put a stalk on. One thing i have noticed is loggs. Bears I have seen did not go under the logs but up and around. Reason I say this is, several times I had a good stalk going and they went up around the log but decided not to come back onto shore.

    Bears are quite. I can not believe how they can sneak up on you and you won't hear a twig snap..
    Also There fat can plug a bullet or arrow hole making tracking hard. Plus there fur soaks up allot of blood. Not saying you won't see a blood trail.

    Weather.. Plan on it being wet making tracking hard to down right frustrating following a blood trail and it's disappearing from you cause of the rain...

    Time? Depends on the snow and how Spring is. you hear bears start to be taken 2 week of may....
    I generally go 3 week of may to first week of June... I go when I can... Rather have a bow in my hand instead of a paint brush or a lawn mower.
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  13. #13
    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    The meat is very good tasting in my opinion but like has been mentioned make sure you cook it thoroughly due to bears carrying trichinosis.

    The hides in spring can be way better than fall bers but you need to look your bear over well before shooting to make sure it does not have rubbed spots. In the spring the hair is generally longer and a bit thicker till they start to wear it off.

    If you stop by Knights taxidermy they produce a pocket size laminated booklet on skinning bears. Also the fish and game regs have a diagram on how to make the opening cuts.

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    Member patrickL's Avatar
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    Thanks guys for all the advice. I think I've moved on from my bad luck on the draw and am getting excited about a spring bear. Hope to see a few of you out there.

  15. #15
    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    With your big boat you should have no problem finding them. I am limited in range in my zodiac and I had a hard time finding bears in PWS last year (it was my first year doing it). I found one and got anxious and got behind him and he winded me...GONE.

    I hunted moose in the valley last fall and on our last morning a nice very fat bear walked across the opening in front of camp about 350 yards away. He only lasted about 2 seconds after I saw him. He had been visiting our camp at 4am each morning - but this morning I saw him at 9am.

    There were silvers still running in the river I was on. The bear had no smell to him while skinning. The meat had no smell to it. I took the straps and the hind quarters and his fur was great. When I got the meat home - still no smell. He had literally 4 inches of fat on his rump. The whole carcass was covered in fat.

    I made 2 roasts (one of which I will cure) and the rest went to bear sticks, sweet hot italian sausage, bear cheesey jalepeno brats, bear cheese brats, summer sausage, polish sausage, and the trimmings (tossed the fat) I ground and feed to my lab 1/2 & 1/2 with her dog food (I cook it first).

    That bear was the least "gamey" smelling wild animal that I have ever butchered (and I have done a few). He was a fall black bear. A fairly big one. Squared 6 foot 10 inches. His skull was 19 - 4/16. I wish that I had kept the front quarters also. Very good eating.

  16. #16

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    PWS spring bear hunt is always the highlight of my year. We do well out there every year and I realy enjoy taking friens of family members out that want to but have not had a chance to take a black bear. The meat is great I will usualy just make it all into sausage because you do have to cook it well done and I think thats the worst thing a person can do to a good steak!

    One thing we also do is make sure you bring rubber gloves for use while field dressing incase you have any open cuts or sores on your hands and bring a bottle of peroxcide to wash any cuts that may happen durring dressing because you can get trichinosis this way as well.

    Good luck out there and don't forget the shrimp pots!

  17. #17
    Member Mort's Avatar
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    Russ Knight teaches a 2-hour bear skinning class at the Sportsman's Show every year. Great opportunity to see slides, talk to a taxidermist, and ask all your questions. He talks about where to make cuts, what knives to use, salting, whether to remove knuckles, turn ears, split lips, etc. I recommend it, even my wife (fiance at the time) walked out of the class saying "I could do that, I wanna go kill a bear." Score!

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    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    I recommend gloves as well, they have saved me more than a few cuts. Even a small nick can allow for infection. I'm not sure you can get trichinosis from skinning, However you can get a condition also known as "seal finger" and a few on the forum have had it. Very nasty stuff so be careful. I find a roofing blade in a utility knife to be awesome for making the long cuts. Be careful when making your long cuts to avoid the "ghetto booty look" that happens when you cut the back legs too far forward. It will make your rug look like it has a big booty. Try to avoid leaving your kill unattended as the eagles will strip a carcass in no time.

    Make sure to leave proof of sex on the hide.

    Havlon and Cutco knives make the skinning a breeze.





    Good Luck

    Steve
    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"
    Founding Member
    http://www.residenthuntersofalaska.org/

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    Member patrickL's Avatar
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    Wow Steve, another great idea. I'm going to have to drop by Lowes and pick one up.

    Thanks Bullelkkr, JakeAK49 and Mort for the advice and excitement. I've forgotten all about the draw now and I'm stoked to get out bear hunting. Can't wait for spring to get here. Awesome source of info here so thanks again to everyone time.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by stid2677 View Post
    I recommend gloves as well, they have saved me more than a few cuts. Even a small nick can allow for infection. I'm not sure you can get trichinosis from skinning, However you can get a condition also known as "seal finger" and a few on the forum have had it. Very nasty stuff so be careful. I find a roofing blade in a utility knife to be awesome for making the long cuts. Be careful when making your long cuts to avoid the "ghetto booty look" that happens when you cut the back legs too far forward. It will make your rug look like it has a big booty. Try to avoid leaving your kill unattended as the eagles will strip a carcass in no time.

    Make sure to leave proof of sex on the hide.

    Havlon and Cutco knives make the skinning a breeze.





    Good Luck

    Steve
    Looks like you are right Steve I was told you could get trichinosis from blood contact in an open cut but looks like its only from ingesting undercooked meat. I will stick with the gloves though seal finger don't sound too plesant. Thanks for the info

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