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Thoughts on spring bear migration...

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  • Thoughts on spring bear migration...

    Ok, I'm on the yukon with hills/flats behind me..a.cross the river are the mountains where most old timers say they hole up for the winter...the trail was not busted this year, (i just found it in late march with 6 ft of snow in the trees, no way), I had to wait til we could boat or drive the truck....

    I did not see ONE bear track on teh river or on our 40 mile poorman road til 1 week ago....I drove it for 3 days a week....spotted....etc, nothing...not one track on our mountain river in front of us....

    the old timers say they are in the flats after they get out of hibernation...others say that they are just this late coming out of hibernation...heck, it's been over 20 degrees for over a month...we've been having 30 -60 for a while now...

    but, just last week, all in one night, I found 5 scat piles with grass and cranberries in it, covering 40 miles of road...i just had been out the day before, NOT, all the sudden, there are bears in town, out 40 miles and they all converged on the road in one day...

    are black bears normally out before this? they hit the flats at first? we did have deep snow, but it has been gone for almost 4 weeks.....

    will blacks hole up in the mountains across from us, or in the hills behind us? we have griz's also...

    lastly, heck, the mountain river we have infront of our village goes into the mountains where supposedly the blacks's and griz's hibernate in, BUT, i did not find one bear/track til yesterday and that was a small one...spotted til 3am in what is called 'bear alley' and nothing....the water is high, but there are some beaches.....

    I'm in Ruby, if you know where it is...

    thoughts? other than, BUST the trail to the mountains!....
    Scotty in the AK bush

  • #2
    your scat pile should tell you what you need to know, they've been somewhere with no snow eating winterovered bears will den all over the place, even on the flats, i've gotten information from old timers that a biologist will just look confused over, so take it all with a grain of salt. if you get into the pattern of thinking you know what suppose to happen with bears you'll always be baffled.
    time wise it does seem a bit late, but it will vary each year. find your scat check whats in it and figure out whats on the menu, boars will be starting to just cover ground looking for sows, and even if you they aren't in a berry patch but have been there..the boar will show up there at some point. just keep looking and keep and open mind!
    Master guide 212


    • #3
      Cranberrys generally grow well in lowlands.

      Them being the last berry to ripen ('round here) and get picked, they are also what we pick in quantity from low Tundra as the snow receeds in spring to spice up pancakes and tea while in camp........I bet them Bears could use the vitamin C.
      If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.:topjob:

      "Dam it all", The Beaver told me.....


      • #4
        I just spent the last five days,one 48 hour stretch watching a brown bear still using its den.Its up about 3,000' and pockets of snow all around it. The den is in a snow patch about the size of a football field and the bear while I was watching never got more than a hundred feet or so from the snow. The bear looks good through the spotting scope and in no way skinny or sick looking. Ten miles away along a logging road the blackies are eating every new spruce bud they find in the low scrub along the road and all looked fat with nice coats yet.Funny as far south as Wrangell on June third a brown was still at the den. The night temp at 1,500' was 30's at night and mid 40 to low 50 daytime. Also the deer are just now starting to fawn and the bucks have nice antlers in velvet. The martin are fat and active and will have no worry of my steel where I found them unless the feds give me a real nice piece of land to live on and stay the winter
        Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you


        • #5
          i'd be interested to know if that bear at the den has fresh cubs, sometimes they won't leave the hole because the cubs are to young. if a sow breeds late her cubs will be to little to come out with everyone else. i talked with a bio when i was doing one of my arcticles and me mentioned seeing brown bears breed in oct. if cubs are killed she'll be ready to breed later on, resulting in really really tiny cubs in may so they'll just hang out and let them grow before bringing them out.

          Master guide 212


          • #6
            Season ended the 31st for me but I will keep watching for cubs at the den.There are loggers working a couple schutes over from her but at around 1,500 to 2,000' below
            Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you


            • #7
              i'm personally starting to doubt any "normalcy" in spring bear behavior...just when you think you've got em figured out in a particular stretch of country, they'll have an off winter, off fall, wierd summer, low fish numbers, low berry crop etc.etc.etc...and it will show in the spring movement every time. theres are some basic rules to remember about spring bear hunting, but most importantly a hunter should just realize his success is greatly influenced by not only the number of bears that are out of there dens, but the movement of these bears, whether it be for food or breeding activity. i've seen dens pop from early april to last five days of may...havent hunted much past that, but i'm sure there've been bears pop in june as well, just depending on the snow pac, winter, and spring weather. i do know for a fact that i see MANY more late dens hold sows and cubs than boars with a few exceptions. my boss and i tend to think the sows with cubs in our country den higher on average than boars and can come out at any time, where it seems far less common to see a shooter boar come out of his hole on a late may hunt...though its happened. bears do what they matter what we think we know about em, be it hunter or bio. i'm with jake in that haveing learned and gleaned lots of my information and experience from seasoned hunters/guides coupled with my personal experience, (and not just books and the discovery channel) experiences differ greatly, and much can be gleaned from both resources....i think bears remain an animal that is extremely adaptable to his immediate habitat, and the differences in his behavior will vary just as greatly as does the country he lives in. theres some basic guidelines and things to consider when hunting any species, but gimme a guy that thinks he knows everything about a brown bear, and i'll bet you theres an old boar (or any bear for that matter) out there that will make him scratch his head and wonder how much we really got figured out about em. its just one of the many reasons that i'm not the only one in the hunting world that see's them as our continents gamest animal... best way i know to learn about bears in any given habitat is to be out there looking at them when they do there thing. a guy can read as much as he wants, he can talk to as many hunters as he has time for...but observation has taught me more than anything, as i know it has most hunters. the techniques used in one area wouldnt have much possitive effect in others and vice gotta hunt bears where they are...and where they are, when they come out, what theyre feeding on, when breeding activity starts, and where theyre heading to eventually varies so much from area to area it's hard to put anything definite on paper...go hunting alot, learn from what your seeing out there, and continue to try and glean information form whatever resource available is my advise. if you hunt a general area yearly around the same time frame, start taking field notes of activity, male vs female, size of bears, dates avctivity starts, times of day...etc. lots of info that takes a short time to jot down will start to correlate (or more commonly just confuse you more ) with what you've seen in years past....either way its fun, and i think a hunter who looks at indivdual animal sightings and how they relate in context to the big picture (the hunt) will learn much more about his area and his quarry than otherwise...

              just a few cents from my corner...


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