Black Bear Opportunities

By Jeff Warren, March 2013

Jeff Warren's Take:

he 2013 spring hunts are almost here! Personally it has been a long, cold winter, and I am ready to chase Black bears and turkey, but turkey will be a subject for another day. It looks like I will be doing a bear hunt in Montana this year because tags are easy to come by and bear numbers are good. Giant bears are fairly rare in Montana, but mature bears are plentiful, and I am ready to hang a critter on the meat pole! Robert has been painting me a pretty compelling picture of Montana’s bear hunting, so I am all in about 40 days from now.

I baited a giant bear in Utah a few years ago and had a great time getting ready for and doing the hunt. He gave me the slip, and my tag went unused, but I had a great time figuring out bait sites, physically working hard, which helped burn off some winter fat, and being in the high country during the spring melt. I had a number of different bears destroy my bait site while I watched, but I had glimpsed the giant and it was him or nothing. However nothing is what I ended up with!

I do most hunts on my own, but we have a number of outfitters in different states that can help you pursue Black bears. Call us and we can hook you up! If you are ready to get off the couch and start your 2013 hunting season, read on!

Robert Hanneman's Take:

Since moving to Montana in 1999 I have not missed a bear season. Some guys here at the office absolutely love to hunt turkey. I personally cannot understand why someone would want to hunt turkeys over bears, so if you are calling The Huntin’ Fool with turkey questions I am not the guy to talk to. I have been lucky enough to hunt bears in most of the western states, but Montana and Idaho are my favorite. In western Montana the middle of May is the best time to catch bears in slides, eating the first green up of the year. I usually will hike in or ride a bike down closed logging roads, glassing all the likely bear areas. Western Montana has a lot of public land and is a great place for a self-guided hunter to have a great hunt. Montana does not allow baiting or the use of hounds. I believe this is why we harvest older age class bears.

I started baiting bears in Idaho 8 years ago and found it to be a lot of work but very enjoyable. Baiting and checking the trail cameras reminds me of running a trap line in high school. It is always exciting to see how destroyed our bait is and what is on the camera. Baiting bears became a family affair for us. Our boys would help with baiting and loved being in the woods. My wife has had a great time in Idaho and has harvested a bunch of bears over the years. In all those years of baiting we learned what works and what does not. Check out the bear baiting tips and tactics for our baiting strategy.

This year I plan on hunting bears in Montana and Idaho. I do have a master spring bear hunting plan in the works. My plan is to hunt east to west and harvest five bears in one spring. I will start with one in Wyoming, one in Montana, two in Idaho, and finish with one in Oregon. It is always good to dream big! Good luck to all who are chasing bears this year!