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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was fortunate enough to actually draw a Black Bear fall spot and stalk tag this year. I have never hunted black bear and I am trying to gather information. I am not asking for any specific spots or lovations but general information that might be helpful in order to be successful?

From what i have read Sounds like they mostly hang around the oak brush. I am curious if anyone has had this same tag before how many bears they saw in a day, how close they were able to get to them, any pictures of previous successes would be great to see as well! Thank you in advance for any help!
 

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Congrats on the tag.

A few years back I brought my hounds and assisted a hunter on a fall La Sal bear hunt. It was a year that had a poor acorn crop on the unit as a whole but there was one 5 acre patch kinda on the north end of the range that was loaded. I remember sending in the dogs and watching 7 different bear come boiling out. Each hound pretty well had it's own bear to chase and wasn't long before we had dogs and bear scattered all over the mountain side. In all my years hunting several different units in several different states I have never seen so many bear concentrated in so small an area. It was an unforgettable experience. You'll have fun on your hunt.
 

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On a normal day elk hunting September/October on the north end of that unit near Pine Ridge and beaver basin I'll usually see 2-4 bears. On a 3-4 day hunt ten bears is not unusual--and that's without trying to find them
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Very helpful!

These comments have been very helpful so far! Do you recall what time of day you seem to run into them the most?
 

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Morning noon and night, seriously. But they are a bit easier to find first and last light same as most animals. Lots of small bears, lots of color phase bears, and the occasional brute. Some of the most unique colored bears I've ever seen have been on that unit. Some awesome chocolates with blonde or red leggings. One that I swear looked like a Holstein--I thought it was a calf until it started running. Others have have blonde spectacles/masks on chocolate/black/cinnamon coats. It surprises me when I see a black colored bear in that mountain as the color phased seem so much more prevalent
 

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Oh, and if you can find an elk gut pile, sit on it if you're having trouble finding bears. Every elk we shoot will have a bear on it the next day. I know one of the CWMUs on the unit the DWR has been doing a lot of studies on bears, with their hair and scat analyses showing more than 100 different bears using that one property in 1 month! If you're not familiar with the area, try to go camping (but seriously, be bear safe) and get familiar with the terrain. You'll probably see bears/sign. Cruise the roads early morning and evenings the bears move around a lot from summer to fall, but you'll get an idea for it. The beard are pretty skittish and normally you only have a few seconds to really look at them before their out of sight. You might try contacting some of the landowners and get permission to hunt the private, they might be willing to work something out. I know of several bears removed by the DWR last year from private land and some had to be put down after multiple break-ins. Taylor ranching loses lots of calves each year to bears and he would probably be pretty happy to have some guys smacking down some bears.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
This has all been very helpful, any more pointers will be very helpful. I plan on going for about 3 days, if I'm not successful I will probably go the tail end of the hunt as well if I'm not successful the first trip. I would love to get a more unique color phase bear but being my first bear I might be itching at the trigger when I see any bear!
 

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Spot & Stalk

This is a great unit, and it'll be interesting to see how the year will unfold. Speaking from experience... Last year to be exact on this very hunt, it will not be as easy as it sounds from prior comments.

I am interested to see the success rate of last year. The previous 2-3 years before last had a success rate of 16-18%. Still, not horrible considering it's a spot and stalk hunt. But not all that great. I would be pretty surprised if it were higher than this last year as most of the hunters I'd talked to hadn't seen so much as a cub. From reading your posts, you don't sound terribly familiar with the area so this will be your first major obstacle. I apologize if I am wrong on this.

I hope the best for you. It truly is a great area to hunt black bear. And JohnnyCake is right, there is so much color phase to the bears down there its really quite unreal. I've seen a lot of bear down there, and can count on one hand the number of "black" black bears I've seen. Have fun doing it. May as well buy a spike elk permit while your at it...
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
If you went last year, How much time did you spend camping/hunting during the actual hunt? I am trying to plan accordingly what will be necessary but want to be successful
 

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So I've hunted this unit for deer for about the last 10-12 years so I feel somewhat familiar with the unit though I still learn new things every year.

I spent a couple days in August setting a camera which photographed several nice looking cows. Then a week on the black powder deer hunt. For the bear hunt, I had set apart 14 days to hunt because I thought I might need that many days to harvest a bear. I had then set a few days the last week of the hunt in case I hadn't gotten one yet. I was only there about 5 nights before harvesting my bear. Truthfully, if you're serious about harvesting a bear on this unit / hunt, I would have as much time set apart as you can manage with work / family / etc. There are a ton of bear down there. There's been days where I'd seen as many bears as deer. That's not saying much for the deer population! Keep in mind, when this spot & stalk starts, there's already been a ton of pressure from bear hunting, elk hunting, deer hunting, etc. My expectations of how it would be, and what it was were different. It was a humbling experience to be honest. Like many hunts, you'll spend a ton of time looking for bear sign and then hoping to be in the right place when they are out and about moving. I shot my bear 10 minutes before dark. Still, I can't wait to be able to put in again. I enjoyed the challenge of the spot and stalk and will do it again.

Like others have mentioned, try and find some elk gut piles / carcasses. You'll be there a few days before the general elk spike opener. Many of the muzzle load LE elk hunters will have cleared the area and the carcasses will have been picked clean from bears being on them. The bears really like dead cows too. I came across a fresh dead cow last year that hadn't been munched on yet. But I think I could have killed a bear on the cow had I not been lucky before.

PM me if you'd like.
 
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