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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
15 years ago I remember my 10th grade wildlife biology teacher saying that the Indian canyon area between Price and Duchesne has the most bear in Utah. What do you guys think?
 

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Personally I would say the Book Cliffs between the Green River and the Colorado border

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Personally I would say the Book Cliffs between the Green River and the Colorado border

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Interesting. It seems way too desert like for lots of bear, just like Indian canyon. I do know that the area east of the green river and in between interstate 70 and highway 40 to the Colorado border might be one of the most remote areas in all of Utah.
 

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Up on top and in the canyons both north and south.

Plenty of oaks and pines.

There hasn't been a time that I have been out there that I haven't seen at least one or two bears a day. Three years ago on the spike elk hunt we watched a nice bear tearing apart logs for half a day.

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Up on top and in the canyons both north and south.

Plenty of oaks and pines.

There hasn't been a time that I have been out there that I haven't seen at least one or two bears a day. Three years ago on the spike elk hunt we watched a nice bear tearing apart logs for half a day.

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Still talking about the book cliffs? What areas specifically?
 

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Up on top, either out from Oray and HWY 40 or up Hay or East Canyons from I-70 off of the Westwater exit if coming in from the south.

Pick a canyon and start glassing. I've even seen bears in the same canyon or on the same ridge that a herd of elk are on.

10 years ag I found a couple of traps that BYU was using to catch them to study them. This was just to the east of Mc Cook Ridge on the divide road

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We used to have a cabin up at the top of Indian Canyon. There were some bears up there sure, but nowhere near the number of bears that I would find on the north end of the La Sals.
 

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I was about to say the Green River through Desolation and the La Sals are the places my friends and I have had the most trouble with bears.

In the La Sals most of the bears my friends ran into where north of Geyser Pass. But I don't know how wildfires in the last decade have affected that reality. I ran into them in Miner's Basin when I use to do long ridge hikes alone.

On the Green they were addicted to what's informally known as the Lemonade Berry or officially known as Three Leafed Sumac. They would get stupid for those little, tart berries when they were in season. Those plants are thick down there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I was about to say the Green River through Desolation and the La Sals are the places my friends and I have had the most trouble with bears.

In the La Sals most of the bears my friends ran into where north of Geyser Pass. But I don't know how wildfires in the last decade have affected that reality. I ran into them in Miner's Basin when I use to do long ridge hikes alone.

On the Green they were addicted to what's informally known as the Lemonade Berry or officially known as Three Leafed Sumac. They would get stupid for those little, tart berries when they were in season. Those plants are thick down there.
Desolation canyon is like the absolute last place I'd ever expect a bear to be. To me that would be like seeing a bear at Lake Powell lol. I guess they'll go anywhere for the food they want. I'm sure they were pretty far from their natural habitat.

The La Sal mountains however seem perfect for them.
 

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Interesting. Where specifically in the La Sals?
Take the north end of the La Sals, throw a dart basically anywhere, and it's pretty good odds there's a bear within a reasonably close distance. From La Sal peak over to the Colorado border is crazy thick with bears. My family hasn't had a single trip over there in the past 25 years without seeing at least one bear, often multiple per day.
 

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One thing is for sure and that is bear numbers are up in Utah. Prior to several years ago I would have scarcely known they existed on the Zion unit where I hunt deer and elk. Now they are always leaving tracks and poop and even posing for a trail cam pic occasionally. My wife's grandpa has a cabin on the Beaver unit and I saw one very up close and personal last year on an early morning 4 wheeler ride. They have seen them a couple times in recent years out the back door of the cabin when they come in to investigate the smell of what's cooking for breakfast.
 

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Desolation canyon is like the absolute last place I'd ever expect a bear to be. To me that would be like seeing a bear at Lake Powell lol. I guess they'll go anywhere for the food they want. I'm sure they were pretty far from their natural habitat.

The La Sal mountains however seem perfect for them.
Desolation Canyon is natural and important habitat for them. Not only is it a critical corridor between both sides (Nine Mile & Book Cliffs) but it provides key forage through the entire summer. From Jack Creek to Range Creek you've got multiple mid elevation ecosystems that meet most of the specie's needs until at least September.

If I remember correctly they have used the area long enough that they are represented on rock art panels there but I could be conflating river trips.

Canyon bottoms across the state provide similar utility. We've seen them on just about every river from the Dolores to the San Juan. From my understanding the La Sal bears, at least the males, seasonally travel the canyons to the east that drop into the Dolores. For them it's similar as Deso as it can provide access to the Uncompagrhe Plateau.

The male shot down at Rock Creek was pretty big if I remember correctly. The only ones to come into our camps were smaller but we've seen many healthy ones cruising the slopes around the canyons listed, ie those with perennial streams.

I can't compare population sizes but it's 1 of the 2 places I've seen them a lot.
 

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Take the north end of the La Sals, throw a dart basically anywhere, and it's pretty good odds there's a bear within a reasonably close distance. From La Sal peak over to the Colorado border is crazy thick with bears. My family hasn't had a single trip over there in the past 25 years without seeing at least one bear, often multiple per day.
Is La Sal correctly named on websites as the unlabeled prominence 12001, NE of Miner's Basin? I didn't know that name and had to look it up. I climbed as far north as Wass but never even took the road east of the junction with Castle Valley.

We got denied a permit for an original route of event on the south side by Peale because of mule deer. They mentioned bear around the middle to end of our route but it ended at Warner Lake and didn't involve any camping so they weren't too worried.

Cabin up there as well?
 

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Is La Sal correctly named on websites as the unlabeled prominence 12001, NE of Miner's Basin? I didn't know that name and had to look it up. I climbed as far north as Wass but never even took the road east of the junction with Castle Valley.

We got denied a permit for an original route of event on the south side by Peale because of mule deer. They mentioned bear around the middle to end of our route but it ended at Warner Lake and didn't involve any camping so they weren't too worried.

Cabin up there as well?
Maybe? I've always known La Sal peak to be the one NE of Wass, just east of Castle. But really all of the eastern side of the range, especially on the north half, has an incredible bear density. Not a ton of large bears from my experience (but there are definitely a few brutes that come out of there) but some of the prettiest color phases out there, with lots of strawberry blondes and dark red cinnamon bears. I've seen only maybe a dozen or so black black bears down there out of the hundreds we've run into over the years.

We never had a cabin out there, but in our exploring back in the 90s we got friendly with some of the landowners.

That's probably the #1 area that I would love to see a buyout of grazing permits to establish a bison herd out there. Probably won't ever happen, and even if it did, it might be impossible to keep the bison from wandering off into Sinbad valley over in Colorado (and good luck tempting them back). But I can dream.
 

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The La Sals, Book Cliffs, and San Juan units are the most popular in the state for bear hunting. I've not hunted the Book Cliffs, but I have hunted my hounds in both the La Sals and San Juan/Elkridge quite a bit over the years. Living in northern Utah and also chasing bear in Idaho, it was stunning to me the first few times down there the places we were finding bear. It's not just the high, green alpine slopes I would have expected, but also the low desert slot canyon scrub brush slick rock country a well. These bear are perfectly conditioned to desert life.

Even though these units have the highest bear densities in the state, they don't quite compare to areas in central to northern Idaho where there can be up to 7 bear per square mile.

Here is a photo of the bear we took weekend before last on the San Juan unit, a nice strawberry blonde boar.

Plant Plant community Ecoregion Hat Wood
 

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jbrow -- I'm curious what school that teacher taught at?
 
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