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Old September 28, 2005, 04:18 PM   #1
azredhawk44
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Bear Hunting Tips...?

I'm a long-time reader of this forum but just registered today... Please, first off, let's stay away from "my S&W 629 shoots a 600gr bullet at 4000fps" and other such postings...

I'm not looking so much for specific cartridge or firearms info, but rather for some solid guidelines for hunting bear in the Arizona White Mountains near the New Mexico border.

I'm a fairly novice hunter (I've gone after javelina, varmints with mixed success) and wanted to go after deer or elk this year, but lost out on the lottery, so I went and bought an over-the-counter bear tag. I'm a decent shot with my .308, and pretty solid with my .44mag, so I don't feel I need any help choosing guns or cartridges.

What I'd love to hear are some success stories based on hunting technique (varmint call, tree stands, spot & stalk, glassing the hillsides) in medium-to-dense forest in eastern arizona, west new mexico, or colorado.

I know this post sounds a little bit crotchety, but it seems at times that if you read any threads in this forum they all decend to "my [insert favorite gun here] is the best gun for [whatever the thread is about]." I enjoy my guns, I'm sure you enjoy your guns, but let's talk about hunting rather than guns.
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Old September 28, 2005, 04:44 PM   #2
wun_8_seven
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i used to hunt bear in new mexico around this time of year. i would find a water hole with fresh bear sign around it and build me a blind down wind out of brush. when it's still warm the gotta have lots of water.
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Old September 28, 2005, 04:54 PM   #3
azredhawk44
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White Mountains in October, 7500ft

What's "warm?" When I am going, farmer's almanac says the area should be about 55 degrees for a high, 20 degrees for a night low...

Water is fairly plentiful where we are going, I'd love to find somewhere about 200-300 yards from a couple of different water holes and just sit there and glass both of them if I can find something like that...Unfortunately, the forest is pretty thick. Visibility is pretty low (<50yards)

Has anyone used a varmint call to hunt black bear?
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Old September 29, 2005, 05:39 AM   #4
wun_8_seven
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55 is warm when your wearing a fur coat. i 've tried a call with no luck. also watched some apache's do a honey burn to lure in a bear,
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Old September 29, 2005, 08:12 AM   #5
Rojoe67
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Union Bears (Yankee type) - Blackies

Bear hunting in Michigan is a little north of the area you hunt but some things are solid and general. The temps your talking are about the same temps we look for in Michigan's Black Bear season. We get some warm weather days of 70 but the trend seems to be more towards the 50-55 spot. Nights seem to average around 30-35. Now, that said norms are not rules. Seen all types of weather in September. I think the night and the weather plays into hunting as many have said for years and years. I also think if a Blackie is hungry he could just as easy be seen moving around in the daylight too. My education of Blackies here in Michigan is from an old hunter and friend. He has hunted bears for about? 40 years now? He claims he figured them out real good after the first 10 years of learning for himself. He also owns land in Ontario and hunts there as well. A few of his secrets that seemed to work well over the years are as follows: When baiting always use a secondary trail for only that mission. Use only meat scraps at the bait location, a few days stink might turn your stomach but it is a dinner bell to bears. Cover the bait with logs that are heavy for the hunter to move, only humans or bears will move them. When hunting he swears by the rubber hip boots, charcoal suit and a little skunk cover scent on a cotton ball on a string - dangled from a loop around your boot. Drop same 10 yards prior to your hunt location. Distance of 85 yards or more is desired. The 30-06 worked well for years but in the last 10+ years he has taken a fond friendship to his 270. If you can start hunting in the early afternoon 1-2pm the chances are a huge increase of seeing bears. Most bears he has taken are within 1 hour of dark. Most importantly he states to share your hunting story of success with only family and trusted friends. If your not careful your good luck will get out and you might have a few new friends that found your area and think they will make it as their spot. A few of (his could be record book makers) are only photo, video and eye witnessed by close friends and family. He likes the private life and intends it to stay that way....... That might well be the best advice he gave me.... He has taken some 16+ bears between Michigan and Canada. That is a good indicator to me that my teacher has his degree and a few are on the wall.
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Old September 29, 2005, 01:45 PM   #6
azredhawk44
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Well, it's against the law in AZ to bait a bear with anything that may smell like food... So using smell to attract is out.

I appreciate the info, rojoe67. I'll be sure to use some sort of scent cover.

wun_ 8_seven, what about bedding areas? I went up last weekend to the area I want to hunt and I found several places that look like they were used for a bear to sleep. Eaten pine cones, turned up earth with claw marks, clawed trees, and a nice compressed area sheltered from the wind with lots of pine needles, oak leaves, etc... I've heard they won't typically re-use a bedding area consecutively... Is this true in your experience?
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Old September 29, 2005, 02:14 PM   #7
wun_8_seven
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i don't know much about bear bedding areas. i allways figured bears slept where ever they got tired until den up time then found a hole to get in.
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Old September 29, 2005, 02:17 PM   #8
wun_8_seven
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water holes are the only way i've hunted them, except one time we spotted one from a fire tower and stalked him. no baiting allowed in new mexico then either.
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Old September 30, 2005, 01:26 AM   #9
kennybs plbg
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look for the big pumpkin heads with small ears like this one.

kenny b
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Old September 30, 2005, 02:04 PM   #10
Rojoe67
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forgot a few things.....

Location, location and location......... sound like I'm trying to sell a house?

My friend also said and I agree in Michigan anyhow..... The harder it is to get into a thick tangle of woods.....that would be a good spot to hunt too. The bear in Michigan for most part are private animals in general. Once and awhile one gets seen here or there but for the population of Blackies in Michigan few citizens see a bear during a lifetime. That sounds like getting into some thick country for best chances. I don't know what location in Arizona your in but I bet same holds true? One other idea that someone noted was water location(s) to hunt. I think that is great advice because Water, Food, Love and Security must be the big 4 on most living things minds? I often hunt on a little creek and it has shown many times in the past that the little water locations shouldn't be overlooked either. Food can be considered anything bears will put in mouth..... If any agriculture, large garden plots, apple or orchard fruits and even consider a large graze area if sheep or livestock are near.... The love part is a little tougher and I won't try to figure bears out either.....can't always figure humans out so I am far from the person for help on that one... Last was a security area or paths showing travel to heavy cover......when the going gets rough if I were a bear and getting nervous about the present environment I would head to the thickest and nasty stuff to get-a-away........... Good luck in your hunt......let us know how you do ......good or bad it is an educational lesson everytime we head out to the boonies...... Regards....
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Old September 30, 2005, 02:08 PM   #11
FrontSight
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remember, you don't have to outrun the bear, just outrun your hunting buddy!



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Old September 30, 2005, 02:33 PM   #12
spacemanspiff
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Quote:
55 is warm when your wearing a fur coat
55 is a freakin heat wave where i come from. any warmer than 65 and i'm shedding clothes, much to the dismay of those around me.

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Old September 30, 2005, 03:16 PM   #13
azredhawk44
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I've lived in Minnesota for several years at -80F with windchill and 90+F in the summers with crazy humidity, but I have since turned into a weather sissy living in Arizona.

I get cold when it dips below about 75 degrees.

On the bright side, I cruise with the windows down in my car at a nice, pleasant 95... I stay away from the AC until about 100 degrees.

azredhawklivingintheheatandlovingthatitscoldat75degrees44
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