(OR) Some tips in time for bear hunting season


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Drizzt
January 28, 2003, 11:34 AM
Gary Lewis: Some tips in time for bear hunting season
By GARY LEWIS
For The Register-Guard


SOMETIME in March or April, when the sun pushes back the clouds, when the grass turns green and the buttercups bloom, Oregon's black bears emerge from their long winter sleep.

Hungry bruins head straight for the river valleys early in the spring, taking advantage of succulent forage they find below the snowline.

Grasses, grubs, flowers and the tender shoots of smaller trees and shrubs are the target as the bears get their digestive juices flowing again.

As the foliage in the river bottoms dries out, the bears will climb higher in search of goodies.

This brings them out into the open on green sunlit slopes where they will sometimes graze for hours, eating grass and turning over rocks in their search for insects and larvae.

Oregon's bear population is thought to be close to 30,000 animals, spread over approximately 40,000 square miles of habitat.

Spring hunts are controlled by a lottery system that limits hunters in each of the open units.

Bag limit in the spring is one bear, except that it is unlawful to take cubs less than a year old, or sows with cubs.

Want to know which areas of the state harbor the most bruins? Take a look at the 2003 Oregon Big Game Regulations.

Spring hunts, beginning in April and May, are used to control bear numbers in areas where bear damage to property is high.

As black bear populations expand, hunters have increased opportunities to bag their bruin on a spring hunt. Tag numbers for 2003 are being increased in almost every unit.

This year, 5,660 tags are up for grabs, but some areas are better than others. Hunter success in the Northwest hunts (Wilson-Trask and Alsea-Stott Mountain) averaged 5 percent in recent years. Because of the dense cover, many hunters walk mountain roads in the early evening to take up a stand downwind of a clear-cut or a meadow, watching and waiting until a bear is spotted.

Often, in forests with thick cover, a black bear will travel established trails and old logging roads. You can often find the tracks they leave.

Tracks can help you determine where that bear was feeding and give an indication of where you might find him again.

Black bear droppings are shaped like an apple fritter, though not as tasty. They will contain hints at where to find the bear. The content of fresh droppings may reveal that a bear was eating grass, or finding grubs in rotten logs and stumps.

These clues may lead you to a feeding area. Pay special attention to road closures as decreased human access will mean a better chance of finding a bear.

With 2,000 available tags, the Southwest Oregon spring bear hunt, made up of the Siuslaw, Tioga, Melrose, Dixon, Sixes, Powers, Evans Creek, Chetco, Applegate and Rogue units, is the easiest to draw.

With high bear populations and more openings in the timber, hunter success there has averaged 7 percent in recent years.

Early in the season, hunting the river bottoms can pay off with a look at a bear.

Later in the spring, go to the high country to find animals, watching grassy slopes with binoculars or walking old logging roads.

In terms of opportunity and access, Northeast Oregon may offer the best bear hunting. Public land percentage is high in some units and success averages between 3 percent and 14 percent.

Start with 8-power binoculars to scan grassy slopes. Once a bear is spotted, switch to a spotting scope to determine if the bear is worth pursuing. A good-sized bear will appear to have smaller ears and short legs and walk with a waddle.

Conversely, a smaller bear has larger ears in proportion to its head and looks rangy, its legs appearing longer in proportion to its body.

Usually, when you locate a bear this way, it will be on the other side of a drainage. It may be a mile or more away, so the hunter will have to move in close for a good shot.

It will probably mean crossing a creek or river at the bottom, and it may take hours to reach the spot where the bear was first seen.

Wherever you decide to hunt this spring, whether you will hear the breakers of the Pacific or look into the breaks of the Snake River canyon, make your application soon - the deadline is Feb. 10.

Bend free-lance writer Gary Lewis is author of "Hunting Oregon." He can be reached via www.huntingoregon.net.

http://www.registerguard.com/news/2003/01/23/5d.od.lewiscol.0123.html

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stephen_g22
February 4, 2003, 04:17 PM
Subject: ALERT---WARNING

The Montana State Department of Fish and Wildlife is advising hikers, hunters, fishermen, rescue dog handlers, and golfers to take extra precautions and be on the alert for bears while in the Gallatin, Helena, and Lewis and Clark National Forests. They advise people to wear noise-producing devices such as little bells on their clothing to alert, but not startle the bears unexpectedly. They also advise you to carry pepper spray in case of an encounter with a bear. It is also a good idea to watch for signs of bear activity. People should be able to recognize the difference between black bear and grizzly bear droppings. Black bear droppings are smaller and contain_ berries and possibly squirrel fur.

Grizzly bear droppings have bells in them and smell like pepper spray.

:D :D :D

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