Now I had a problem. I would be moving quartering into the wind, normally a good thing. However, if the bear moved into the open area of the clear-cut it could be downwind. I bet that the bear would keep to its preferred scavenging mode and either travel quartering or directly into the wind. I followed the bear up the mountain on the elk trail. Every few yards Iíd find its track, but after a half an hour or so I finally lost the trail.
This bear appears to present a perfect shot. If you take your time as you should youíll notice the small black shadow directly under the bear. In a few moments it will move revealing itself to be the sow bearís new cub.
I now had a choice, either climb higher up the slope to find a place to sit and glass the open area or still hunt the black timber and jack pines. Since it was getting to lunch time I opted for the glass and eat lunch option.
This unused logging road provides bears with a perfect spring feeding area. Flat easy walking, lots of fresh green grass and forbs and water where the road crosses any spring run off streams makes for an ideal area to look for fresh bear sign.
A good glassing location is a ridge in the middle of a burn or clear-cut. If a road bisects the ridge line even better. You want to be able to see as much ground as possible. Even if you are overlooking a square mile or more of ground, remember you are most likely only going to see one bear. Donít be too concerned about being spotted. Bears are nearsighted and spend quite a bit of time concentrating on what is just in front of them. The wind is everything. They may not see you but they will smell you every time. There is no such thing as ďscent controlĒ clothing or anything else when it comes to bears. If two molecules of your scent path cross a bearís nose, the bear will know your age, weight, what brand of detergent you washed your socks in and will likely begin putting some serious distance between you and him. If you were ambitious enough and hiked to the top of the cut or burn you will most likely see the bear below you, and getting within 300 to 500 yards should be simple enough. In burns and cuts it is often easier to make a cross canyon shot than it is a shot at the bear from the same slope. If you just canít get off the slope the bear is on, you may end up with a shot measured in feet rather than yards.
If you do make a nice cross-canyon shot, itís a real help to have a hunting partner guide you to your trophy, since the low thick brush in these areas can make finding a downed bear very difficult. If you are alone, tie a few lengths of bright surveyorís ribbon to the brush near where you shot from. Now take out your GPS unit and mark that spot, play attention to the elevation, was the bear above you or below you? Mark the downed animalís direction from your shooting spot as best you can. If you have fair idea of the elevation you can do a back azimuth to your shooting spot and at least get you close to the downed bear.
Take your time; it is very important when hunting bears in the springtime to never shoot on sight. Bear cubs, especially in the spring when they first emerge from the natal den are small and easily missed. Shooting a sow with cubs is illegal everywhere I am aware of and totally unethical. You also need to check to see what kind of shape the bearís hide is in; a big hairless patch on a hide makes for a poor trophy.
What happened with the bear I followed up the mountain? Well, that story ended at 20 feet so I guess itís not a good story for Long Range HuntingÖ
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