I have (what I think is) a large, mature sow on my bait site. I have mixed feelings on whether or not I should shoot it if I get the opportunity. I don't think I could pass it up, considering I only have one bear under my belt and this bear is much larger than the one I killed. My area has a quota of six sows and I am tempted to take this one because, 1) because she's huge, in my opinion and, 2) her hide is perfect with no signs of rubbing. A lot of the bears on my site have rub marks. The only reason I am considering passing is I know there are some bruiser boars in my neck of the woods and this big sow could possibly draw them to my site come ruttin' time. What would you guys do? I've only been doing this since '09 so I am no bear expert. I'm only guessing it's a sow due to the pear-shaped body, narrow head and long, pointy nose.
I don't have a problem shooting sows. From a biological stand point I doubt it makes a difference in the long term. From a personal point of view I wouldn't shoot a sow with this years cubs. The second bear in the picture looks like it's on it's own here shortly anyway. I'd base my decision on how much season I had left. Stuff is just starting to heat up, she might be better bait than what's in the barrel. At the very least she is wandering around leaving scent and sign of a food source. I'd pass for now especially if the area is known to hold bigger boars. In my opinion the big boars generally dominate the better food sources, den fatter, later, pick better dens and tend to get up later than the rest. It's tough to tell from pictures but she looks comfortable there, I'd guess she's the dominant bear using the site currently, if your time is limited take her. Look at the changes in the site in the last week, next week will bring more change, and possibly the bigger boar you're hoping for. If I was going to hold out I'd move that barrel up into the shaded cover. Good Luck
Thanks for the reply. I definitely won't be shooting any sows with cubs. I assumed the other bear in the third pic was a smaller boar already out on his own. Maybe he was looking for love too early and got rejected? It looks like he has a wider stance and a squared/blocky type body. Whatever the bear is, it didn't hang around long so I think it got run off. The sow has hit the bait several times solo before and after that bear got involved.
I agree with everything you said about her being the dominant bear and good bait. I also think you're also right about the big boars. They do seem to come out later. The only problem is my itchy trigger finger!
I was incorrect. I forgot Game & Fish raised the quota to eight now.
HARPERC, do you have any rubbed out bears in your area? And if so, when do you start to notice them rubbing? We have had a very hot and dry spring and I'm afraid these bears will want to start shedding their coat soon.
It's in the mid 80's here today and we are suppose to be mid to upper 80's all week. While we haven't seen any rubbed bears on our bait yet it's a matter of days before we do I bet. I'm sure our weather is headed your way even though it will probably be a bit cooler.
If you want a nice rug and a good size bear I'd probably shoot her. The quota is high enough they probably won't close the season soon (but you should be able to call in and check the sow count).
What are you using for bait? I played with some stuff this year and the bears seem to love it. I made a popcorn ball with marshmallows, Karo syrup, sugar, and strawberry Jello. I also made another with anise instead of the strawberry jello. They were the first things they ate. We also have dog food with maple and chocolate syrup, popcorn with bacon grease poured all over it, popcorn with sugar and Karo syrup, and just plain popcorn. I also made one with butterscotch pudding mix instead of the Jello or anise for the next trip up and I made some popcorn with bacon grease instead of oil. The popcorn stinks the house up pretty good when you make it (the wife wasn't overly happy). I'm going to make some trails with the popcorn to see if we can't get some bigger bears in (all we have had are little guys so far). I used to use stale doughnuts and bread but it's been really hard to get from Wonder this year.
I haven't been out this spring. We don't have a general spring bear season, and we lost bait and dogs quite a few years ago. Spring bear is on a drawing, and they just expanded the tag numbers this year. Not anymore bears F&G just realizing PETA don't send them any money. My friends did draw they went out the weekend of the 5/5, and saw no sign creek bottom to snow line in spite of a bunch of hiking. They skipped the 5/12 weekend, they have until 6/15 I think. Snow pack is going fast, and I'm certain their out and picking up steam. Rubs always an iffy thing, I suspect some rub in the den. Some of the small bears that picked a bad spot and made an uncomfortable den had to get up earlier wet and hungry seem to lose their hair earlier. We baited mostly fall, and it would take a tracked ATV to get to some of those sites now. We have that warm wet ocean air
collide with the cold air, and get a snow pack that lasts awhile some years.