Shooting Sows

Discussion in 'Bear Hunting' started by Magnumitis, May 13, 2012.

  1. Magnumitis

    Magnumitis Well-Known Member

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    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.

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  2. Magnumitis

    Magnumitis Well-Known Member

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    Here are two pictures that show just how big this bear is. As you can see, I can barely reach the branch that the bear is touching with it's nose. I am 5' 10".

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  3. HARPERC

    HARPERC Well-Known Member

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    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
     
  4. Magnumitis

    Magnumitis Well-Known Member

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    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!
     
  5. Magnumitis

    Magnumitis Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  6. IdahoCTD

    IdahoCTD Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  7. HARPERC

    HARPERC Well-Known Member

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    Elkaholic307
    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.
     
  8. sp6x6

    sp6x6 Well-Known Member

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    That is interesting that you have a bear sex quota,we dont in MT. For cats yes and easier to tell in tree. Bait also helps,which we cant do. I hunted with a friend in AK out of his spot.The camped yeilded about 70 bears over the years,and the 2 sows were only one that did not Pope. But you are talking about a different type bear.We cant shoot sows w/cubs and not in AK either.I think when you take a female out you impact it more due to the biology of it all.The baiting affords you to be more selective.I would diffinitely hold out,but that is me.I saw over 50 bears one season and they are hard to judge. I have seen 100's over the years and I advised my son a few years back to shoot a bear that was chunky and I thought larger, turned out it was a sow. Very blocky and nice coat,he was happy.
     
  9. Magnumitis

    Magnumitis Well-Known Member

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    We hit 90 degrees yesterday. 0 sows have been taken so far, but rifle season just opened yesterday. I was looking through my trail cam pics from past seasons and noticed that it did not take long before the bears started rubbing. One week, the hides were in the great shape.. the next week they already had obvious rubbing marks. I don't think it's going to cool down any time soon and the longer I hold out, the busier I will be with work. So, I think if she shows up I will take her. She's got to be 6 ft. or close to it.

    My bait is very simple. I use dog food in the bottom of the barrel for filler and corn, oats and barley rolled in molasses on top for the main bait. Then, I pour about a gallon of syrup or honey over the top and let it soak into everything. I would like to mix it up but they seem to love the cob. Plus, my site is in the bottom of a deep canyon and it's easier packing a 50 lb. bag of cob on my back than it is carrying a couple buckets full of other stuff.
     
  10. angus-5024

    angus-5024 Well-Known Member

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    wait for a big boar.
     
  11. sp6x6

    sp6x6 Well-Known Member

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    My teenage doesnt listen to me, go figure:D He shot a chocolate sow last night
     
  12. rooster740

    rooster740 Well-Known Member

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    Several areas have a female quota, and when it is met the season closes in that area. See the MFWP web site link below
    Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks :: Black Bear Hunting Guide
     
  13. sp6x6

    sp6x6 Well-Known Member

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    Your link said "sex class no quota''IT SHOWED HARVEST SEX DATA,ahhhh found it ,must be down in your neck of the woods,unit 510and 520,looked like only ones in state
     
  14. Magnumitis

    Magnumitis Well-Known Member

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    Looks like the big sow may live to see another day. I may have a good reason to pass on her now. Mike, my dad and myself checked the camera again a couple days ago and found out we have a new bear at the site. This is the 4th confirmed bear now and the season just started. He looks like a mature boar. Not the biggest boar in the woods but a shooter in my book. In fact, he might be smaller than the sow. But, I think I'll be gunnin' for him now unless some bigger boars show up later like they've been known to do in previous years.

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