Early vs Late Season Spring Bear Hunting

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Deleted member 52995

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I've always believed that it's better to hunt bears early, rather than later in the spring season for a number of reasons which I've discussed previously (and won't discuss again). And I know that access is generally a problem for anyone who would like to hunt bear habitat on public lands in the early part of the spring black bear season. Since bears are generally found at lower elevations in early spring, the only option most hunters have is private property (generally timber company land). As the season progresses bears move to higher elevations into forest service, and state lands giving hunters access to bear habitat on public land. But there's actually an amazing amount of public land available at lower elevations as well, if you make a reasonable effort to search for it. Those public lands, though "less extensive," are almost always "devoid" of bear hunters, since most bear hunters hunt later in the season. In any case, hunting later in the season does give bear hunters access to a greater amount of bear habitat on public land, and they have the added benefit of warmer weather. But I've convinced myself that warm weather, and not access is the deciding factor in the decision by most spring bear hunters to hunt later in the spring bear season. Can't really say I blame them. Southern California weather, and black bears....very appealing......🐻🏖
 
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Tall Moose

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Jun 4, 2019
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Delta, BC
I like the early spring because the bears are much less wary and completely focused on devouring grass with their heads down, making them easier to stock. Also really like to avoid the madness that the bugs bring come late May/early June. That said, I like the rut too because I see more bears cruising and they're also less worried about hunters then.

Just grateful to live somewhere where there's still opportunities for spring bear
 

Ron.C

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Jan 25, 2021
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Vancouver Island British Columbia
I hunt coastal mountains on Vancouver Island and I prefer early-mid season for a few reasons. But If my goal were to go out and shoot the biggest bear I could find in my area, I'd be hunting the last week of the season when our bears are breeding.

Early spring season PRO's:
least amount of hunting pressure, fewer bugs, cooler temps help with managing meat, hides in better condition if you are looking for a rug, hunting the sweet spots that are the first to green up can be awesome.
CON: can really be hit or miss year to year in regards to how early bears decide to start appearing in any numbers.

Later spring season PRO's:
bears seem to be everywhere, see more big bears as they are out looking to breed, generally clearer skies (in the coastal area I hunt) less chance of low ceiling negatively affecting glassing.
CON: Too many people for my liking and weather can be very hot
 
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Jim1187

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Mar 7, 2020
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115
Location
New Brunswick, Canada
Opposite coast of Canada here, don't really have the mountainous terrain and elevation impacted public access.
We still see the same behavior pattern changes as the season progresses. I have been trying to successfully call a bear in, so May is when I concentrate my serious efforts as that is when our deer are dropping fawns and the rut is starting. The bugs and heat make June hunting not appealing to me.
 

Tall Moose

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Jun 4, 2019
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Delta, BC
Good to know. Here in Canada, if you're want a 7ft+ (even 8ft) bear its no secret that you head to Vancouver Island (where Ron C. is based) where there's a ton of salmon bearing rivers. But if you're more interested in a B&C or P&Y 21/22+ inch skull, you head to Saskatchewan
 
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