My Montana 2021 spring bear hunt

netman

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 30, 2018
Messages
732
Location
Indiana
So my wife and I headed west on June 4. We had our camper in tow and got out to south west Montana a couple days later. Normally I would not give my location of the hunt but since it was saturated with grizzly bears I’m giving a heads up. We were hunting the southern tip of the Gravelys.
We arrived, set up camp and then drove around glassing the creeks. Nothing found.
I did notice there was not many recently born or new calf’s clinging to their mothers out in the sage like I seen this time last year. The young’ uns were advanced and fairly springy in step.
The evening hunt we went up a gated road about two miles. About a mile or so off the road we found many big grizzly scratches in the road along with poop and pee. Imagine a grizzly scrape. One area of the road had about 20 of these scrapes. Further up the road there was more. About every fifty yards or so there was 8-12 scrapes. We set up out in the open where we could see 360 degrees with the main focus on some small grass patches and a creek. No black bears seen.
Next several days we hunted the same area . Each day we noticed fresh new scratches.
Plan B. I spoke to my friend who’s a taxidermist about two hours away. He recommended we move to a couple more creek basins which we did with no luck. One afternoon right before dark a couple coyotes started yipping straight east of us. No sooner than they got started a couple of wolves let go south of us and shut the coyotes down. No bears seen.
We would hunt every morning from before dark until 9-10 am. Afternoon we left camp at 5 and walked in and stayed until legal hours ended. No bears seen.
We drove into town to get fuel. I spoke to a guy who’s neighbor is a forestry pilot. He said the pilot recently flew the area I was hunting and had seen 30 grizzlies out in the open in one day.
So we pulled camp and moved to the Pioneers. We spent a couple days there hunting morning and evening. Basically hiking with a rifle.
Good thing was we hit the hot springs in Jackson and Elkhorn. My wife was motivated with the hot springs.
We stuck around the area hunting here and there trying to get on something with no luck.
We started slow rolling home. We stopped in Wyoming and hit some prairie dog towns and worked on thinning them down. Made several kills on PD with my 17 Remington over 400 yards. Made a 634 yard shot on one with my LR deer rifle.
Lessons learned.
Timing is everything. Due to our timing and with spring advanced there was grass everywhere. Bears didn’t need to travel far to find new fresh grass. It was everywhere. We noticed the mountains had less snow on them.
The calf’s were up and running.
Grizzlies were prevalent.
We came out last year at the same time and was perfect. This year we were late.
What would I do different? Be there earlier.
The attached picture shows a nearly 4” 300 RUM round with the scratches. Those scratches are 2-3” deep in hard pack gravel.
B0DB9C16-F783-4B2A-A7F0-3AB80E261BD9.jpeg B0DB9C16-F783-4B2A-A7F0-3AB80E261BD9.jpeg
 

Turkeygetpwnd38

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2017
Messages
859
Location
Florida
I believe I was in the same general area two weeks prior, glassed up hundreds of elk, none had dropped yet, and three grizzlies in three days. Couldn’t of drawn up a better place for black bears to be but we couldn’t find any either. The grizzlies we saw were monsters, probably one reason why.
 
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netman

netman

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 30, 2018
Messages
732
Location
Indiana
I got a friend who has a cabin near Ruby Reservoir. He has killed many bears. He told me that he thought the grizzly had pushed the blacks out. He has killed bear where I hunted as I have.
He had killed a ancient old black near Kalispell this year a few weeks before I got out there.
He was helping his buddy find a bear and they got one north of the reservoir but he said he didn’t spend much time where I hunted.
 

Philthyphil

Junior Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2021
Messages
23
Location
MT
Gravellies are famous for grizzlies. Seen quite a bit in there over the years. Heard tell that they relocate problem bears to there. I ride moto through there in the summer fairly often and used to camp up there until I found a griz trap that I assumed the forest service or some biologist set, while hiking around camp at end of day. I still ride up there but I make sure I make it all the way through in a day.
 

PNW44

Junior Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2021
Messages
11
So my wife and I headed west on June 4. We had our camper in tow and got out to south west Montana a couple days later. Normally I would not give my location of the hunt but since it was saturated with grizzly bears I’m giving a heads up. We were hunting the southern tip of the Gravelys.
We arrived, set up camp and then drove around glassing the creeks. Nothing found.
I did notice there was not many recently born or new calf’s clinging to their mothers out in the sage like I seen this time last year. The young’ uns were advanced and fairly springy in step.
The evening hunt we went up a gated road about two miles. About a mile or so off the road we found many big grizzly scratches in the road along with poop and pee. Imagine a grizzly scrape. One area of the road had about 20 of these scrapes. Further up the road there was more. About every fifty yards or so there was 8-12 scrapes. We set up out in the open where we could see 360 degrees with the main focus on some small grass patches and a creek. No black bears seen.
Next several days we hunted the same area . Each day we noticed fresh new scratches.
Plan B. I spoke to my friend who’s a taxidermist about two hours away. He recommended we move to a couple more creek basins which we did with no luck. One afternoon right before dark a couple coyotes started yipping straight east of us. No sooner than they got started a couple of wolves let go south of us and shut the coyotes down. No bears seen.
We would hunt every morning from before dark until 9-10 am. Afternoon we left camp at 5 and walked in and stayed until legal hours ended. No bears seen.
We drove into town to get fuel. I spoke to a guy who’s neighbor is a forestry pilot. He said the pilot recently flew the area I was hunting and had seen 30 grizzlies out in the open in one day.
So we pulled camp and moved to the Pioneers. We spent a couple days there hunting morning and evening. Basically hiking with a rifle.
Good thing was we hit the hot springs in Jackson and Elkhorn. My wife was motivated with the hot springs.
We stuck around the area hunting here and there trying to get on something with no luck.
We started slow rolling home. We stopped in Wyoming and hit some prairie dog towns and worked on thinning them down. Made several kills on PD with my 17 Remington over 400 yards. Made a 634 yard shot on one with my LR deer rifle.
Lessons learned.
Timing is everything. Due to our timing and with spring advanced there was grass everywhere. Bears didn’t need to travel far to find new fresh grass. It was everywhere. We noticed the mountains had less snow on them.
The calf’s were up and running.
Grizzlies were prevalent.
We came out last year at the same time and was perfect. This year we were late.
What would I do different? Be there earlier.
The attached picture shows a nearly 4” 300 RUM round with the scratches. Those scratches are 2-3” deep in hard pack gravel.
View attachment 300620 View attachment 300620
Sorry you didn’t have any luck! Hoping to do an out of state bear hunt in the next year or two myself 👍🏼 Can’t draw a spring bear tag in Washington for the life of me!
 
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netman

netman

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 30, 2018
Messages
732
Location
Indiana
PNW we had a great time! Bear or no bear it’s still fun to go out and give it a whirl.
 
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