Spot n' stalk Success rates?

bdg848

Junior Member
Joined
May 6, 2019
Messages
34
In October my wife and I went on our first western hunt (mule deer) and loved it even though we were not successful. Recently, the idea of a spring black bear hunt has captured my interest and my wife's also. I assume she likes the idea of the mild weather compared to this years trip which was in the low twenties all day and negative temps at night.

I'm only interested in a spot and stalk style hunt. I've tried finding info about success rates on a few state fish and game websites without luck. The best info I've gotten was from Idaho fish and game. It listed the total number of bears killed and the manner in which they were taken i.e. stalk, bait, hound, or incidental. Unless I'm a dummy and don't know how to read a spreadsheet (this is entirely possible) I did not see a figure for TOTAL number of hunters. So I can see how many guys had success but not the total number who tried. 50 bears taken in a unit with 60 hunters would be awesome odds but not so much if there were 50 bears taken and 2,000 hunters. Where can I find this info or if its not available for some reason like hunters hitting numerous units and skewing the numbers, what has been YOUR success rate on spring bears with a spot and stalk strategy?

Last note, any states you would recommend? I was thinking Idaho because the tags are $180 cheaper than the surrounding states and my wife really liked a little ski resort town we passed through and wanted to go back some day but a quality hunt and highest chance of success would be number one priority. This would be spring '21 at the absolute earliest but I'm still excited just planning everything.
 

Akwoodchuck

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2018
Messages
311
If you got the dough, I'd look at B.C....probably the best success rates for stalking and highest quality bears around...
 

idahohikker

Senior Member
Joined
May 10, 2017
Messages
1,626
Location
ID
Canada would be good.

Pick anywhere between Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming and I think you’ll find success if you work hard.

I would not try to do a reduced price tag in Idaho. Access is tough and that’s why fish and game wants to pull hunters in.
 

skierhs

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2017
Messages
375
Location
Montana
Idaho has thier tags as OTC for basically all the spring bear hunting. This means that the state is not able to track who hunted in what unit exactly so you’ll probably never be able to get the statistical analysis your looking for. Out of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming the more north and west you go the more wet, thick and hard a spot and stalk hunt is(as a overly broad rule of thumb). That does not mean it’s not worth it, but be prepared for it. My group lives in Montana and we still go to Idaho to bait bears. If your able to do B.C. With a guide, that would be an amazing hunt.
 

tater

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 9, 2012
Messages
278
Location
BC
I can't speak to overall success rates anywhere in particular, but spot and stalk bear is not difficult. Sub ten yards is completely doable if you manage your approach speed and wind/sound/movement.

Where most screw up is not realizing how random bears can be, and moving too slow on the initial approach and then too fast when in close (speaking in bowhunting terms). When they are on their feet, they can cover a lot of ground in a random fashion, and can wander out of view just as quickly as they appear. It is even worse during the rut, when boars just flat out motor looking for sows.

Just respect the wind and that fact that they see motion really well under 100 yards and that their hearing is actually pretty acute.

Spot and stalk bear is some of the most legal fun you can have with your pants on.
 

BackcountryBloodline

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2019
Messages
288
Location
British Columbia
As mentioned come to BC if you have the means to do so, spot & stalk only, more bears than you can shake a stick at and plenty of archery hunters with 100% success rates year after year...I personally wouldn't even have any interest in picking up a rifle for a bear anymore here. Just don't get your hopes up for mild weather, even late spring mornings on the mountain can be damn right freezing and the afternoons can heat up quite a bit...don't strip off your layers though or the mosquitoes will chew you right up ;) As mentioned, bears are movers and shakers in the spring...some guys definitely are successful spotting bears from miles out and closing the distance but other people waste their entire season trying to stalk bear after bear that moved on hours ago. I generally don't even glass for bears anymore, I play the thick timber and cutblock edges in areas where I know they are. Learn how to speak bear, you can make them do the work for you and close the distance themselves pretty easily in later spring with huffs and distress calls. Bears are active all day getting into later spring, no afternoon naps and don't call it quits for the day until you're 100% out of shooting light, walking back to camp in the dark in bear country ain't fun when you're not used to it but it sure beats eating tag soup!

If DIY is what you're looking for though Idaho or Montana is probably going to be your best bet, I wish BC allowed a certain number of DIY hunters every year but unfortunately that's not the case. Make sure you let us know how it goes!
 
Top