First Montana spring bear hunt

Craveman85

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I can't answer for Montana, but a little further west (NE Oregon) they can be out most any time of day. We generally stop for lunch and/or nap sometime during the day, but they can be out any time. Late evening is generally the best time.

Weather can be as important as time of day. Bears generally prefer nice weather. I've heard a saying that if you don't want to be out in a t-shirt, the bears don't want to be out either. I wouldn't go that far, but bears do like sunshine.

Patience behind the glass is key.

QQ
Well I prefer much lower temps than most people. I run my snowblower in shorts. So probably warm enough for me to sweat then?
 

Craveman85

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Picking a hunting spot from 2k miles away is tough! I've spent hours on onx trying to pick a place to go. Makes me wish I had another week available. So my goal is to find out what unit I'm going to hunt by January 15th. Then I'd like to pick a general area of that unit and find 5 spots to use as base camp. I'll also make a list of backup spots should those not be what I thought they were. I'll drive 15 hours one day. Stay in a motel. 15 hours the next day ending up in Montana. Probably near Bozeman. I kinda liked the looks of the terrain of that unit to the south of Bozeman. Looked like burns and such in there and possibly more visibility? Well my first full day in Montana will be getting from the hotel to base camp and setting up. Then day 3 will hopefully be the first day of hunting. Most likely it will be a shit show of learning how to glass I guess. I've got 17 days total for this trip so hopefully I'll get a few good stalks in during that time period. Hopefully a bear but I'm planning on failure going into it. That way if I get one I'll be extra happy. I guess. I don't plan on going for a trophy sized bear. I'd be more than happy with a 200#+ boar of any color phase.
 

Craveman85

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Is there a certain elevation that would be just pointless to hunt above? I'd hate to pick a spot where I like the looks of the terrain but then find there aren't any bears there.
 

Craveman85

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Hmm from watching videos and all the pictures I've seen they looked bigger than the ones here in NY. I think the average for males taken is about 200 here. Female about 150
 

Craveman85

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Actually our dec website says the average weight for a male here is around 300 live weight and 180 for a female. Biggest I've personally seen was later shot by a friend and weighed 413 gutted. 6 of us wrapped it in a cargo net cinched tight with ratchet straps and carried it out.
 

Craveman85

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Why not just stay in NY and hunt bears there?
I've been trying to get one here for 16 years. Most of the land where I have access to hunt has maybe a 75 yard visibility max, most of it being less than 50 yards. Everything here is super thick brush. Density is very low. we don't have a spring season. And I really want to get out of ny and go out west for a little while. And most of our public land is smaller patches with lots of people. Spot and stalk here is nearly impossible.
 

ChaosOneZero

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Why not just stay in NY and hunt bears there?
OP has a valid point. Spot and stalk is incredibly difficult in most eastern states. Public land is fairly abundant, but the terrain is fairly prohibitive for spot and stalk. Most bears out here live in thick brush and mountain laurel, and most are killed via driving/pushing steep and thick terrain with crews, so your chances of killing a bear are more luck of the draw than anything. Granted, some folks who have or can get access to private land and can pattern bears have some success, but it’s nothing like out west.
 

Craveman85

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Anyone know when you can purchase the licenses online? I took the identification course but I'm not seeing the licenses available yet. Pretty sure I'm going to unit 106. Have a couple of areas e scouted.
 

dgc1963

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Just some info one hunting bear here in the east. I live in Pa and have been luck to get 3 with my bow and my buddy has also gotten 3 with a bow yes its a lot different hunting vs western type of spot and stalk and basically stand hunting here
IMO its all about scouting we run 12 to 20 cams all summer driving 3.5 hours to check them every 2 or 3 weeks and watch 10 to 15 bears all yr its all about the food but also not sitting on a food source that bears come to in the dark we see bears most days in stand
we cant use any scents or bait in Pa and you have to scout 20 times more for bear than you do for deer due to a 15 or 20 mile home range
 

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Craveman85

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Just some info one hunting bear here in the east. I live in Pa and have been luck to get 3 with my bow and my buddy has also gotten 3 with a bow yes its a lot different hunting vs western type of spot and stalk and basically stand hunting here
IMO its all about scouting we run 12 to 20 cams all summer driving 3.5 hours to check them every 2 or 3 weeks and watch 10 to 15 bears all yr its all about the food but also not sitting on a food source that bears come to in the dark we see bears most days in stand
we cant use any scents or bait in Pa and you have to scout 20 times more for bear than you do for deer due to a 15 or 20 mile home range
I see a lot more bears in pa than I do here in ny though.
 

brockel

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Have a topper for your pickup? Reason I ask is odds are you are going to get rained on so sleeping in the box is going to suck. And I don’t know about you but sleeping all night in the cab is brutal
 

Craveman85

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Have a topper for your pickup? Reason I ask is odds are you are going to get rained on so sleeping in the box is going to suck. And I don’t know about you but sleeping all night in the cab is brutal
Yeah have a cap for it. I sleep in the back of it quite a bit here. Have a sleeping platform with gear storage underneath. Might bring my tent too but it's way too big. Like 10x16. Bought it when I was with my ex because she was a pain in the ass and needed to sleep on a double thick queen air mattress...
 

dgc1963

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I see a lot more bears in pa than I do here in ny though.
I think Pa has a lot more we have abt 20 k running around not sure how many you guys have in NY didnt mean to sound like you werent doing something right just offering my help to find em based on what I do
 

Craveman85

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I think Pa has a lot more we have abt 20 k running around not sure how many you guys have in NY didnt mean to sound like you werent doing something right just offering my help to find em based on what I do
I think it's estimated at 6-8k but increasing every year.
 

EYJONAS!

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A word of advice is id be paying attention to the amount of snow pack that's in the state as a whole. For the most part lots of the state is normal or below. The northwest area your planning on hunting has received quite a bit more than most of us. Snow packs can drag out a very long time in the spring, which makes access to areas almost impossible in some cases. In a lot of cases it forces a guy to punt on his original plan which isn't great after you've escouted it for 4 month. So have a plan A through Z when you come out. The bear tag is good state wide FYI, just food for thought. Good luck.
 

Craveman85

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A word of advice is id be paying attention to the amount of snow pack that's in the state as a whole. For the most part lots of the state is normal or below. The northwest area your planning on hunting has received quite a bit more than most of us. Snow packs can drag out a very long time in the spring, which makes access to areas almost impossible in some cases. In a lot of cases it forces a guy to punt on his original plan which isn't great after you've escouted it for 4 month. So have a plan A through Z when you come out. The bear tag is good state wide FYI, just food for thought. Good luck.
Thanks for the info. I didn't realize the tag was state wide. Good to know.
 

Craveman85

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What would you guys say the average shot distance is for spot and stalk in Montana?
 

MT Bound

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When you roll into MT go to the nearest sporting goods store and buy bear spray and have it on your hip while you're out hunting, it is a fact of life in all of western MT now. Just be prepared is all I'm saying
 

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