First Montana spring bear hunt

Brian in Montana

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Joined
Jan 20, 2017
Messages
1,987
Location
Ramsay, MT
It's been said already, griz range is practically all over the west part of the state, but they're not behind every tree. I've seen only one in about 15 years, but it was a big boss. It ran from me, and I was thankful for that. That said, I just always carry spray when I'm in the mountains. From what I've read it's statistically more likely to deter an attack, but it's not a magic bullet. Speaking of bullets, bears can/have been shot and still inflict I great deal of damage while they're dying. Anyway, every near I've ever seen, black and griz, blessedly ran like hell when they saw or smelled me.

As far as tactics, I tend to see bears where dark brush, green grass in patchy timber, and a water source converge. Grab a vantage point and be mentally prepared to spend a lot of time behind your binoculars. But seriously, in my mind bears are not real easy to pattern or anticipate. You might see them anywhere and at any time of day, or you might not see a thing. I've probably seen most just coming out grazing on the tender green grass in mid to late afternoon. And they can be remarkably elusive - you might be sitting there looking at a clearing, look down to pick your nose or something, look back up and there's a bear that seems to have coalesced out of the ethers. And bears have ADHD. Most don't stop moving long and for no apparent reason might just suddenly jump up and sprint away - I've seen this more than once and figure they probably just got a whif of something they didn't like.

Do not underestimate their sense of smell. I'm of the opinion it's even more keen than a deer or elk, but they really don't seem to see that great. You gotta be down wind when you approach, there's no other way.

If/when you shoot one, pay very close attention to where it ran (assuming it didn't go down within sight). I've watched lots of bears, but the only one I ever shot ran immediately for the thick stuff. It didn't go far with a 165gn Federal TBT through both lungs but it left very minimal sign and hardly any blood. That was because her thick, shaggy spring coat soaked it up like a sponge.

You asked about weather. Man, expect anything. Montana springtime can be highly schizophrenic. I do tend get rained frequently in the spring, but it can go from rain to snow in minutes.

Good luck on your adventure. I hope it goes well. 👍
 

MTGunner

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Joined
Dec 19, 2010
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391
Location
NW Montana
Ya’ know, I have had a bear tag while living here in NW Montana for going on 17 years now. Live just south of Flathead Lake. Have seen more blasted bears in our yard than in the big woods. They are all over the big woods. But, I have yet to see one that I want to harvest. Yes, there are plenty of good sized black bears all over the NW Montana area. But, not gonna shoot Booboo. Want Yogi’s daddy.
There are plenty of camping spots all over the NW area. Generally find bears on south facing slopes eating grass after coming out of hibernation.....or if they can find winter kill animals. Yuck!
You posted that you are training with a 60# pack. But, have you trained at altitude? Going from lower elevations to the mountains can kick ones behind. Heed what has been said about bear spray. Make sure it is a new container and you know how to utilize it properly. There are griz all over the NW. Have had them just off our back deck. Damn pesky bunch but really dangerous if a sow with cubs. BTW, black bears account for more maulings, sow with cubs, than griz. But a sow griz with cubs can be a real handful. Can really peel your hide off quick.
Your 260 will be adequate if bullet is placed properly. The 300WSM or 300 Win. are both good choices. Have all and a Rem. 700, 7MM Mangelum’ too. My preference has been the 300WSM with handloaded 180 Accubonds. You choose.
Anyway, might see you in the NW woods in the spring. Never know where I will be in that country any time of the year. Good luck. MTG
 

Dakotakid

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Joined
Dec 13, 2014
Messages
184
I have a hunting trip in the big snoweys that a rancher has offered up. I have seen several bears in the area but never really got too excited to shoot one until this year. Mainly because my niece wants to go with.
Sizing the bears have been challenging for me.
 

Dan O

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Joined
Oct 28, 2014
Messages
847
Location
Seeley Lake, Mt
One word of caution, Don't spot and shoot right away. Make sure there are no cubs! Sometimes it takes a few minutes to see them so don't rush it.
If your hunting an area such as NW Mt. it can get pretty thick and they like to eat the fresh green grass on the side of logging roads. If they spot you they are gone in a moment. So if your not 100% sure there are no cubs DON'T SHOOT.
 

Dakotakid

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Dec 13, 2014
Messages
184
Craveman,
Where are you planning to go?
Maybe I missed where you were headed.
 

PablitoPescador

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Joined
Dec 7, 2020
Messages
65
One word of advice I would give is to not come out of the gate too hard. It’s taken me a lot of seasons to learn that lesson. Coming out of the winter when you haven’t hunted in awhile it can be a real temptation to climb some giant peaks and post hole through snow. Find some low elevation spots early and ease yourself into the hunt. It takes awhile to acclimate even for those of us that live at decent elevation. Spring bear is a true marathon hunt and it’s really easy to burn yourself out in April before the hunting gets good
 

Samwise

New member
Joined
Mar 23, 2021
Messages
4
Planning my own diy spring bear hunt, looking like unit 106 is going to be my unit based on harvest reports and where I will be staying, looking for any tips on the area and overall day hunting spot stalk success. Thanks!!
I'm also planning to hunt unit 106. I will be there last two weeks of may. It's looking like it may be a solo deal.
 

Samwise

New member
Joined
Mar 23, 2021
Messages
4
Are you looking for some one to hunt with. I'm looking for some one to hunt with for 10 days in msy.
 

Craveman85

Member
Joined
Aug 16, 2020
Messages
47
Pepper jack is the ONLY cheese.
Maybe you guys could be a holes on someone else's thread? Or maybe try putting posting something useful somewhere 🤷‍♂️. I'd prefer if I get notifications about my thread that they be something worth while and don't have to sort through the garbage you guys are posting.
 

Brian in Montana

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 20, 2017
Messages
1,987
Location
Ramsay, MT
Maybe you guys could be a holes on someone else's thread? Or maybe try putting posting something useful somewhere 🤷‍♂️. I'd prefer if I get notifications about my thread that they be something worth while and don't have to sort through the garbage you guys are posting.
Actually last Thursday I posted a pretty lengthy post about some real-life experience from hunting and watching bears for the past 18 years Just scroll up 7 or 8 posts, you'll find it. People sometimes joke around on this site, nobody means anything by it. Don't take yourself so seriously.
 
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