Idaho black bear units 62 & 62a

IAhawks84

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Hey everyone,
I am new to the site and figured I may as well chime in. My wife and I were scheduled to go on our first African Safari in April, until we found out a pleasant surprise in January that she is pregnant. It is strongly advised by our obgyn that she does not go to Africa. Long story short, I am not going to leave her home alone while I go spend a bunch of money and do something both of us were very much looking forward to.

With that said, it has been my dads dream to go and hunt elk in Idaho. I’ve always wanted to spot and stalk black bears, so we purchased tags for 2019. We are trying to use this as a bit of a scouting trip as well for a future diy elk hunt. We are going to be going may 3-11. I am hoping that some folks on here have some experience as we are from Iowa and we have never been to Idaho. We were looking at units and were looking at units 62, and 62a. Does anyone have any experience in these area? The numbers are not as high as other units, but it there are no baiters or hounds.

From what I have read there are plenty of grizzlies in this area. Are there any issues with that? Would anyone have any advice for first time bear hunters. Thank you all very much.
 

Professor

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I followed your thread on another forum and I must say you made the right choice. I am doing the same thing you are. Was planning a DIY elk hunt for me and my son, but decided I had to get out there and scout, so naturally we want to see about bears since it is spring. I have been looking at units further north so I can not say much about the island park area. I cant say about 62 and 62a, but several have expressed to me to wait until after memorial day to hunt my units of interest. (the Montana border to Canada starting in unit 21)
 

IAhawks84

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I followed your thread on another forum and I must say you made the right choice. I am doing the same thing you are. Was planning a DIY elk hunt for me and my son, but decided I had to get out there and scout, so naturally we want to see about bears since it is spring. I have been looking at units further north so I can not say much about the island park area. I cant say about 62 and 62a, but several have expressed to me to wait until after memorial day to hunt my units of interest. (the Montana border to Canada starting in unit 21)
The way I see it, it’ll be a good week away from work and time to explore the mountains. A nature hike with the rifle. We were thinking that area just because it’s closest and there doesn’t seem to be anything but spot and stalk. I will be happy to just see some bears.
 

elker

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62 and 62A has quite a few bears, Grizzlies in that area too being close to YNP. Fairly thick in most areas. Personally, I like the more northern units and set up baits to watch in the evenings, spot and stalk during the daytime. Late May, early June is best due to snow conditions. That area has gotten a fair amount of snow so far.
 

IAhawks84

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Are there usually many issues with grizzlies other than picking them out from the brown black bears? We’re planning on carrying our guns obviously, but also bear spray just in case. Is there anything else that you’d advise?
From the map it looks like a lot of forest, but we assumed we’d be able to get on some ridges and watch tree lines, since the results have shown people successfully spot and stalking. Our plan is to head out, start there, and move if we need to.
We’re looking for bears to eat as well as keep for furs. From what I’ve read in other places we’d be better off to go early May before the bears are rubbed out? Again, I have zero experience in bear hunting other than videos I’ve watched. I’ve only seen a few bears in the wild out hiking, so any knowledge your willing to pass along is appreciated. Thanks!
 

Red Fox

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Island Park ID
I hunted area 62A last year about the same time as you are talking about. I was not able to get to where I wanted to go but found some good sign. I did end up moving to a different area with less snow. This year we have got even more snow so don't plan to get after it until later this year.
 

cboslcc

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That area is absolutely beautiful, I spend quite of bit of time in that area all summer and fall. As mentioned earlier it is prime bear country, lots of grizzlies in the area. You need to be fully prepared for an encounter with a grizzly, bear spray is a must for everyone in your party. I would buy an extra one and practice deploying it so you are familiar with how to use it. This winter the area has seen significant amounts of snow, more than last year. To give you an idea, last Mothers Day weekend there was still several feet of snow in the lower areas. The roads and trails leading up to the higher country may still be snow packed that early in May and difficult to access. Bring your fly pole with you as it is a blue ribbon trout fishing area.
 

IAhawks84

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We’ve purchased our tags already and designated our 3 free fishing days, so we were hoping to get the opportunity for some fishing. If it is just difficult hiking, we are ok with that. If it is completely inaccessible, then that is a different story. Being from Iowa we do not have too many encounters with grizzlies. I’ve had one encounter personally with each a black bear and a grizzly in Denali and Yosemite. No issues with either, but those are also park bears that are used to people. We are both planning on carrying bear spray for sure regardless of which location we choose. Thank you guys for all of the information.
 

IAhawks84

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I guess that I should also note that the reason we were looking to go that early is because we were hoping for bears that we could get made into rugs. From the research I’ve done, it’s recommended to go in early May for the better fur quality and more bears out. If there is any truth to this I’m not sure, but I’ve just read it in a few blogs.
 

Red Fox

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Good luck, let us know how it goes.

I plan to get out after the 15th or a little later depending how long the snow sticks around. They don't start to rub their hides until it starts to warm up a little later.
 

OverlordBear

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Hey Iowa Hawk, I live in unit 62. The public land is very heavily wooded without a ton of unobstructed views for spot and stalk. I saw lots of bear sign in Caribou Tar-ghee forests spring 2018, both Grizz and Black Bear tracks and scat. The most reasonable tactic might be, to walk the creeks and rivers fly fishing with your rifles and if you see a bear or cut sign, then stop the fishing trip and start bear hunting. The trout is pretty good in those rivers especially for fly fishing, but a lot of people stay out of them because they do not like tangling with Grizzly Bears. There is a pack of wolves in there that would be worth adding a $37 buck non resident tag to your pocket. Well good luck.
 

IAhawks84

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Hey Iowa Hawk, I live in unit 62. The public land is very heavily wooded without a ton of unobstructed views for spot and stalk. I saw lots of bear sign in Caribou Tar-ghee forests spring 2018, both Grizz and Black Bear tracks and scat. The most reasonable tactic might be, to walk the creeks and rivers fly fishing with your rifles and if you see a bear or cut sign, then stop the fishing trip and start bear hunting. The trout is pretty good in those rivers especially for fly fishing, but a lot of people stay out of them because they do not like tangling with Grizzly Bears. There is a pack of wolves in there that would be worth adding a $37 buck non resident tag to your pocket. Well good luck.
I spoke with Josh from fish and game out there. He says it is a great area to hunt bears, but just take time and be cautious due to the number of grizzlies in the area. As stated above, he said there has been a lot of snow this winter, but he said do not let that detour us. He mentioned that it was pretty heavily wooded, but suggested covering a lot of ground, and looking for the patches of grass that snow has melted. I was told to look into the wolf tag just the other day. I will definitely do that. I’d never forgive myself if I saw one and didn’t go for the $37 tag.
We have a free 3 day fishing pass with our hunting tag. We have never fly fished being from Iowa. To be honest, I’ve never fished for trout period. We just have normal fishing poles, would you suggest bringing those with some fly lures?
Thanks for the info!
 

OverlordBear

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I would definitely bring the fly lures and there is room to use traditional tackle on most rivers and creeks and it is a good way to pass the time when you want to take a break from the bear hunting. Bring snow shoes if you come during April the shade sides of the ridges will have some deep snow and drifts in parts.
 

IAhawks84

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I would definitely bring the fly lures and there is room to use traditional tackle on most rivers and creeks and it is a good way to pass the time when you want to take a break from the bear hunting. Bring snow shoes if you come during April the shade sides of the ridges will have some deep snow and drifts in parts.
We’re not quite sure where in unit 62a we will be going for sure. Neither of us have ever been out there and it is a scouting trip just as much as a bear hunt trip. If it is not to our liking, or we are not having much luck we may try a whole different location.

We were thinking about tenting it. When we spoke with fish and game, he said it will still kinda be winter there (May 3-11). He said not super harsh winter, but none the less snow and it will still be chilly. We have cold weather sleeping gear, and may bring out an enclosed trailer for our 4 wheeler. We figured we could always set up our cots in there with a heater going. If there is a town close we may just try to find lodging if we freeze our nuts off for a couple night anyways haha.

We have never trout fished before. We don’t have many opportunities here in Iowa. I have had it before and it is delicious. We got a free 3 day fishing pass with our hunting licenses. We plan on using it for sure. We don’t have fly rods, but we’ll pack our open faced reels and see what we come up with. I’ll have to research baits, lures, rules, and techniques.

We really wanted to do spot and stalk for our hunt. The fish and game guy (Josh?) said he thought we had a pretty solid plan and that coming out with the snow may work to our advantage. I don’t know if he was blowing smoke or not, but our vacation days are in already. We were just planning on covering a lot of ground on the 4 wheeler, hiking the streams looking for sign, and glassing drainages and the south facing slopes that have snow melted with grass showing through. As I said in the post, neither of us have bear hunted before, so it will be interesting for sure. Josh did mention that there is an abundance of bears, both grizzly and black in 62A. He said there are a lot of good sized black bears as well. Hopefully we get to find out.

Fish and game made sure to warn me about grizzlies. I have had a little bit of experience with bear encounters. I’ve come across them in Denali and Yosemite parks. He said your bears aren’t Alaska bears, but I said there also not park bears either so I’m sure they are not as used to human encounters either. He said to just take it slow, be very quiet, and pay close attention and we should not have any issues.

One thing I am either missing or isn’t listed is about 4 wheelers. Do you, or anyone happen to know if I need to get some kind of pass or license for our 4 wheeler? We went to Wyoming on an elk hunt and we needed it there.

We were also looking to do some scouting for an elk hunt in 2020. If these units are pretty heavily wooded I’m not so sure they would be great for spot and stalking elk either. We’re hoping to see some elk or elk sign, otherwise we’ll probably try to make some time to check out a few other spots for that.

If anyone hasany tips/advice or anything that you’d like to pass along would surely be appreciated. If you ever decide to come to the Midwest for a big whitetail, don’t be shy! Thanks!
 

MeatyWapiti

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I grew up camping in that area and hunted it last fall for elk. Seen lots of bear and elk sign. Depending on where you go some of the roads are paved up in the mountains because of logging companies. It's got good places to camp as well but I'm not sure if the snow will melt enough to get too far off the road. As far as I know with your 4 wheeler as long as its registered in Iowa it shouldn't be a problem, you dont need a special pass or anything to ride just be careful of the park boundary.
 

IAhawks84

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I grew up camping in that area and hunted it last fall for elk. Seen lots of bear and elk sign. Depending on where you go some of the roads are paved up in the mountains because of logging companies. It's got good places to camp as well but I'm not sure if the snow will melt enough to get too far off the road. As far as I know with your 4 wheeler as long as its registered in Iowa it shouldn't be a problem, you dont need a special pass or anything to ride just be careful of the park boundary.
Thank you for the information!
 

flatcoat

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I live in 65, but I bird hunt in the SE corner of 62 quite a bit and we have Brown bears showing up with regularity there. That said I see Black bears eating road kill on Highway 31 commonly in the winter. There is a fair bit of public land and you'd likely be able to spot bears from some of the canyon rims. I see them down on the river with regularity but usually later in the year when it gets warm. Watch for snakes if you end up down there. 62A is Grizz central, I've had some close encounters fishing some of the obscure creeks there and avoid it now. Ask Rich at Trouthunter about bears in the area...
 
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