2024 Idaho Spring Bear

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M_E_

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Hi Rockslide,

I wasn't going to be able to head out for bear this Spring, but looks like some days opened up in mid/late June so I am going to head out into the mountains to try and find some bears. I know that time of the year is not ideal, but better than not getting out at all. I have been reading threads up and down and doing my research to try and find a good areas to focus in on. When it comes to hunting, i'm physically fit and willing to push to try and find some bears.

Still debating if I am going to do an archery or rifle hunt, but either way should be a good time. My plan is to drive in, get high and see if I can put eyes on a bear and give calling a go if I find a good area. I have narrowed it down to a few places, and would love any info on experiences or possibly other area suggestions I may not be looking at. Not looking for honey holes, just looking for general areas to go to and I can research from there. Here are the places I am thinking as of now:

1. Sawtooth
2. Selway
3. Frank Church

Any other areas I should be looking at?

Thank you!
 

mo1826

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The areas you mention include basically all of Idaho where the season goes into June. The f&g website has harvest statistics that might tell you where you'll be better off.
 

sneaky

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Glad you narrowed it down to about 5 million acres. Now you're ready lol

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Those areas are wilderness areas. You might not be able to get in very far because of access, spring time water flows, and snow. Look up on Google earth, onX, or goHUNT maps to get a better idea of what you’re going to run into. Definitely going to be either middle of the rut or tail end of it. Dependent, on what time in June you go. I know in the Frank church at least, harvest rates are not very high because of limited access. I assume it’s the same in the other areas too. If you’re looking for a harvest, I would probably look at the harvest rates and pick out other areas that have statistically shown better harvest rates. Just my two cents, it ain’t worth much these days.
 
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The northern third of Idaho has a very good bear population. Unfortunately it is heavily treed. If you can find clear cuts or burns, you will usually find bears. Even with the heavy cover, I see more bears per day up north than down south.
 
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M_E_

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Those areas are wilderness areas. You might not be able to get in very far because of access, spring time water flows, and snow. Look up on Google earth, onX, or goHUNT maps to get a better idea of what you’re going to run into. Definitely going to be either middle of the rut or tail end of it. Dependent, on what time in June you go. I know in the Frank church at least, harvest rates are not very high because of limited access. I assume it’s the same in the other areas too. If you’re looking for a harvest, I would probably look at the harvest rates and pick out other areas that have statistically shown better harvest rates. Just my two cents, it ain’t worth much these days.
Makes sense, thank you. I took a look, and adjusted my plan/target areas a bit. Thinking I am going to stick to a bit further north. Harvest looks good, Im more familiar with the area and now to just find some good clear areas. Thanks again!
 

tjr

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Makes sense, thank you. I took a look, and adjusted my plan/target areas a bit. Thinking I am going to stick to a bit further north. Harvest looks good, Im more familiar with the area and now to just find some good clear areas. Thanks again!
Good call.

Access is crucial. Bears live everywhere. Might as well learn to hunt them in places that are easier to get to. You'll spend more time hunting and less time bushwhacking. Also, water crossings can be a real pain that time of year (or any time of year, really), so I'd stick to places with better road/trail accessibility.

If you happen to have an airplane, whitewater raft, or mules, those wilderness areas are pretty tough to beat. We see A LOT of bears in the places you mentioned. Getting in & packing an animal out, however, can be pretty tough when you're hunting deep.
 
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M_E_

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Good call.

Access is crucial. Bears live everywhere. Might as well learn to hunt them in places that are easier to get to. You'll spend more time hunting and less time bushwhacking. Also, water crossings can be a real pain that time of year (or any time of year, really), so I'd stick to places with better road/trail accessibility.

If you happen to have an airplane, whitewater raft, or mules, those wilderness areas are pretty tough to beat. We see A LOT of bears in the places you mentioned. Getting in & packing an animal out, however, can be pretty tough when you're hunting deep.
Very true! Wish I had a plane or some mules...would make all my hunts easier. Who knows...maybe someday! But for now in agreeance with choosing areas with better access.

Thinking unit 4 or 6 would be good. Possibly 10. Going to do a bit more onx/google earth research and go from there. Thanks again for the help!!
 

tjr

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Very true! Wish I had a plane or some mules...would make all my hunts easier. Who knows...maybe someday! But for now in agreeance with choosing areas with better access.

Thinking unit 4 or 6 would be good. Possibly 10. Going to do a bit more onx/google earth research and go from there. Thanks again for the help!!
Good luck 👍🏼

I hunt 4, 6, and 7 quite a bit (sometimes 9, 10, and 12 if I wanna fish too) via pickup and dirt bike. You can very easily drive into bear country throughout those units and still be within a reasonable distance from a gas station and a hot meal. If I have less than 3 days, those units are top choices.

For the deeper parts of units 12, 17, 19, 20, 27…this is my recommended method:
 

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Very true! Wish I had a plane or some mules...would make all my hunts easier. Who knows...maybe someday! But for now in agreeance with choosing areas with better access.

Thinking unit 4 or 6 would be good. Possibly 10. Going to do a bit more onx/google earth research and go from there. Thanks again for the help!!
Just know the difference in vegetation in 10. It’s similar to 6. The grassy areas on OnX and Google Earth look like grass but when you get out here brush fields are massive, tall, and thick.
 
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M_E_

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Just know the difference in vegetation in 10. It’s similar to 6. The grassy areas on OnX and Google Earth look like grass but when you get out here brush fields are massive, tall, and thick.
Good to know, thank you! Looked like more open areas which is one reason I was thinking it could be good..sounds like tough glassing.
 
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M_E_

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Good luck 👍🏼

I hunt 4, 6, and 7 quite a bit (sometimes 9, 10, and 12 if I wanna fish too) via pickup and dirt bike. You can very easily drive into bear country throughout those units and still be within a reasonable distance from a gas station and a hot meal. If I have less than 3 days, those units are top choices.

For the deeper parts of units 12, 17, 19, 20, 27…this is my recommended method:
Well that is the method I wish I had..would be able to get way into some good area! Yeah, all seems very accessible. Fishing would be fun too during the day. Planning on camping out there so don’t need to be super close but would also be nice to be able to easily pop out and head to another area if we aren’t seeing what we’re looking for. What elevations in 4,6,10 are you usually shooting for late in the season?
 

BearGuy

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Unit 12 is also brushy and not grass in the open areas. E-Scouted extensively for a trip a few years ago in that unit, got there and was severely disappointed and made a last second switch to a different spot i never scouted and it was much much better.
 
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Good to know, thank you! Looked like more open areas which is one reason I was thinking it could be good..sounds like tough glassing.
Just zoom in, less vegetated stuff usually is grass or Forbs but that thicker stuff is elderberry, choke cherry, maple, alder brush, or ceanothus. Definitely wish some hot fires would break out to get rid of it one of these years. Need more grass not only to make bear hunting easier but to improve the elk population. I did see an elk calf this morning so bears will be looking to become baby snatchers.

I don’t know where you’re from, but a lot of folks definitely do some e scouting. When they get here all of them say “no wonder why there’s a lot of bear baits right off roads out here”
 
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