Oregon Spring Bear - Archery Spot and Stalk

TStramp

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Jun 21, 2023
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I am planning on hunting the spring bear in SW Oregon this year. I do not see a lot of information on spot and stalk archery hunting for bears across the internet. This is my first year hunting spring bear, I am committed to hunting with a bow. I curious to why it is not a common weapon for spring bear hunting?

What are some of the challenges of spring bear hunting with a bow?
Any recommendations on arrow setup? I plan on hunting the same arrow as elk (475 grain double bevel broadhead w/ bleeders).
Are bears sensitive to noise as you stalk in on them? I know they have poor eyesight and an incredible sense of smell.
Have people had success using calls? If so, early season vs late?

- TStramp
 

Pitot169

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Feb 24, 2024
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I haven’t hunted them with a bow, been able to sneak in on some spring bears within bow range, but few and far between. It can definitely be done.
Just put the miles on and find them!
Have you hunted that region before?
 
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Good luck! And let us know how it goes.

With the caveat that I’m not a bow hunter, I think it can be done. I would spot and stalk just like rifle hunting.

Bears trust their nose to tell them what’s going on around them, so if you get the wind right and have a bear that’s relatively stationary, stalking in close on a bear is probably easier than getting in on a mule deer buck or something.

Spring wind in the mountains can be a capricious little b;tch, though.
 
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TStramp

TStramp

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I helped a buddy out on a black tail hunt in the Applegate unit this past fall. I have spent more time chasing steelhead on rivers in the unit. I have fished the Illinois, Chetco, Elk, Sixes, and Umpqua. I am leaning towards hunting near those rivers because I am familiar with the access.

I have not seen a bear on any of my fishing trips so it makes it harder to pin point an area to focus on. There a lot of options in the SW unit is a massive area. My goal is to do at least on backpack hunt and try to get away from the roads.

I'll prioritize checking the wind a lot as I stalk in.

- TStramp
 

TripleJ

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This is all my opinion, so you can take it with a grain of salt ha ha. It can definitely be done. If that's what you're committed to, more power to you. However, if your goal is to have a good chance to notch a bear tag with your bow, the fall season is a better time to do, it in my opinion. If you get in the right area and right situation it's definitely more than do-able in the spring. A lot of spring bears, though, seem to pop out right towards dark on the other side of a canyon or in the bottom of a unit. The odds of closing the distance to bow range on a lot of the spring bears I've seen over the years is slim to none. The wind is usually sketchy or wrong, and they can be pretty intolerant to noise if you get close. Fall bears on the other hand tend to hit the same berry patches for several days in a row, and it can be pretty easy to pattern them and slip into bow range that time of year, with stable winds and bears focused on stuffing berries in their face. I am saying this as someone who hunted my first several SW spring bear seasons with a bow only. I saw a lot of bears and had a lot of fun, but most of the time I couldn't even make it to the other side of the canyon before they would disappear. In 2 seasons, I never had a successful stalk. But then again, maybe I was trying to get it done in the wrong types of areas. If you're committed to the bow, you should work to set yourself up for success, and try to identify areas where you had a higher probability of seeing bears at a closer distance and in stalkable locations.
 
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TStramp

TStramp

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I appreciate the insight.

If the bow becomes too much of a struggle and season is winding down, I will most likely ask a buddy to borrow rifle. I do not own one myself. The goal is to get a bear.

The other question is which month is better to commit to a long hunt. I plan on taking time off in April and May to get out there. If you had to choose which month to commit 6 days to, which would you choose and why?

-TStramp
 

taybou

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2 cents, having not done it, but certainly considered it.

If I were committed to a bow, I'd be doing a lot of scouting of closed green grassy roads for sign, and still hunting the brightest green roads I can find, near dark with a good wind. Earlier in the season (April) is probably better since the typical late seasons early rut hunting is much more conducive to hunting with a rifle. More often than not, later in the year I see bears moving, and getting in front of them would be a real challenge.

As someone said, fall is probably a much easier time since bears are more focused on food, and not covering country in the same way.
 
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TStramp

TStramp

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Noted, I will keep that in mind when planning my hunts.

Another questions about SW Oregon. I live in central Oregon, the ticks were out in full force last year during spring turkey. Any insight on what to expect for ticks in SW Oregon during this time of year. I typically run the Argali Rincon without the insert. I am considering investing in the insert to help prevent ticks from getting on me.

-TStramp
 

TripleJ

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I appreciate the insight.

If the bow becomes too much of a struggle and season is winding down, I will most likely ask a buddy to borrow rifle. I do not own one myself. The goal is to get a bear.

The other question is which month is better to commit to a long hunt. I plan on taking time off in April and May to get out there. If you had to choose which month to commit 6 days to, which would you choose and why?

-TStramp
I have seen bears on both opening day and the last day of the spring season. If I had to pick though, to plan a multi-day hunt, I would pick May. I feel like the odds of getting a favorable weather window in May are higher than they are in April. I have had zero luck turning up bears in heavy rain. I know it can be done, but I haven't pulled it off. Sun breaks after a rainstorm are great. So are overcast days and even sunny days. A little drizzle is fine, though it may mess with your visibility. Personally, if it's pouring rain though, I just stay home anymore and save my energy. And April is usually a pretty rainy month. If I'm going to burn gas and time going over there to hunt, I'm going to pick dates that have a higher probability of good weather.
 

bpurtz

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Noted, I will keep that in mind when planning my hunts.

Another questions about SW Oregon. I live in central Oregon, the ticks were out in full force last year during spring turkey. Any insight on what to expect for ticks in SW Oregon during this time of year. I typically run the Argali Rincon without the insert. I am considering investing in the insert to help prevent ticks from getting on me.

-TStramp
I usually bring Sawyers Permethrin spray for gear and around the camp and picaridin lotion for my skin. The insert for your shelter might help a little, but ticks will be on your clothing and you will carry them into the shelter.
 

joehew89

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Feb 14, 2024
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Not hunting over bait and trying to get it done with a bow is hard for obvious reasons. I know some who have tried, I don't know anyone who has succeeded. Most give it a go and after a couple of blown stalks pick up the boom stick. I hope you can get it done. Please report back after your hunt!
 
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TStramp

TStramp

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Not hunting over bait and trying to get it done with a bow is hard for obvious reasons. I know some who have tried, I don't know anyone who has succeeded. Most give it a go and after a couple of blown stalks pick up the boom stick. I hope you can get it done. Please report back after your hunt!
Will do. I'm heading into the bear woods the first weekend of the season and plan on turning up some bears.
 

7mm-08

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A little off subject, but ticks, which you mentioned are no joke. Sitting glassing for bears last spring I had more than 50 ticks on me in one counting. Guess I sat on a nest of the little buggers because I moved (quickly), I still had ticks on me (10 to 20), but not in that horribly high number. Over last summer we had a neighbor die after being bitten by a tick while out hiking in Idaho's mountains around McCall. He was a relatively young (58) guy but WITH compromised immune system issues, the nature of which his wife did not disclose to me. That little lesson taught me to use permethrin and I will do so forevermore.

Good luck on the archey spot and stalk effort - I did it for several years and for the reasons TripleJ mentioned, eventually abandoned that hunting style and switched to a rifle. After all, their damned elk calf predators and deserve/need to be pursued.
 

Bead

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I’ve never had an opportunity on a bear in the spring with a bow, but I’ve heard calf calls work on bringing them in
 
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TStramp

TStramp

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Does anyone know if there is a resource with information on the snow levels in the SW mountains near Medford?

-TStramp
 
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TStramp

TStramp

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This should give you a pretty good idea.
I appreciate it. I was able to talk to a ranger out of Gold Beach, he was full of useful information.

There is a European satellite that passes over Oregon named Sentinel 2. If it is a clear day when the satellite is taking an image you are able to asses snow levels in real time. The quality of the image is impacted by the cloud cover that day, if there are thick clouds over area you are trying to asses you're SOL. It is another resource for understanding terrain conditions.

 
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TStramp

TStramp

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I thought I should report back on how the first hunt went. The terrain is demanding, weather was perfect, and not a lot of bear sign.

- TStramp
 

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