Trinity Area Fall Bear Hunt

Joined
Jun 4, 2018
Messages
28
Hey everyone, first time posting but I've had a ton of questions answered on this site over the past couple years, so thanks!

I live on the Central Coast in CA and I've been concentrating on elk and deer hunting MT for the past few falls (I used to live up there) but I didn't draw a tag this year. I want to switch things up a bit and go for a fall black bear backpacking hunt here in California. I've got my eyes set on the Trinity Alps area and I've been doing the full dive on mapping. I've already got a ton of info from the site through searching but I had a few more specific questions to help me narrow where I map. The area is HUGE with so much public land. Also, not looking for anybody's spot, just a few answers! Also, we'll be hunting rifle season, probably the opener so I'm guessing the acorns could be in play. We may wait a couple weeks to let the deer hunting pressure calm down a little from the opener, too. I'll have a deer tag in my pocket, just in case I get a chance to put some meat in the freezer but I want to concentrate on a bear this year.

As I said, I want to do a backpack hunt, but I don't necessarily need to go 10 miles in and I definitely don't have much interest in having to haul a bear out from that far! I don't mind hiking and hauling meat out on my back, and I've done it before, so I know how hard it is. I will have help from a buddy, but if it's a little shorter hike out, neither one of us would mind. From what I've read there are tons of bears in the area and if I put in the time and effort it should be a good hunt. I keep reading about manzanita berries and acorns being the prime food sources, and that's where my first question comes in.

What elevations do the oaks and manzanitas grow up to? Seems like the mountains around the area are pretty high, and I'm just not sure if there's a high mark I should limit myself to for maximum potential on these particular food sources? I've never been to the area and I just want to narrow where I'm looking because it is a long drive up and I'll probably be limited to one good scouting trip. It's just so huge, I've got a few areas identified to start but it looks like a LOT of ground to possibly cover.

Any help is appreciated!
 

Buffalo

FNG
Joined
Sep 30, 2019
Messages
35
Manzanita grows from 2000 to above 7000 ft that I’ve seen. I’m sure it goes beyond this range too. I’d avoid hunting the manzanita unless it’s pretty sparse. Oaks are a bit lower. Scrubs oaks up to about 5000 ft. If there’s still blackberries around they’ll be eating those. You might be on the tail end of berries and the front end of acorns.
 
OP
S
Joined
Jun 4, 2018
Messages
28
@Buffalo thanks for the details. I didn’t realize the scrub oak went that high. I keep learning more as I poke around the forum, I think I really just need to get out there and walk around!
 
Joined
Mar 20, 2021
Messages
93
There are a metric ton of bears in the trinitys my group saw over 10 during deer season in a 5 day trip . Your best elevation is going to depend on date and weather I’d say before October stay higher than 6k and if after nov1 4K and below
 
Joined
Aug 26, 2019
Messages
37
As Yote said, the area holds a TON of bears. I backpacked the area for awhile before I started hunting and didn't think much of the bears, but once I started peaking through glass, it was shocking how many were cruising around. The Trinity Alps are a special place, maybe I'll bump into you up there.
 

Blacktailaddiction

Lil-Rokslider
Joined
Nov 3, 2020
Messages
108
I hunt just north of you in the applegate unit in Oregon, not very successful but have learned a lot in the last 2 years of hunting hard. Focus on blackberries if they are ripe, bears love them and just sit there for hours eating. Sounds like you’re hunting later than that though, I would then focus on open areas that you can see through like meadows or clearings, I’ve found deer will walk the edges of those, but a bear isn’t afraid to be in the open if it knows there aren’t any cars and people nearby. Active throughout the day but most active at sunset and mid morning. The bears definitely leave the higher elevations where I’m at and come back when the snow is gone usually. Those with more knowledge please correct me if I’m wrong but that has been my general observation.
 
Joined
May 2, 2016
Messages
559
Location
Reno, NV
This will be a backup area for myself if I don't get it done during archery season. Bit of a drive from Reno, but from my research it would be worth it. Find the acorns, find the bears with some patience.
 

ericacymcdonald

Lil-Rokslider
Joined
Dec 22, 2020
Messages
254
Bears are everywhere in the Alps, seen 3 just last weekend up there. It's dependent on weather but you'll probably be in between the berries and acorns opening weekend so they will be spread across elevations. I know you want to do a backpacking trip but don't overlook the outskirts in some of the logged areas they can be better then the Alps at times.
 
OP
S
Joined
Jun 4, 2018
Messages
28
Bears are everywhere in the Alps, seen 3 just last weekend up there. It's dependent on weather but you'll probably be in between the berries and acorns opening weekend so they will be spread across elevations. I know you want to do a backpacking trip but don't overlook the outskirts in some of the logged areas they can be better then the Alps at times.
Thanks for the advice! I've been looking at some logged areas and wondering if they'd hold bears. I wouldn't mind walking some gated roads and glassing as a weekend-long backup if things don't work out on my backpacking trip. I've also got a small fat tire motorcycle that I can get into some further spots to start walking from, if motorized traffic is allowed. It's looking like we'll be waiting a little longer than opening weekend now due to some personal obligations so may have to change up the strategy a little!
 

ericacymcdonald

Lil-Rokslider
Joined
Dec 22, 2020
Messages
254
Thanks for the advice! I've been looking at some logged areas and wondering if they'd hold bears. I wouldn't mind walking some gated roads and glassing as a weekend-long backup if things don't work out on my backpacking trip. I've also got a small fat tire motorcycle that I can get into some further spots to start walking from, if motorized traffic is allowed. It's looking like we'll be waiting a little longer than opening weekend now due to some personal obligations so may have to change up the strategy a little!
How times have changed in the last 2 weeks lol, since the first all the logging land up there is closed due to fire danger. Looks like we're all going to be crowded into the wilderness
 
OP
S
Joined
Jun 4, 2018
Messages
28
How times have changed in the last 2 weeks lol, since the first all the logging land up there is closed due to fire danger. Looks like we're all going to be crowded into the wilderness
Hahah, I just posted about having a fire backup plan…wasn’t expecting things to change this early though!
 

ledflight

WKR
Joined
Jun 21, 2018
Messages
463
Location
Brooklyn, NY
Very interested from afar. I have family in Eureka and while not hunters, are outdoors-y enough I could maybe cajole my brother into a hunt out there.
 
OP
S
Joined
Jun 4, 2018
Messages
28
Reviving my old thread here because I'm FINALLY going to make it up to the Trinity Alps. Got smoked out by wildfires in 21, had a baby girl that kept me from going last year. Headed up Friday evening, and I've got all next week off of work to chase bears. Does anyone have any current info on the area as far as feed or actual bear sightings? Looks like it's gotten wetter and colder over the last few days with more on the way.

I'm wondering if the bears stay up in the mountains once the weather turns like this? Plan is to be hunting at 5-7,000 feet. I know others have said that I should check the logged/lower areas and I'm thinking this may be even better advice given the weather right now but also would really like to get out with the pack and spend time in the wilderness. I don't mind the pack out and I've got help. But I want to see bears more than anything!

Any advice would be very appreciated!
 

Discokid

FNG
Joined
Dec 6, 2023
Messages
1
Any updates from your Trinity hunt? I’m new to the forum and getting back into hunting in general. I’m planning on heading up to Trinity next week in search for a bear. I think it’s pretty late in the season but I’m hoping to see something. I hunted deer season in a couple other areas of the state with no luck so I’m hoping I can make something happen with this last trip for the year. I’m also hoping to do some scouting for next year and start figuring out the land.
 
OP
S
Joined
Jun 4, 2018
Messages
28
Saw bears, but couldn’t quite put it together before having to hike out way earlier than planned due to my hunting partner having some issues that had to be dealt with back home.

But I’m convinced that if you go into the Trinity’s and don’t see bears you aren’t looking! We hiked into the wilderness about 6-7 miles from the trailhead and found a really good area where we saw multiple bears literally every single time we sat down and glassed.

Others gave me the advice to hunt the logged areas and I’m sure there are plenty of bears down there too. I’ll definitely be back next year with a more dependable partner, and will likely aim for areas where the pack out won’t be so bad.
 
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