Early Season Spring Bear Hunting Strategies
Spring bear hunting is the perfect way for the die-hard big game hunter to extend their season. Late April through early May can be one of the best times to harvest a mature bruin, but it is essential to understand how bears behave in the early season. In this article, we will explore our favorite tactics for the first few weeks of spring bear season.
What States have OTC Spring Bear Hunts?
The following states all offer over the country spring bear hunts. All of these states provide great opportunities to harvest mature bears.
Where to find bears in the early season?
As the snowline retreats up the mountain, bears will start emerging from their dens. Finding denning areas is not as difficult as it may seem. Bears will often den on south facing, steep, rocky faces with lots of green grass and moss. Google Earth can be a great tool to help identify slopes with these features. When picking areas to hunt during the early season, remember that some mountain ranges will be completely melted out by the start of the season, but some mountain ranges will not melt out until mid-May. Be sure to check the snowline in the areas you are planning on hunting to ensure that you don’t show up to find a winter wonderland instead of a green slope.
Finding quality vantage points is key for maximizing your time behind the glass. Although it can be tempting to glass from roads running through the bottom of the canyons you are hunting, hiking to a higher elevation will often provide a much better field of view. Often times, bears will stick close to the snowline. Getting to a similar elevation of the snowline on the face you are glassing will usually provide optimal vantage points. Bears can be active at any time of the day but glassing during the last two hours of light is often the best way to catch bears on the move.
A quality glassing set-up tops the gear list for most bear hunting situations. Low light performance and comfort is critical for long glassing sessions during the last few hours of light. Our top choice for bear hunting binoculars is the new SWAROVSKI EL RANGE WITH TRACKING ASSISTANT 10X42. These binoculars combine top of the line glass with a 2200-yard rangefinder, Applied Ballistics, and a tracking assistant, making them perfect for cross-canyon shot scenarios. The Swarovski ATX 95mm coupled with the BTX eye piece is our top choice for a bear hunting spotter. This system provides a wide field of view and the highest amount of comfort you can achieve with a spotting scope set-up. Throw either of these products on top of a Sirui ET-1204 tripod for an ultra-stable glassing platform.
written by: Max DeMarco