The opportunity to hunt bear in the spring is something I look forward to every year.
It’s a chance to shake off the affects of old man winter and roam the mountains where the new growth and promise of spring time abound. There are three basic ways to hunt bear here in Idaho, all having their positive aspects, spot and stalk, hound hunting and baiting.
1. Spot and stalk bear hunting is probably the most challenging of the three as far as success rates are concerned. What’s wonderful about it is the setting it puts you in! In order to be successful at this technique, a hunter has to place himself on a high point overlooked a large tract of unbroken country and when a bear is spotted the long stalk gets underway. Most of the time the stalk doesn’t pan out, but it doesn’t matter, what’s wonderful about this type of hunting is just the chance to be out in nature. The elk are spawning the next generation as are the deer with their fawns and the bright green mountainsides are a sight to behold. There’s just something special about the rebirth of a new year.
2. Hound hunting for bear, admittedly is not for everyone. It is by far the most grueling type of bear hunting. To successfully follow a pack of tonguing hounds across the rugged western mountains you must have steel in their legs and ample lung capacity. But to those who do it, it’s rewarding in a way that only they can appreciate. It’s about raising a clumsy little pup with long floppy ears into a full grown hunting dog with a heart to take on any adversary and a love only for the game he seeks and of course the master who raised him.
3. Baiting has become a controversial method of hunting bears in the recent years but it is an absolute necessity if we are to keep bear numbers in check for the future. Here in Idaho, its widely considered that bear numbers are close to their peek and without this important technique in our repertoire bear numbers would overflow just like they have in California to where they are inhabiting residential areas and reeking havoc on personal property.
In closing, spring bear hunting is a sport that everyone should get to enjoy and by all three of these techniques. It’s part of our western heritage, a wonderful activity in the spring time and most importantly a key method in controlling a burgeoning population that if left unchecked could devastate ungulate populations and cause problems with humans as well.