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Film: Spring Bear Hunt

Brendan Burns

Spring bear is a great time time of year to get out, burn off some winter fat, test next fall’s hunting gear, and help out the local ungulate population. Black bears are extremely hard on elk calves and deer fawns. My system is all about being light and mobile. Spot and stalk is the only legal method to hunt in Montana (baiting and hounds are prohibited). It’s been my experience that spring bear hunts are 95% looking for a bear to go after and 5% hunting that bear. I try to cover as much country as possible and glass as many prime spots as I can during the best times to hunt, which is usually the last 4 hours of the day. I’ve never had much luck in the mornings, or in the early, cold days of the seasons.

Once the mountains lose most of their snow, and the new green growth starts showing up in large areas, bears are easier to find. It’s also nicer weather the later you hunt, which is a plus after a long winter. A bear on the move can be nearly impossible to catch up with, but a big boar feeding in one area has a good chance of being in the same spot when you get to him. For archery, finding a bear in a good stalkable spot is paramount. Hunting decommissioned logging roads and trails has been the most effective for me. As you can see in the stalk in the film above, keeping the wind in your favor and staying quiet are the key to killing a bear. Contrary to what many people think, bears do have good eyesight when alerted, but rely on their nose and ears to keep them safe from danger. Fool those two senses and the odds are in your favor. Best of luck to everyone this spring.

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