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Author Topic: Wenaha Spring Bear Hunt  (Read 2184 times)

Offline BlackRiverTaxidermy

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Wenaha Spring Bear Hunt
« on: June 26, 2017, 05:25:01 PM »
Nope, didn't fill a tag, but not for lack of trying with the limited time I had. Did research, studied maps, and even found bears, but nothing that I was really looking for. Thought I'd post a little about the hunt, some photos just to show the beautiful country and give some ideas to ones that draw this tag in the years to come.
After finding out I drew the tag I was pretty jacked and got some very good information from a couple of members here on Hunt-Wa (you know who you are and thank you!). First trip was mid late April. I mostly hunting from the Three Forks Trailhead area and due to snow, found out the best way to get to that trailhead system was down I-5 through I-84 up from Oregon. FYI...I bought 3 different maps of the area and NONE of them clearly marked the right route to Three Forks Campground/Trailhead. It was about 2 hours after you get off the pavement to get to the spot and all the backroads were incorrect on the map system! Thank God for Google Earth!
The ground is amazing and the epitome of bear country. Ive spent a few years hunting bulls in Idaho in some remote and steep ground and this place definitely is a close rival as far as steep. The intel from Hunt Wa members and a Bio at WDFW was really informative and helped a tremendous amount. I spent the first evening simply glassing areas and high meadows that I wanted to pursue the following day. The next morning brought about an inch of snow and cold temps. After a quick breakfast and a loaded pack I hiked well into a back canyon I was told about. The trail petered out quickly and I chose the high route and climbed a ridge and side-hilled several miles back into the headwaters of the canyon. It was clear why this area produced some good bruins and every corner I came to was littered with awesome meadows and feed coupled with brush choked watersheds and timber draws. I spent all day and I swear my eyes ached from time behind the glass. Evening produced better luck however and I almost RAN into a young black bear. I was side-hilling and heard something above me. About the time I was able to determine where the noise came from a black head with two ears peeked over a rocky edge looking down at me. I could tell immediately it was about  2-3 year old and not exactly what I was looking for (sorry no picks as he surprised the hell out of me). It was solid black, which I was told by several people that's a rarity in that area plus I was really seeking a chocolate colored bear. 12 hours of hiking took me into some good and remote ground, evening finding an old misery whip amongst the remains of a burnt cabin, remnants only of the saw, a metal bunk bed, stove and few fry pans. On my return trip to the truck late in the evening I did also glass up a good bear, another solid black, but after watching it for about 15 minutes I found it to be a sow with two awesome looking cubs. One was a great chocolate cub, the other was a blonde with a chocolate strip running right down its back.....would love to see that cub again in about 4 years. They were older cubs (probably year olds), but still I passed, waiting for a good chocolate. Back late at the truck it started to snow, hard, and I made the tough decision to leave the area with fear of not being able to get out as several of the road spots were already questionable with more previous snow and rain fall.
I returned the first week in June, I had more days this time to hunt, but I never saw one bear. I had planned the trip based upon the weather reports of clear skies and moderate temps, however the weather-man needs to be fired and the 4 days I was there was riddled with a combination of heavy cloud cover, thunderstorms, deluge rain, and occasional hail. Several afternoons did clear enough to get some good glassing in, however I couldn't find or glass a bear to save my life. I spent those days in a combination of hiking into Three Forks and also from up top near Misery, putting some good miles on the boots and behind the glass. Ran into several other tag holders and had a some good times talking to them, however disappointed to hear their news was the same even after some serious hikes themselves. I was going to stay another yet another day, however the clouds rolled in and the following morning brought cloud cover so thick you couldn't see 50 yards in front of you. After some early breakfast and a lunch of Mountain House I was still waiting for the clouds to clear with no avail. I felt this way on my trip home from a backcountry Idaho archery elk hunt years ago, also with an unfilled tag; I was extremely satisfied, no doubt a little disappointed, but happy with the seeing the country, being the in woods, actually seeing some bears, and also holding off on just 'any bear' and waiting for the one I wanted even though it never showed itself. 
I hope to draw this tag again and had a blast hunting it in my limited amount of time between my two jobs (firefighter & taxidermist). I would gladly tender any information to anyone that draws this tag in the upcoming years and even though my tag was not filled I got to meet and talk with some great sportsman, see some new and tremendous ground, pick a few shed horns, and still got to see some bears. Again, thank you to those that helped me in the beginning with tips and information. Joel -Enjoy the pics
« Last Edit: June 26, 2017, 05:34:59 PM by BlackRiverTaxidermy »
360-789-5056- Joel Swecker-BRT

Offline JakeLand

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Re: Wenaha Spring Bear Hunt
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2017, 10:19:30 PM »
Great write up and hunting! Still a successful hunt !!

Offline Molon5labe

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Re: Wenaha Spring Bear Hunt
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2017, 08:09:34 AM »
Good read, thanks!

PS, I got your voicemail message on Friday.  :tup:

Offline Magnum_Willys

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Re: Wenaha Spring Bear Hunt
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2017, 08:24:14 AM »
Werent those hillsides awesome !

Offline Machias

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Re: Wenaha Spring Bear Hunt
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2017, 09:04:20 AM »
Awesome write up, thanks for sharing!
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Offline Eric M

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Re: Wenaha Spring Bear Hunt
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2017, 09:13:12 AM »
Thanks for the story!

Offline X-Force

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Re: Wenaha Spring Bear Hunt
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2017, 08:20:29 AM »
 :yeah: :tup:
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Offline saylean

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Re: Wenaha Spring Bear Hunt
« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2017, 08:42:35 AM »
Might not of filled a tag, but you made some memories and scored some sweet antler sheds. I'd take that any day. Thanks for posting!
Author of "No Bait Just Bears" and "The Ultimate Guide To Black Bear Hunting". Follow on Instagram: bozeandbears. Creator of Ultimate Predator Calls App for iOS and Android.


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