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Big Game Hunting => Bear Hunting => Topic started by: Bango skank on August 18, 2019, 09:30:10 AM

Title: Educational call-in
Post by: Bango skank on August 18, 2019, 09:30:10 AM
Calling in this sow for my second tag was a pretty educational experience for me, as this was the first time i actually had my eyes on a predator before i started calling.  Always before ive just cold called in areas with good sign.
  The area id been hunting is just infested with range cattle, and some of them had really bad attitudes.  Theyve been a pain in my butt every day, so i decided to bail out to an area with no cattle.  I remembered an area i went and explored a little in 2017, and found lots of berries, water and bear scat.  Decided that would be the perfect place to go.  On my drive up the mountain i came around a curve just in time to see a smallish bear scramble down out of a tree and take off like its ass was on fire, figured that was a good omen.
  I parked my truck a half mile down the road from an old overgrown grassy skidder that goes up into a real nice hillside filled with huckleberries and semi open timber.  Walked down to the skidder and started sneaking up it looking for a good calling location.  Didnt get maybe 100 yards up the skidder before i caught a black blob moving through the timber feeding on berries maybe 200 yards out, downhill from me, maybe a little further.
  I took my pack off, sat under a small pine right on the edge of the skidder, and with my eyes on the bear i started calling.  I wasnt doing the screaming, dying, panicked critter sound like people tend to do a lot.  I was just mimicking the sound a fawn makes when its calling for its mom.  Just calm little bleats, nothing frantic or screeching.  The second i made the first bleat she came at me, absolutely instant reaction.  She came up a ways then stopped to listen, so i did another bleat or two and she came running in again, closed some distance then stopped.  Wash rinse repeat.  All in all i probably did 6 or 7 calm fawn bleats before she was in a good spot for me to shoot, about 40 yards out.  It only took about one minute. This was kind of an eye opener for me, the way that very first bleat she instantly started running uphill looking for me, and would stop and look / listen / smell after not hearing anything for a few seconds, then one more little bleat had her closing the gap again.
  This has me rethinking my approach to calling bears.  I know everybody says call for an hour, but ive never had anything, bear cougar whatever, show up after the 30 minute mark.  This bear came in the second she heard me, and to calm fawn bleats.  When i call i generally do the calm, non wounded fawn call thing for the first half hour, and then, getting discouraged, ill often start the more frantic "im getting killed" type of calling.  But i seem to get my action, with bears at least, from the earlier, calm fawn bleats.  I think im done making 45+ minute calling sessions with a loud ruckus.  For one thing i just havent been successful that way, and for another, if i end up calling for an hour, doing the louder, more frantic calling, i feel like ive disturbed the woods for a good distance around me, and the jig is up, and i then feel like i need to look for a new calling location at least a half mile away as the crow flies, to be calling in a "fresh area."  This results in me only getting a couple calling sessions in per day, 3 at most since i dont want to call too late into the day and be dealing with a dead bear in the dark.  I think from now on, for bears anyway, im going to stick with the calm fawn bleats, and go with a 30 minute maximum.  I feel like any bear within hearing range would come into that within 30, and making less of a loud, attention getting disturbance, i think i could get away with doing another set without having to move nearly as far away from my last set.  The shorter time spent calling, and the shorter distance ill feel i need to move before calling again will enable me to get more calling sessions in per day, while also spooking less animals.
  Just my thoughts from my observations.  We will see how it works out for me next year.  At the end of the day i got exactly what i wanted from this one, and it was so easy i almost felt like i was cheating.  I wanted a smaller bear than the last one, easier to deal with and i got a lot of meat out of the big boar anyway.  I also was hoping for a sow, since that helps with population control more than killing a boar.  And this is the first actual black black bear ive killed.  All my other bears have been color phase.  Even the boar i got the previous week, looks black in the pic, but he was actually a real dark dirty brown.  Ive been wanting a true black one for a rug, and this black sow had a really great coat for an august bear, plenty good for a nice rug, and shes not so big that she will take up too much wall space.  Basically the exact bear i was hoping for.  And the icing on the cake was that i only had to pack her out maybe 150 yards to the road, then walk back a half mile to the truck and drive back to where i left her and load her up into the coolers.
  Now looking forward to sept 1st deer season.
Title: Re: Educational call-in
Post by: Bob33 on August 18, 2019, 10:01:39 AM
Nice job, and nice bear. :tup:
Title: Re: Educational call-in
Post by: bracer40 on August 18, 2019, 10:59:31 AM
Really cool to read how the process worked out all while able to watch the bearís reactions! Thanks for sharing
Title: Re: Educational call-in
Post by: Cougartail on August 18, 2019, 11:03:03 AM
I for one like your plan. With no frantic calling the bear is probably not worried about who else might be there.

Nicely done!
Title: Re: Educational call-in
Post by: HillHound on August 18, 2019, 11:07:23 AM
Thanks for sharing. I agree with your observations and also have similar experiences with nothing really coming in past the 20-30 minute mark. We definitely learn something from each encounter so even better if we can learn something from yours also.
Title: Re: Educational call-in
Post by: Call em in on August 18, 2019, 12:31:01 PM
Great write up! Thx for sharing  :tup:
Title: Re: Educational call-in
Post by: Bango skank on August 18, 2019, 01:06:41 PM
I for one like your plan. With no frantic calling the bear is probably not worried about who else might be there.

Nicely done!

I cant help but think maybe when bears are taking 30-60 minutes to come in, its maybe when people are doing the more frantic "getting killed by something" type calling, so the bears are being much slower out of caution, and maybe those same bears would have come in a lot sooner to a calm fawn bleat noise, not being worried about what other predators they might encounter on the scene.  After all, sound only carries so far.  Just a theory, but i guess its got a good beat and you can dance to it.
Title: Re: Educational call-in
Post by: Lucky1 on August 18, 2019, 01:38:49 PM
Thanks for sharing your experiences. I am going to try calling bear this year. I will definitely try the soft bleats before ratcheting up to distress calling.
Title: Re: Educational call-in
Post by: Tiger1358 on August 18, 2019, 01:48:53 PM
Great story, congrats.
I have the same experience. I mainly use the cottontail call, start calm for a minute then switch to loud distress, but never had a bear show up. I've had two cases where the bear was in the thicket eating berries and there was no way for me to see them or get close, I started with the loud distress and they never even came out. Both of them were about 100 yards away from me.
That's definitely something to think about. We win or we learn.

Title: Re: Educational call-in
Post by: Machias on August 19, 2019, 08:07:05 AM
I always start my calling sequence with normal bleats, probably a good 5 to 10 minutes before I start the panic screams and even then I start those off on the quieter side.  I do not want to blow something out that is bedded down near by.  Great write up.
Title: Re: Educational call-in
Post by: 7mmfan on August 19, 2019, 08:22:29 AM
When she was coming in, was she covering ground quietly, or making a fair bit of noise?
Title: Re: Educational call-in
Post by: TommyH on August 19, 2019, 08:37:49 AM
A couple years ago while bow hunting I was Sitting on one side of a big draw watching the other open side, threw out my first cow call, instantly seen movement heading strait down the hill, got the binos on it and it was a cougar, actually 2 of them. It ran 50 yards and would stop, look, smell, listen... Iíd call again and it would zero in on my location and take off running twords me again. Did this 5 -6 Times before it made it in the thick stuff below me. I was bow hunting solo and it was crazy thick on my side of the draw. Didnít have a cougar tag so I cautiously walked back down the thick overgrown road.
Makes me wonder how many times that happens that you never see them coming in...
Title: Re: Educational call-in
Post by: Bango skank on August 19, 2019, 09:01:30 AM
When she was coming in, was she covering ground quietly, or making a fair bit of noise?

I dont really recall any noise, but then again i wasnt really paying attention to my ears like when im cold calling.  She was not really being sneaky though, she was running.  Not a full on sprint, but a good steady loping run.  Bear i called in on the 6th was absolutely silent.  Bear i called in on the 3rd came charging in, crashing loud through the brush, full speed ahead no stealth, but i didnt quite get a shot at it.
Title: Re: Educational call-in
Post by: Machias on August 19, 2019, 09:02:39 AM
Makes me wonder how many times that happens that you never see them coming in...

A bunch of times!   :tup:
Title: Re: Educational call-in
Post by: 7mmfan on August 19, 2019, 01:19:45 PM
When she was coming in, was she covering ground quietly, or making a fair bit of noise?

I dont really recall any noise, but then again i wasnt really paying attention to my ears like when im cold calling.  She was not really being sneaky though, she was running.  Not a full on sprint, but a good steady loping run.  Bear i called in on the 6th was absolutely silent.  Bear i called in on the 3rd came charging in, crashing loud through the brush, full speed ahead no stealth, but i didnt quite get a shot at it.

I'm sure any animal, there are different mentalities, maybe even day to day depending on whats going on around them. I envision smaller bears being more cautious, and bigger bears being more aggressive. The caveat to that could be a bigger bear is more experienced and has been called to a few times, knows to come in quietly, while a younger bear doesn't have that experience and comes busting in. I suppose thats what keeps it interesting, you just never know what's going to happen! I like the idea of the "natural" low key calls, vs. a traditional distress call. There's a myriad of stories out there from elk hunters and turkey hunters calling in all kinds of predators while hunting, so they are obviously in tune to those sounds. Thanks for the story and the experience, that's a good tool to keep in your back pocket. 
Title: Re: Educational call-in
Post by: Bango skank on August 19, 2019, 08:53:37 PM

Pretty much like this had that bear running right at me.
Title: Re: Educational call-in
Post by: Bango skank on August 19, 2019, 09:01:01 PM
This here is about as frantic / panicked as ill be going anymore. 
Title: Re: Educational call-in
Post by: WapitiTalk1 on August 19, 2019, 09:13:10 PM
Youíre rolling strong this year mister, nicely done!
Title: Re: Educational call-in
Post by: Okanagan on August 20, 2019, 04:08:01 AM
Bango, Thanks for posting that.  Loved the call in story.  We learn a lot if we think about what actually happened, as you are doing.  You da man!

I would not disagree with your conclusions, except that not all bears respond to calls the same.  Some run in, some sneak in, most move downwind of the call sound as they get close, some pretend to ignore while moseying closer, some look longingly and donít come any closer, and I've had a few run away as soon as I blew the call.  I've been fortunate to observe a number of bears from before the first call sound. 

Here is a parallel to your bear that reinforces your conclusions.

(https://i.imgur.com/gbTbdEs.jpg)

The bear in the pic above was coming in to a Rainshadow hand call that sounds rabbitish, and I was whimpering on it.  A hunting partner and I spotted the bear the first minutes of a hunt when he wanted a really big bear.  He decided not to shoot this one, so we experimented with calling. 

My partner had a yellow Psycho Tweety that he blew with loud frantic blasts.  The bear ran away.  My partner stopped calling after two or three blasts and the bear stopped within view, 130-150 yards away.  It acted nervous for awhile and went back to feeding.

We gave it several minutes of silence and then I tried the Rainshadow call and just whimpered softly on it.  The bear lifted its head and started our way immediately, and with some pauses and more soft whimpers, it came within 30 yards.

I vary the cadence, tune etc. with hand calls to imitate fawn vs rabbit, etc.  Recorded fawn distress and recorded black bear cub distress have also called bears for me, and the closest I've called a black bear was with lip squeaks.

Title: Re: Educational call-in
Post by: Bango skank on August 20, 2019, 04:35:03 AM
That looks like a real pig there.  Ive wanted to try cub distress sounds, especially in the spring, so i bought a cub distress call online, but it sounds just terrible, nothing like an actual cub.  I have called in one bear with a basic cottontail distress call.  It snuck up behind me silent as a mouse, took maybe 5 minutes, 10 max.
Title: Re: Educational call-in
Post by: Okanagan on August 20, 2019, 08:07:21 AM
I could be wrong but I don't think the exact call sound matters much if it is within a broad range of sounds critters will approach.  Like I said in my previous post, I called one way closer than I wanted with nothing but lip squeaks, trying to imitate a mouse.   If it sounds small and vulnerable they will come and if it is a weird offshoot of those sounds it will probably come out of curiosity to see what the heck is making the noise.

 Like you, some sounds just don't sound good to me however, and I don't use them. It is possible that an animal would like them.  :dunno: You gotta like the sound you are making and have confidence in it and be able to stand its wail or whatever. :) 

Jack rabbit distress is my go to sound for almost any predator and if I only had one call sound for all of N. America that would be it.  Jack rabbit distress sounds like hare distress and so close to some sounds that are marketed as fawn distress and bear cub distress that I can't tell the difference and I don't think predators can either. 

The fawn bleat in your video of the fawn sounds like a killer good sound for bears.

Bears have a reputation of being inconsistent about approaching a call.  IMO that just means we haven't figured them out as well as we have coyotes and elk.  Also, some places tell us to call continuously or a bear will not keep approaching.  I had called several bears with intermittent calling before I heard that so don't hold that as an absolute either. 

You are waaay more successful than most bear hunters and callers and with posts like yours, we all learn.

 
Title: Re: Educational call-in
Post by: Machias on August 20, 2019, 09:47:16 AM
Like you, some sounds just don't sound good to me however, and I don't use them. It is possible that an animal would like them.  :dunno: You gotta like the sound you are making and have confidence in it and be able to stand its wail or whatever. :) 

Bears have a reputation of being inconsistent about approaching a call.  IMO that just means we haven't figured them out as well as we have coyotes and elk. 

I agree wholeheartedly.  I also think bears are much smarter than a lot of other predators and with the increase in calling over the last several years I think they wise up much quicker than a coyote and yotes can become call shy very quickly.
Title: Re: Educational call-in
Post by: Okanagan on August 20, 2019, 11:08:11 AM
Makes me wonder how many times that happens that you never see them coming in...

A bunch of times!   :tup:

+ 2 !

If you make a circle in snow after a calling stand, it is often surprising what has come in, listened or watched from an unseen place, and then sneaked away.  I've had a cougar, a bobcat and coyotes come to rattling antlers, grizz to a wolf call, deer of all three western species plus cow elk come to predator calls,  lynx and barred owls to my voice made moose calls...  (No comments allowed on my moose calling :rolleyes:).

 Wish I had a silent eye in the sky to look all around while calling.  Lotsa stuff going on just out of sight.
Title: Re: Educational call-in
Post by: WildlifeAssassin on August 20, 2019, 04:12:54 PM
Great info, thanks for sharing, nice work on your bears.
Title: Re: Educational call-in
Post by: Bango skank on August 20, 2019, 05:16:31 PM
Like you, some sounds just don't sound good to me however, and I don't use them. It is possible that an animal would like them.  :dunno: You gotta like the sound you are making and have confidence in it and be able to stand its wail or whatever. :) 

Bears have a reputation of being inconsistent about approaching a call.  IMO that just means we haven't figured them out as well as we have coyotes and elk. 

I agree wholeheartedly.  I also think bears are much smarter than a lot of other predators and with the increase in calling over the last several years I think they wise up much quicker than a coyote and yotes can become call shy very quickly.

I think being call shy from busting hunters may only be part of it.  Got to wonder, when they hear the "critter getting killed" calling, what an experienced bear may equate that with.  Danger?  Easy meal to steal?  Maybe a particular bear has stolen kills from coyotes that way, and would hear a dying critter and come in with confidence.  Maybe another bear has tried that maneuver before and run into a pack of wolves, a much bigger bear, or a real big tom lion, and now equates a dying animal sound with danger.  So does he go the opposite direction to avoid trouble?  Or maybe sneak downwind caitiously to scope out the scene?  Who knows?  So many possible variables.  I guess thats what keeps their reaction to calling unpredictable, and thats what keeps it exciting.
Title: Re: Educational call-in
Post by: Machias on August 20, 2019, 09:18:11 PM
 :tup: Absolutely!!
Title: Re: Educational call-in
Post by: Okanagan on August 21, 2019, 01:37:06 PM


I think being call shy from busting hunters may only be part of it.  Got to wonder, when they hear the "critter getting killed" calling, what an experienced bear may equate that with.  Danger?  Easy meal to steal?  Maybe a particular bear has stolen kills from coyotes that way, and would hear a dying critter and come in with confidence.  Maybe another bear has tried that maneuver before and run into a pack of wolves, a much bigger bear, or a real big tom lion, and now equates a dying animal sound with danger.  So does he go the opposite direction to avoid trouble?  Or maybe sneak downwind caitiously to scope out the scene?  Who knows?  So many possible variables.  I guess thats what keeps their reaction to calling unpredictable, and thats what keeps it exciting.

You are on to something there.  I hadn't thought about it but the individual bear's experience, especially recent experience, probably influences his response to a sound.

Hmmm... 

I think that ďrecent experienceĒ applies to the bear that I called close with lip squeeks.  A friend and I were backpacking and came on a log torn open and a mouse nest pulled out onto the trail.  It was raining lightly and the mouse nest was dry so we knew that a bear was very close.  We spotted him feeding on huckleberries 40-50-yards upwind of us.  He quickly fed out of sight.

My eastern friend had never seen a bear before so I tried to call it back to give him another look.  Thinking about the mouse nest, I lip squeeked in my best mouse imitation.  Instantly the bear was running straight toward us.

I think that bear had mouse squeaks fresh in his memory.
Title: Re: Educational call-in
Post by: RugerRay on August 22, 2019, 07:39:58 AM
Congratulations on bear #2 this year. Cool story, and good info you passed along as far as calling techniques.