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Author Topic: Bear Behavior  (Read 762 times)

Offline acspah33

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Bear Behavior
« on: September 07, 2021, 12:25:55 PM »
Hi Everyone,

I'm going on year two of bear hunting and thinking that this may as well be my first REAL year of bear hunting. I say this because last year I got lucky when poking around the woods and had a bear walk right out in front of me making his way to a blackberry patch. Shot him at 12 yards and have been enjoying the breakfast sausage ever since!

The past couple weeks I have been putting on miles and getting into some of the harder to reach areas near me. I have been hunting around the 448 unit and some alpine areas but have yet to lay eyes on a bear. Most of the sign I have been seeing is relatively old and left me scratching my head as to where the bears are at...

I thought it may be useful to ask the people here what they have found as far as where bears like to be as the fall season progresses. Have any of you found any "rules of thumb" when it comes to higher percentage elevation levels at different part of the season? Do the bears prefer south slope versus north slope? What do they like to feed on in August versus September?

Trying to get a better understanding of bear behavior and hoping that can lead me to an opportunity this season. GLTA

Offline ganghis

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Re: Bear Behavior
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2021, 12:47:53 PM »
Well there's definitely bears in that unit - I'm guessing the answer depends on where you're hunting them.  In the alpine, I usually don't start seeing many bears until mid-September.  In a spot that usually holds multiple bears, I only saw one when I was up there at the end of August (and way too far away to go after).  Seems to me that they probably stay in areas with feed and cover until mid-Sept when the drive to put on fat makes them expose themselves a bit more.  In the areas I go they're mainly eating blueberries and mountain ash this time of year. 

I think if you look at posts in the 2021 bears thread you'll see that most bears killed in August are in cuts and creek beds - but there'll be a lot killed up high during high buck!

Offline logola512c

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Re: Bear Behavior
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2021, 01:25:47 PM »
I'm no bear whisperer, but here are the dates of the 5 bears I shot in the last 3 years.  I always cut open the stomach to see what they've generally been eating when I field dress them.  They all had bellies full of berries when I killed them, but take a look at what they were actually eating right when I shot them...supports the theory that they are transitioning to piling on calories, and that my favorite spots need the rain to kick in...

      ○ 20200820 -- Female -- eastern WA -- near snoqualmie pass -- while eating berries
      ○ 20201004 -- female -- western WA -- I90 corridor -- while eating grubs (slugs, caterpillars)
      ○ 20190917 -- male -- western WA -- I90 corridor -- while eating grubs (slugs, caterpillars)
      ○ 20191015 -- male -- western WA -- I90 corridor -- while eating grubs (slugs, caterpillars)
      ○ 20181006 - male -- western WA -- I90 corridor -- while eating grubs (slugs, caterpillars)

Offline dilleytech

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Re: Bear Behavior
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2021, 01:38:55 PM »
I donít think elevation matters at they are at every elevation. What matters is the food. They eat a lot of things but once you find what there favorite food is in your area itís not hard to be consistent with effort. When all else fails blow on a predator call.

Offline MeepDog

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Re: Bear Behavior
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2021, 04:18:39 PM »
I'm no bear whisperer, but here are the dates of the 5 bears I shot in the last 3 years.  I always cut open the stomach to see what they've generally been eating when I field dress them.  They all had bellies full of berries when I killed them, but take a look at what they were actually eating right when I shot them...supports the theory that they are transitioning to piling on calories, and that my favorite spots need the rain to kick in...

      ○ 20200820 -- Female -- eastern WA -- near snoqualmie pass -- while eating berries
      ○ 20201004 -- female -- western WA -- I90 corridor -- while eating grubs (slugs, caterpillars)
      ○ 20190917 -- male -- western WA -- I90 corridor -- while eating grubs (slugs, caterpillars)
      ○ 20191015 -- male -- western WA -- I90 corridor -- while eating grubs (slugs, caterpillars)
      ○ 20181006 - male -- western WA -- I90 corridor -- while eating grubs (slugs, caterpillars)

I never would have thought of slugs being a good source to key in on. How does one even key in on slugs...? How did the slug bears' fat taste?

Offline logola512c

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Re: Bear Behavior
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2021, 05:49:51 PM »
I'm no bear whisperer, but here are the dates of the 5 bears I shot in the last 3 years.  I always cut open the stomach to see what they've generally been eating when I field dress them.  They all had bellies full of berries when I killed them, but take a look at what they were actually eating right when I shot them...supports the theory that they are transitioning to piling on calories, and that my favorite spots need the rain to kick in...

      ○ 20200820 -- Female -- eastern WA -- near snoqualmie pass -- while eating berries
      ○ 20201004 -- female -- western WA -- I90 corridor -- while eating grubs (slugs, caterpillars)
      ○ 20190917 -- male -- western WA -- I90 corridor -- while eating grubs (slugs, caterpillars)
      ○ 20191015 -- male -- western WA -- I90 corridor -- while eating grubs (slugs, caterpillars)
      ○ 20181006 - male -- western WA -- I90 corridor -- while eating grubs (slugs, caterpillars)

I never would have thought of slugs being a good source to key in on. How does one even key in on slugs...? How did the slug bears' fat taste?

Their bellies were still full of berries each time, so I think their primary diet was still berries.  But I think they must have learned (presumably from good mama bears) that caterpillars and slugs are available in large quantities early in the mornings on wet days and they must be supplementing the berries with them.  Apparently they are really high in protein.  Anyway...the meat on all of them was great, as was the rendered fat.  But again, I think that's because the other 23 hours of the day they were likely eating berries. 

 


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