Over-the-Counter Big Game Licenses Available July 13

GUNNISON, Colo. — Hunters are reminded that over-the-counter with caps licenses for elk and bear will be available starting at 9 a.m., July 13 at Colorado Division of Wildlife offices,  License Agent businesses, and by phone or on-line.

New for the 2010 season in the Gunnison Basin are elk licenses that are specific for Game Management Unit 54. These licenses are available for purchase over-the-counter but with caps on the number available.  There will be 500 either-sex licenses available on first-come first-served basis. General over-the-counter bull tags are no longer valid in Unit 54 during second season.

Hunters who wish to hunt in this unit during second season are advised to buy their licenses well before the start of the season.   [Read more…]

Hunters, Be Prepared for Bears

Bears are still out and active throughout big game hunting season in much of Montana and they are extending their ranges in some areas where populations are growing.

Hunting is a prime time to encounter a bear, especially if your are calling game, using scents or have harvested an animal. Here are a few important safety tips for hunting in bear country:

  • Always carry bear pepper spray, have it close at hand and know how to use it.
  • If you are going to be alone in bear country, let someone know your detailed plans; better yet, don’t go alone.
  • While hunting, pay attention to fresh bear sign.
  • After making a kill, get the carcass out of the area as quickly as possible.
  • When field dressing the carcass, keep your can of bear pepper spray within easy reach.
  • Use special precautions if you must leave and then return to a carcass, including placing the carcass where you can easily observe it from a distance when you return.
  • Do not attempt to frighten away or haze a bear that is nearby or feeding on a carcass.

For details on how to hunt safely in grizzly country, check the Deer, Elk and Antelope Hunting regulations available online and at FWP offices, or go to FWP’s Living with Wildlife web page.

Avoid Bear Conflicts: Store Food, Garbage Properly


As hunters venture into the woods this fall, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game is asking them to be mindful of their food and garbage.

The same cautions apply to homeowners in bear country.

The past two weeks, local Fish and Game officials have relocated several young bears that have become accustomed to living off garbage and scraps left by campers and even homeowners.   Most bear complaints happen in later summer and early fall when bears are traveling in search of food.

“Anyone who leaves food out are actually baiting in hungry bears,” said Barry Cummings, Fish and Game conservation officer based in Deary. “Bears have a tremendous sense of smell, and once they get used to finding an easy food source, they’ll keep coming back and problems will occur.”

Tips around camp:

  • Keep a clean camp. Pick up garbage and store it in a closed vehicle, bear- resistant container, or in a bag tied high between two trees. Store all food the same way. Coolers are not bear-resistant and never keep food in a tent.
  • Don’t cook near tents or sleeping areas, and never wear the clothes you cook in to bed.
  • Don’t bury food scraps, pour out cooking grease, or leave anything that might be tasty on the ground or in the fire pit. Also, store barbecue grills or other smelly cooking gear inside your vehicle or within a sealed bear resistant container.
  • Make game meat unavailable by hanging it at least 10 feet high and 4 feet from the nearest tree.
  • If you see a bear, watch it from a distance and leave it alone. Black bears are not usually aggressive, but the danger may increase if a bear loses its fear of humans.

Tips around home:

  • Keep garbage in bear-resistant containers or in a closed building.
  • Empty and remove bird feeders during the summer months when songbirds are able to forage on food provided by nature.
  • Clean up fruit that has fallen in your yard. Rotting fruit will attract bears as well as raccoons and skunks.
  • Feed pets inside or during daylight hours; don’t leave pet food or food scraps outside of your home or camp, as it can attract bears, raccoons and skunks.
  • Store horse and livestock grains inside closed barns.
  • Keep barbeque grills stored in closed buildings.

Firearms, Bears, And Bear Spray

Many die-hard hunters say they would never rely on bear spray to do the job of a gun.   Others counter that a gun can possibly maim a bear, causing it to ferociously settle the score.

What position do bear biologists take in this debate?   I can’t speak for others, but after studying more than 600 Alaska bear attacks, I’ve learned:

• In 72 incidents of people using bear spray to defend themselves against aggressive bears in Alaska, 98% were uninjured, and those that were suffered only minor injuries.
• In 300 incidents where people carried and used firearms for protection against aggressive bears in Alaska, 40% were injured or killed, including 23 fatalities and 16 severely injured persons. Another 48 people suffered lesser injuries.

In my research, hunters were generally unable to fire a shot before the bear slammed into them.   Some hunters couldn’t get the safety off, others short-stroked the bolt and jammed the cartridge, yet others, out of habit, tried to ‘scope’ the bear, losing critical seconds while failing to zero in.

With a can of bear spray on one’s hip or pack strap, it is simply a matter of pointing and shooting.   One thing bear spray and a rifle do have in common however is that success depends on practice. Learn how to use bear spray, including adjusting for weather and wind direction.

I tell my fellow hunters to pack bear spray when they hunt. Keep it ready when you are hiking, butchering the meat and packing it out—times when a gun simply isn’t convenient to have in your hands.   Your family will thank you!

Tips for Picking Berries in Bear Country

Huckleberries in MontanaThose who crave the huckleberry are already scouting their favorite berry patches.

In fact, some folks can smell huckleberries even before they spot them on the bushes. These experienced berry pickers know that they aren’t the only ones with their noses in the air. Montana’s black and grizzly bears savor the purple berries and will eat their way through a good patch of berries for days. [Read more…]

1 Month Remaining on Alaskan Hunt Package!



THE BIG NEWS:  The Whitney family at Alaska Wilderness Trips, Inc. has offered the winner a choice so, – you can either hunt moose or grizzly bear! So, if you know anybody that hasn’t entered because they already have their moose…here’s a chance for them to get their Interior grizzly bear.

Next the not so big news:  As of Monday May 11, there were 157 entries in the drawing.  Since we are capping the total entries at 500, we have 343 chances remaining.

It  seems likely that we won’t max out our 500 chances but they need to get as many donations as possibly before the drawing date of June 15, 2009.  The drawing will be administered at the Outdoor Writers Association of America’s annual conference in Grand Rapids, MI.  They will post the winner’s name after they have contacted him or her.

Here the details of this awesome package.

Read the full article here.


No black bear hunt in San Luis Obispo County

Black Bear

There will be no black bear hunt in San Luis Obispo County, CA this year.

The California Fish and Game Commission on Tuesday voted unanimously to postpone until next year any change to the state’s bear hunting regulations.

The department had recommended allowing bear hunting in the county for the first time. It also recommended eliminating a limit to the number of bears that can be taken statewide in a season.

More than 40 organizations went on record opposing the San Luis Obispo County hunt.

“Thanks to the commission’s reluctance to adopt this controversial proposal, black bears will continue to have the freedom to roam in San Luis Obispo County,” said Jeff Kuyper, Forest Watch executive director.

The department based its initial recommendation to allow a hunt on the number of nuisance complaints the agency received, the number of bears hit by cars and the use of baited scent stations. Bear numbers in San Luis Obispo County appear to be very similar to the numbers in Santa Barbara County, where the state already allows hunting, biologists said.

Read the full article here.

Hunting in Bear Country

Here is another very useful from South Cox on “Hunting in Bear Country”.For me I think that we need to change our habits while in backcountry. While I do believe that there is an increase in bear populations, I also believe there is an indirect correlation to bear sightings or encounters.

This would have to do with the climate change, not necessarily “Global Warming.”The relation I believe, is that in the northwest (at least) where the cooler months are getting shorter, bears are are going into hibernation later. So, we as hunters, hikers and backpackers may encounter more bears during the early fall times with the bears eating on carcasses, last bit of bugs, berries, roots and the like. This is just a theory of course, as I am no way a biologist!

Following the bear mauling I experienced, you’d probably expect that I’d take every precaution available to avoid a repeat.  Because of the circumstances of the mauling: surprising the mother and cubs at close range, inside her comfort zone, I haven’t changed the way I spend my time in bear country much.  I recognize that it was really a freak accurance and that not every bear has intentions of making a snack out of me.  I don’t always hang my food, as recommended, but when I’m leaving my basecamp unoccupied I do.  I try not to stash food in my tent where I sleep, though I’m not as diligent about it as I should be.  I carry pepper spray, though I don’t have as much faith in the new stuff as the old.  I give sows with cubs a WIDE berth (which is probably the most significant habit I have changed).  I don’t carry a side arm, too much weight and not legal in many states during the archery season.  I think my encounter was one of those “struck by lightning” chance happenings.  I literally don’t loose any sleep over another encounter.

Read the full article here.