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Wife's WA spring bear permit.
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Old 05-16-2009, 09:06 PM
billythekidrock billythekidrock is offline
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Join Date: May 2005
Location: Oly
Age: 51
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Default Wife's WA spring bear permit.

My wife was drawn for the local unit that is right up the road. I know this area fairly well and have taken three bears in there in the past. Even though I know the area, we are still hampered by other forest user groups, a declining bear population in this unit, and a 7 year old who has not learned to sit for hours on end. :P

The opener was on the 15th but we weren’t able to get out until the 18th. I haven’t done any scouting but we decided to wing it anyway. The day started great as we saw about 25 elk on our way into the woods.

The first spot we set up on does not currently have any feed in it, but the surrounding area has a ton of young fir trees so I thought we would give it a whirl.



We ran through a few different distress sounds while my son picked up a pack full of spent shotgun hulls. :dunno: :chuckle:
At the 50-minute mark my son sky lined himself just as a yote rounded some young fir trees 150 yards away. The coyote took off like **** and when I went to hit the pup distress button the caller went silent. The battery went dead in the remote. I grabbed my RR open read and did some pup distress but by the time the dog stopped it was nearly 300 yards away. Too far for my wife to shoot. Just as I grabbed the rifle and the dog disappeared. A few minutes later we could hear it and another one cutting loose.

We went to another area and this place was over run with chipmunks. I have never seen so many in one spot. Easily a dozen, all chasing each other back and forth for about 40 yards. I got her all set up, showed her what buttons to push and went back to have a sandwich and a drink. And to look at maps and to play the kids NintendoDS. :chuckle:

Went to get her at about the seventy minute mark.


Cut


We started to make a third set and right off the bat she spots a couple deer through the trees. Oh, and she was the one that spotted the elk as well. While we were setting up a truck stopped to talk. After he left, Killbilly came over to say he had a text message about a site member seeing a bear. We started our set then someone started target shooting. After a few minutes we left. We called the site member and I knew right where he was talking about.

We got over there and set up in a thick clear cut. After ten minutes my son wanted to go to the truck. :bash: So with my wife all set up, we took off with Killbilly for a drive. Took some pics and threw rocks in a beaver pond. An hour later we went back and my wife still had the call running. After 90 minutes she came out, but without my Foxpro. So I went back for it and we called it a day.



We hit it again today..boy did it get warm out. 8)

Dropped the wife off at a spot where a few bears were seen in springs past. On the trail in we kicked up a couple deer. She started off with some crow sounds then went into some rabbit and fawn distress. She did have a coyote howling at her. She sat for two hours while the boy and I took off for a hike.

Right out of the truck I found this cougar track. It continued down the grade farther then we went. (about a mile).



We also found a couple sets of bobcat tracks but nothing else.
On the way back I let my son take point and he wanted to have “an adventure” and took me down into a swampy draw.



The second spot she called in was where I killed a big boar in 2005. Since she didn’t want to sit the same tree we found a spot on the ground where she had a little visibility. And I mean a little. Any shot would be about 40 yards max with the Foxpro only 20 yards away. No critters but a couple of turkey vultures dove in for a look when she started the hand calls.



Here is the view from the tree that I sat in in 2005. The visibility is about the same….and the pitch problem is still there. :bash:



We left her there for an hour and a half and went shooting the .22.



No bears, but we did see a few deer and four quad riders. :bash:

We went out Monday and Tuesday after work for the last couple hours of light.
Monday the first place we went had a guy and a couple kids hanging out so we moved on. Got the wife set up on a little ridge overlooking a small cut along the timber and she called for about 1.5 hours. When she came back she told me she could hear brush snapping in the bottom but only when she used a fawn bleat sound. We are guessing it was a deer.

Tuesday we went to a different spot only a short distance away. On our way in we saw two groups of deer. One group of 5 and the other had only 2. There was no bear sign in this small cut, but it is next to a creek and swamp and I know there are bear in the area. We left her to hang out at the creek and just before dark we took a short walk down an old grade to a place I wanted to check out.

I found a couple small piles of bear **** and where it had eaten some grass. The sign was at least two days old.





While I was taking pictures my son said he wanted to go. I asked, "are you scared?" He said, "no, but it is getting dark and we need to go get mom". :chuckle:

---

Thursday after work I took a drive and hike into a hellhole to scout for bear sign. Have you ever forgotten a great spot and then want to kick yourself when you “re-discover” it? That is how I felt. It has been a few years since I entered a portion of this swamp and though I always planned to go back, I never did. Such a shame.

On my way into the swamp I noticed a small bed of sorts. It was on the hillside but it did not look like a deer bed. I looked for bear hair but I didn’t find any. As I was leaving I noticed an old pile of bear ****. It was not very big and at least a month old. After getting through a tangle of brush I made it to the edge of the swamp.







This place is loaded with Bear Grass and Skunk Cabbage. I found a couple different sets of bear tracks and signs of feeding.

This average sized bear track seemed to follow an old trail and fed on some grass in the past few days.



This larger track was about 5 inches across the pad and seemed to hang out more than the smaller track. (I am hoping this track belongs to a whopper I saw in the area a couple years ago. That bear was in the 400 lb range.) I found a couple spots where it dug up Skunk Cabbage and if I lost the track I could easily see where it was going by the short grass where it had fed.









I also found some broken Cascara trees and a couple of alders where some smaller bears had clawed and climbed.It seems that this area is a potential spot in both the spring and the fall.

--

We didn’t plan to hunt this weekend, but my other plans fell apart so we tried to make the best of the situation. There was 50-mile foot race in the CF on Saturday and many of the trails go through or near the areas I like to hunt so we had to find other areas.

We went in at Straddle Line and headed southwest up the A line to a small cut. It was really windy but decided to try it anyways. After my wife got set up we left her and took a hike to the area where I found this pile a couple months ago.



We circled the beaver pond and though we did find some beaver sign and deer sign, we didn’t find any bear sign.



After about 40 minutes we went back to the truck and within minutes Beth was on her way back. It was cold and very windy so we moved on. We continued southwest on the A line to check out a couple of areas and after finding no suitable places to call from, we sent to the Porter store for breakfast.

After breakfast we headed northeast on the C line to do some more scouting. We then backtracked to HWY 12 and then east and north on the E line. Everywhere we went the wind seemed to follow. The one time we did find a suitable place to call it threatened to start raining. But she wanted to try so we got her all set up and then we went back to the truck to read and play games. She tried to make it an hour but managed about 40 minutes with the rain. As she was hiking out the rain stopped and the sun came out again but she was too wet to stay out there.

All in all it was a rough day and we drove over 100 miles.

Sunday the weather seemed to cooperate and though it started out a bit cool, once the sun came up it warmed right up.

On our hike in I found a recent set of cougar tracks and they continued the same direction we were headed. After maybe a ¼ mile I found this spot where it apparently decided to sit and survey the landscape.



After another ¼ mile we found a nice spot to call into a draw and some timber. Here is a view from the caller back to the shooter.



Here is the view from the shooters position.

Left


Middle


Right


We left her with plans to return in two hours. The youngster and I drove a few miles to a trail crossing and took off for a hike. We went up and down the creek with only a few deer and coon tracks for our efforts. When we came to a bridge he decided to drop rocks in the creek.



After dropping a few rocks we decided to have drinks and snacks and a little horseplay. While packing up our garbage he noticed the gps in his pack and wanted to know what it was and why I put it there. Then he decides he wants to learn how to use it.



While we were waiting for Beth to come out he decided to use the gps on the road then he motioned to me that he was hiking in to meet her. After 25 minutes they weren’t back and I started to think about the cougar tracks. I only got about 100 yards and I ran into my son on his way out. The little rascal went most of the way on the trail, then cross country over the little ridge to the trail and back in a large loop. I was so proud of him, but also a little concerned with the cat tracks in the area. A few minutes later she came around the corner and we all hiked out together.

After a quick water break we drove a mile or so to the area where I found this pile last weekend.



It is only a short walk in and we quickly got set up.

Beth from the Foxpro.


Left view from shooter


Right view from shooter.


She was going to stay for an hour and we were going to go play in the creek.

Nothing new as far as sign but it was a good day. Lots of deer, bike riders, brush pickers and I think I saw a couple of hunters.

Went back to this spot for a quick scouting trip and I found seven or eight piles of ****. A few were larger then horse piles. The bad part is the wind was blowing right in the direction that the bear seems to be coming out. We left and went for a hike and came back for the last half hour with not a sound heard.

On our hike (only about two miles) I found a ton of sign but it was all at least a few days old. I found a half dozen peels, a pile of ****, a half dozen recent stumps with damage, a large area with the grass all eaten and even a small amount of bear hair. The bad part is I left my camera at home. :bash:
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