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DIY California Black Bear
Submitted by Eric Welsh
August 15th thru September 6th and opens again with the General Deer Season in Zones A, B, C, D, X8, X9A, X9B, X10, and X12, and extends thru December 27. In the remainder of the X Zones the season dates are October 10th thru December 27th. (these are the 20012 season dates, check the Ca Dept. of fish and Game website for more info.)
Team DIY has been pretty sucessful in the last couple years harvesting Black Bears in Southern California. I will be explaining our tactics for finding and hunting these bears.
The #1 thing that drives these bears is their food, so finding their NATURAL food source is key (I stress "natural" because baiting in CA is illegal! ). The first thing I do when trying to find an area that holds bears is ask around. Go to local mountain communities that are surrounded by public land and ask the locals if there are bears in the area. Once you find an area with a bear population, head to the nearest ranger station and get a map of the area. Get a map that distinguishes public and private land boundaries. You dont want to get cought accidentally trespassing! Trespassing is considered poaching and most private land owners (in California) don't like hunters.
Once you know where the huntable public land is, put your boots on and do some hiking. You are now looking for trails and their food source. A bear trail is almost exactly like a hog trail. Bear trails are normally straight and right thru the brush, and are considerably wider than a deer trail. Also, be on the look out for tracks and scat. Their scat will let you determine what they are eating.
Once you know their food source and the route they travel to get there, you need to determine when they are using these routes. I personally have 8 game cameras that I use to pattern the bears I'm hunting.
Even with only one game camera you can pattern these bears. After setting your camera up, try not to visit it that often. If the bears using this trail catch your scent on it frequently, they will start to feel pressured and go elsewhere. I normally visit my cameras every 7 - 10 days to switch out the memory cards.
Now that you know when your trophy is coming in, I would recomend using a tree stand if possible. that way you keep your scent above their noses. I also think its a little safer than being in a ground blind. But I have noticed that most bears, once shot, will run in the direction that they are facing.
You can get the maps I'm talking about online at www.digital-topo-maps.com/california.shtml or I can send you one at the cost of shipping. Just PM me.
Also, when hunting near mountain communities, check local laws about shooting a bow in/near that specific area.
PM me with any queations and I will help the best that I can.