Oregon Spring Bear 2010

Black bear

Spring black bear hunting in Oregon is probably one of the most fun and rewarding hunts that anyone can go on. Ranging from the coast of the Pacific Ocean to the Snake River, Oregon holds around 25,000 to 30,000 black bear annually. Most Oregon hunters have only seen 2 to 3 in their hunting career would say ” no way” but let me tell you, they are out there, you just have to look.

Colored sow with jet black fresh cub.

Where to Look

To start off I always try to hunt the south facing slopes early. I do this because that is where the sun is hitting for most of the day making the grass and other plants grow earlier. Later on when the south slopes are not looking as green, the bears will move to the easterly slopes. Looking for 2-5 year old clear cuts and natural meadows will most likely be your best bet to see one. Having good optics is a must for this type of hunt. Not only a good par of binoculars but even a spotting scope is very handy to make sure those black stumps are not bears or maybe even that one you might get.

Sow with year and a half old cubs.

My Season

The Start!

The first week started off slow with bad weather and bears just not moving. In the middle of the second week we got lucky. It was one of the first blue bird days, and we were out looking. I spotted a younger boar, glistening in the sun eating fresh shoots of grass, and decided to pass being early in the season. After deciding to pass I asked my buddy Treyver if he would like to take it, since he had never got a chance to harvest a bear. He decided it would be good for his first, so we put a stalk on him. Getting within 90 yards i could see that he had a bald face(due to mites) and Trey put a good shot. The bear whorled and took off. Not getting a chance for a second shot but knowing it was a good shot we opted to wait and let him bleed out. After around 20 min of tracking I spotted him laying on a huge stump in the timber still alive, Treyver then got a rest and put the final kill shot on him.

Treyver's First bear

The Afternoon Double Delight

I did not get a chance to go back out until the 22nd of April due to starting a new job and weather, Josh and I got to head out after work and saw 4. We saw a sow, two year and a half old cubs, and a nice boar but couldn’t get a chance for a shot on him. The next day we had the itch to get out. I was doing training for my job and couldn’t get out of there fast enough! We left town around 2 with a 45 min drive ahead of us. We had decided what unit we where going to first and I had a feeling there would be a colored bear in it. ( Black bears can come in many different colors, this is called color phases. They range from black, to red, to cinnamon, to blond.) We parked around 200 yards short of the unit and walked the rest of the way. Sure enough without even using my binos I spotted a colored boar on a grassy cliff, his rust colored fur was shining like a mirror in the sun while he was mowing down on little yellow flowers.  We then got in to position and ranged him at 321 yards, then the wait was on for a shot. After only 2-3 min there it was, he had turned quartering tward us. I fired first putting one in the front of his shoulder and Josh followed with a quick back up shot hitting only an inch from my hole. He was hit very well! The bear turned and ran straight off the cliff flipping through the air doing the death moan.

My Color Phase Bear!

After a short but steep pack, we decided to head over to another spot that had produced very well in the past. Getting to the first spot we usually do a quick look from before hitting the main spot. I spotted another good bear right away and we were on the move yet again. This time we had to drive for about 15 min before heading down the hill to get a shot. We parked the truck after what seemed like the longest drive of my life, and just about sprinted down the back side of the ridge from the bear. We started slowing down when we were around 3/4 of the way down and I spotted 2 deer right in between us and the bear. The first thing to cross my mind was “This stalk is blown!” But we sat there and waited for the deer to feed up the hill. Once they were no longer in our way we dropped out packs and headed down, only to find nothing in the unit any more. I then headed back to the packs to get the predator call. Trying to be as quiet as possible on my way back to josh, I then herd a gun go off and it was a hit dropping her in her tracks! We made our way down a couple bluffs and found her not 5 yards from where Josh shot her. We got her packed up right at dark it was a long extremely steep pack out! But completely worth it to get a bear double in just an afternoon.

Josh with his sow.

Our afternoon double!

The Lazy Bear

Finally getting to head back out in the woods for the last weekend we headed up on the last Friday. We headed up in the intent to scout for the weekend to help a couple friends. We saw two bears that night and watched one bed just inside the timber right before dark. Needless to say we were a little excited for the following morning. When we got back the next morning we split up but it was a little cool so it took about two hours for the bears to start moving and the first one to come out was the black one from the night before. We called the other guys right away. Mac got there about 15 min later and closed the distance to 276 yards and layed the smack down. The bear only took a few steps after the shot before she started rolling down the hill!

Mac's bear!

Over all it was a very good season, especially for how little we went out. Through out the whole season I saw 19 bears and ten of those where in the last four days. I believe the more you are out the better chance you will have in harvesting or at least seeing one. We brought back some great memories and lots of pictures! Hope you all enjoy all of my hunts, god bless, and thanks for reading!!

Levi Binford
P.T.O. Field Staff

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About the Author

Levi Binford

Levi Binford

From the time that Levi first went hunting with his father he was hooked for life. When he's not working he's usually in the woods or on the river, and has been very successful in his young hunting career.