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Black bear hunting in the PNW

3156 Views 4 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  BarkBuster20
It's about time to prepare for fall bear hunting here in oregon, in the coming weeks i will make a drive down to the coast to try my luck with black bears. This will be my first bear hunt, and i'm excited. I will be Hunting with my .338 WM, and using 225 grain nosler partitions.

Anyone have any experience hunting blackies in the pacific northwest? I dont know really anyone who hunts bear around here, my granpa did, but he has moved out of state. From all that i have read the bear numbers are booming right now due to low hunting pressure and the fact that its illegal to bait or use hounds. Hopefully this will be updated in the coming weeks with pictures of my bear, id love to see others post pictures of there PNW blackies too, goodluck to all.
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You might be a little over gunned for pacific NW black bears but better too much than too little. What type of country are you hunting? In western washington with all the trees where I hunt I don't expect to take shots longer than about 75 yards. This makes my 45/70 marlin ideal for any game in my hunting area and suggests I leave my 300 win mag at home to save it for longer shots on elk in the eastern side of the state where a 2-400 yard shot would be more likely.

Our bear season opened on August 1 and the number of folks out hunting for them here does not suggest light hunting pressure but every area is different. Try to find an area with an abundant food source like ripe berries. Abundant water or swamps are also a good attractant to bears. Forested areas along rivers are a good place to start. If you notice all the bushes are completely stripped of their fruit the bears may have moved on in search of more food. Bears truely are omnivores and will eat the easy to find food first like blue, huckle and strawberries then the black berries, then as they range looking for easier pickings they will tear apart rotting stumps and things like that looking for grubs and insects. look for sign like scat and shredded, downed trees.stumps and work on following the tracks. You might end up nose to nose with smokey so be alert and consider carrying a large caliber side arm if it is legal in your area. I suggest a 44 mag or a 45. As always consult your state and locals laws on handguns.
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I'm from Snohomish. Good-on your Gramps. 400 lbs is a sizable trophie for a PNW black bear. most that I have seen around here are probably under 200lbs but I did come nose to nose with one (out of season) while hiking a few years back that was likely over 400lbs and on it's hind legs stood about 7 feet tall. Scared the you-know-what out of me and I was really glad that she decided I was not food and went the other way.

My favorite spot for bears is a creek drainage that is filled about 20 feet high for about a 1/4 mile up the mountain side with jack-strawed trees from a flood. The creek runs under this and the bears use the area for cover. The main trick I've found is waiting until the bear is facing away from cover before shooting. The bear will usually take off on a run in whatever direction it is facing, even with the best placed hits. I've heard this describbed as "seeing red" all the bear sees is red and he runs until he figures out he is dead. I know bow hunters that walk up to black bears within a few yards and arrow them and have no fear of the bear charging them as long as it's not facing them when they release the shot. I think they might be able to run a ways even with no blood pumping through a destroyed heart. If it is facing something you can't recover him from like a swift running river or dense cover/those blackberries, hold the shot until you have him broad side and facing open space or better yet facing your truck, he might run closer to your ride... If you can, tuck the shot right in behind the point of the leading front leg's elbow when it is in the forward position. If the leg is in the back position the bullet will not make a good strike on vitals as in that position the heart is covered with dense leg bone and the point of the elbow is not the target indicator. Although the .338 may penetrate bone better than most cartriges, good shot placement and a clean kill is our responsibility as hunters.

Good hunting to you I look forward to seeing some trophie pictures.
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