This is my first year targeting bear also. The main thing I have learned is to get out in the woods as much as you can. The more time you spend out in the woods, the more obvious the bear sign becomes. I have also been incorporating predator calling into my bear hunts. Thats my two cents, hopefully some of the more experienced guys from this site will have something to add.
you'll have to find their main food source and start spotting and stalking from there or stand hunt the food source don't know much about hunting in or but that's the only other way i know of other than the preditor calling idea it works from time to time.
What my buddy from TN said. It is all about the food. Find out what is in season (ie. nuts, berries, fruit) and hunt areas with these "mast" crops. Since bears eat anything thay can (omnivor) water is also important to them.
Well that really depends on the area. I call most of my bears anymore.
Usually I am cold calling and I try to set up where I have the best view. This may mean sitting on top of a stump or rootwad right out in the open (this may explain why I don't see many coyotes when I am callin' bear). If it is really flat/tight quarters then I may try to sit on the ground again, depending on visibility and availability of higher outlook.
I was sitting on a tree branch 15 ft in the air when I got my spring bear. If I stayed on the ground I would not have been able to see over the slope in terrain.
I never really try to hide, but I try not to be skylined if at all possible. If I am really tired of sitting on stumps then I will try to find a comfy spot next to it, but I prefer to have better visibility then comfort.
Bears have good eyesight, but if you remain still you will be ok.
If you are seeing bears then there is probably not much to tell you about where they may be, food source, etc.
As for calling I would reccomend the video "They Come To Eat" by Wayne Carlton. I do not reccomend his call, but the video is a great place to start. I wish I had it before I started calling as it would have given me a jump start.
You need to find the prefered food source or traveling areas, small clearings near young Doug Fir works great in the spring, open slopes/cuts in the fall. Call for a minimum of one hour, I prefer two hour stands. You can use a cottaintail distress or fawn distress. Just don't get discouraged.
I have always looked for ways to save money and gain skills. I have the firearms basics covered so I rarely buy firearms these days. But I do watch for bargains. Sometimes a little TLC with simple tools will let you bring an old gun back to life without investing a lot of money. One such find was a side by side 12 gauge marked “W. Richards” It is not from the fine English gun maker Wesley Richards, it is a cheap knock off copy probably made in Belgium about a hundred years ago...