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Location: Northern Minnesota
Joined: 07/08/2007
Posts: 325
Black Bear Sign.

For several years I have tried to pattern a Black Bear with 6 3/4" front pads. He has not grown to this size by luck. I am curious about sign of big Black Bear others might have found, and if they shot or saw the bear, how big it actually was.

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Location: OlyWa
Joined: 04/27/2005
Posts: 472
Black Bear Sign.

That seems awful large for a front pad. Is it in soft earth/mud? I have killed a few bears and the largest pad was about 5 inches. It was over 6ft with a 20 inch skull.

I would suggest some trail cams with some scent to entice it. Learn it's patterns and if you can hunt in the spring either use bait or fawn distress calls.

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Location: Northern Minnesota
Joined: 07/08/2007
Posts: 325
Black Bear Sign.

Packed dirt by one of my cribs, on a fresh graded gravel road and on a field approach road. None were distorted or sliding. I have also seen his claw marks on trees. I have seen these over about 3 years of searching. He is very smart. His tracks never appear in the same area close to the same time twice in a row.
2 Hunters reported seeing a "Huge" bear at dusk along his travel corridor but could not get a clear shot at him. One of the hunters shot a 200 pound class bear only to have the "Huge" bear walk in to the clearing and walk past his bear. He said the big bear dwarfed his 200 pounder. He never showed himself at that bait again when a hunter was present. I would be skeptical about my claims too if someone told me the same information.

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Location: Northern Minnesota
Joined: 07/08/2007
Posts: 325
Black Bear Sign.

Thanks for the suggestions. We only have a Fall hunt here. The biggest bear I have actually seen make tracks made just over 5" tracks. He was very large. I wounded him with a .270 about 5 years ago and I still feel guilty for not finding him. I am certain it was a fatal shot.

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Location: OlyWa
Joined: 04/27/2005
Posts: 472
Black Bear Sign.
Quote:
I would be skeptical about my claims too if someone told me the same information.

Not really skeptical, but sometimes things are a bit stretched. With hard pack you can get a real good idea of the size.

So if he is not seen alot or at the same places he has to be eating somewhere. Maybe aerial photos or topo maps could help locate feeding areas for travel corridors?

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Location: Northern Minnesota
Joined: 07/08/2007
Posts: 325
Black Bear Sign.

I have been mapping his sign on aerial photos and maps. The area is so isolated that it is just luck when his sign is found. Not much good track holding ground. One day he will be careless and I hope I am the one who is in the right place at the right time.

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Location: OlyWa
Joined: 04/27/2005
Posts: 472
Black Bear Sign.
Quote:
I have been mapping his sign on aerial photos and maps. The area is so isolated that it is just luck when his sign is found. Not much good track holding ground. One day he will be careless and I hope I am the one who is in the right place at the right time.

Bears are creatures of habits.
Since you have some sign located and on maps or photos, I would really hit the corridors and any edges and start looking for different sign. Not scat or tracks. I would look for signs of digging and rock rolling as well as torn up logs, stumps and broken or damaged limbs on trees that may bear fruit or berries. I am not sure if they peel trees in your area, but that is a huge sign of activity in my area.

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Location: Northern Minnesota
Joined: 07/08/2007
Posts: 325
Black Bear Sign.

billythekidrock, Thanks for the tips. This is a smart one. He travels around and through a huge bog that has creeks , islands and lakes throughout. It is very difficult to get through this stuff unless you have a cold winter with little or no snow. "Bog" bears do not get as big as other bears around the area because of poor nutrition. There is not much to hold a big bear in the area except during mating season. I did hold a bear with 8 1/2" long rear tracks for a time with beaver scraps but only for a short time. Hunting pressure is moderate to high with plenty of bait sites for food during the bear season. Predators include Timber Wolves, Brush Wolves, Bobcat, and an occasional Cougar and Wolverine.
No rocks to speak of but large anthills are sometimes found torn apart. Hazel brush, Raspberries, Blueberries etc. for natural forage. No fruit bearing trees. Cedar trees may be peeled but not a common site. In 40+ years of hunting, I have never seen a bear in the woods except at bait sites. It is very easy for bear to travel in heavy cover here.

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Joined: 07/30/2007
Posts: 635
Black Bear Sign.

I'm after a big one this year. This is what I've gathered so far. I have a definate path he uses, and has interestingly marked an area on the SW corner of my family's property. I know he doesn't use this everyday, but I had seen fresh sign about once a week. He uses a swamp as concealment to travel from a beaver dam to this point, then traverses just below the summit of a hill to some nearby camps. 30 yards from this point, I found a marked tree (bitten) and a smaller trail leading along the edge eastern of the swamp. In December I ran into a bear not 60 yards north of this tree while stalking deer. (I was interested in how the bear would not run west into the thick cover of the swamp (where the big one walks through), but rather growled and took it's chances running through a more open wooded area to a nearby hill). Anyways, there appears to be an east/west boundry line at this tree which I thought was pretty neat.

I know someone who spotted a very large black bear about two miles from this area. They swore up and down that it was as big as a VW Beetle. I trust there judgement (to a degree, understanding that bears look big in general), and am assuming its covering a large area. I'm going to place a trail cam on the corner of our property this spring. I'll be planning my ambush in this area.

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Location: Northern Minnesota
Joined: 07/08/2007
Posts: 325
Black Bear Sign.

Good luck jfrench, Keep us posted.

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