I've not had much experience with the Gila. I know the Lincoln forest near Ruidoso/Cloudcroft has a healthy bear population, but again, I'm not really familiar with the area. The Ranger district or the area game warden could probably help you out.
If you're coming from El Paso, you may consider the San Mateo mountains, unit 17. They are only an hour or so north of Cruces. I've done a lot of deer hunting in there and I see bears about every trip. Best bet would be to get up high towards Springtime campground or the Apache Kid wilderness where the Ponderosa pines grow, get on a high spot and glass the openings and little meadows. Spot and stalk opportunities abound.
Not the biggest bears in the world, but fun regardless.
Wind is one of the most crucial variables in any kind of big game hunting. It helps level the playing field between a hunter with a scoped rifle and the game animals being hunted. This is not novel information. Any hunter who has consistent success in the field knows this. I have tried a couple different techniques for keeping track of the wind. Here are a couple.
The most simple and obvious is to just stay cognizant of it. It is amazing how slight of a breeze you can sense if you just pay...