Just shy of six weeks from the opening day of the California bear season and the bruins are reading the script to the story perfectly. However, until first light on opening morning I will not know which animal will play the leading role. We have a number of contenders but the unpredictability of animals is a factor left in Gods hands.
Chris Callinan and I have been documenting all aspects associated with scouting and preparation for this hunt. Many hours of video footage, still photos, and trail cam pictures are the appetizer to what should turn out to be another great Outback Outdoors webisode. We’re excited to share this adventure from start to finish.
July 1st found us high in the mountains trying to avoid the high 90° temperatures that lurked back home. It wasn’t only the air temperatures that were hot; our trail cameras were on fire. Staying out of the area for a few weeks, this was our first trip back to check on them and the new locations were turning out to be extremely productive.
Tucked into a small basin, the mountain spring boils out of the hillside and weaves its way slowly through an aspen grove only to disappear into the sage flats below. With no opportunity to glass the area our scouting is comprised of reading the many signs on the ground, gauging the marks on trees, and viewing nearly 1700 trail cam pictures from this one camera alone. This honey hole is turning out to be our most productive set to date. This headwater serves a dual purpose for the bears in the area. Pooling up under a natural grassy bank, the small gravel tub is both a water hole and a wading pool to soak their thick coats. The water is constantly moving through the pool so there is always clean drinking water or a freshly drawn bath. This location will make for a difficult hunt but with the number of bears in the area, it offers great opportunity.
Here are just a couple of the trail cam picts we enjoyed.
Moving on to one of the other cameras later in the evening we were stopped in our tracks as one of the bears from my original post, “Scouting California Bears”, lumbered out of the willows. Bandage is a very distinct bear with a white blaze chest and a bandage like stripe across his nose. With camera rolling Chris and I contemplated strategies on how we‘d stalk him as he feed through an open park just a couple hundred open yards away. I’m hoping this situation replays again in six weeks as it would have made for an exciting hunt.