Scouting California Bears

Scar Face/pumpkin head

The excitement level is rising with every trip into the mountains and the anticipation for the opener of bear season is becoming obsessive. For me, scouting for any big game can never start early enough or maybe it is just my excuse to get more time in the mountains. Either way it is paying off both for deer and bear.

This past Wednesday I met up with friend and Outback Outdoors camera man, Chris Callinan, for our second trip into the mountains checking

White Nose

the trail cams we have set for bears.  The state of California does not allow baiting as a means to take bears. So in the backcountry of the Eastern Sierra’s we rely on signs of bear activity to determine where our cameras will be most usefully placed and our glassing concentrated. Chris and I have been focusing out efforts to one deep canyon. Lined with pinion junipers and aspen pockets, the lush grassy parks are showing sign of an active population of bears.


A nice chocolate bear gnawing post

Scratching post

One tell tail sign of high bear activity in the area is a railroad tie fence post. This oil soaked object is being used as a scratching post or a scent marker. The top quarter gnawed away giving a great indicator of the size and dominance of the bears in the area. This location along a high mountain cattle grazing fence line is turning up some great pictures.

Bear trail inspection

Another indicator is a fascinating sliver of aspens displaying signs that many generations of bears have been lumbering under the quaking canopy. There are trails beaten into the soft earth by the tight gait of bears following in the same foot step as the previous bear. Nearly every aspen is clawed or chewed upon as markers and scratch posts with many showing claw marks nearly to the top.

White Nose

We will be heading back in to the area at the end of June to see what these areas are producing.  All this leading up to what looks to be a potentially awesome California archery bear hunt. 

One Response to “Scouting California Bears”

  1. Tim Baugh says:

    Nice piece Dave. I really enjoy your blog. I hiked into a canyon about 2 weeks ago and spotted a blond phase bear feeding on meadow grasses. Might have to buy a tag. Good luck and take care.

Leave a Reply