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Spring Black Bear 2023

At 700 yards a black bear is a pinprick of a shadow, the illusion of a burnt stump more than an animal. It took binos on a tripod to confirm what I thought was a bear was really a bear. Jet black and fumbling around in an overgrown clearcut, chowing down on the meagre early spring vegetation, he was content in his space and not moving closer or further away. I was happy to sit and watch him.

The Remington M7600 comes through at the tail end of the spring season.

The previous spring started out in an identical manner; same time, same place. Walked in a few minutes from the vehicle and there was a bear. Like last year I was carrying the muzzleloader, on the wrong side of a river with no great way to close the distance. A fact that is almost comforting, considering it was my first day out in early April with almost three months of hunting ahead of me. There wasn’t anything pressing me to find a way to wade across, never mind skirting around a bad wind. I have a desire to hunt and filling a tag on the first day would really cut down my time in the field.

If I had known that I was going to run out the season in Region 2 without seeing another bear while hunting I may have made another decision. The Lower Mainland didn’t get much of a spring, coming in cold and wet then switching to a summer-like heat dome that had temperatures soaring in May. Grass patches burnt before they were lush, there was very little sign leaving me with the suspicion that the bears were moving at night and spending the majority of their time in brush, probably moving higher up the mountain early.

One week after the spring black bear closed in my home area I hightailed it north. With a season that runs two weeks longer and rain the day before there was a clearcut calling my name. Last year I had blown a stalk on two black bears in this same spot and it didn’t disappoint again, fifty feet in from the top of the cut the rubbed hide of a bear glowed in the sun. For over an hour I watched, waited and finally my 30-06 barked. The small boar didn’t go far, rolling downhill through the brush and making me work to drag him out, which is only fair. With the freezer full again it’s time to get out fishing more.

See you on the water or the mountain.

-Matthew Mallory

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