By Zach Lazzari
The west is loaded with great bear hunts but Idaho is hands down one of the best. Many other states do not allow spring black bear hunting with hounds or bait. Idaho offers both. The state has healthy black bear populations with some excellent color phase bears. If you’ve always dreamed of hunting alongside skilled houdsman for mature bears in various color phases, these Idaho spring hunts are a perfect fit.
How a Hound Hunt Works
Watching experienced hounds on a trail is simply exhilarating. In Idaho, black bears cover large areas of thick timber and dense vegetation where they are exceptionally difficult to locate. On a hound hunt, we hunt in the mornings starting from the truck. We drive until the hounds catch a scent of a bear. This scent can be hours old or perhaps the bear just crossed the road. We will let a hound go to see if it can “start” or point the direction of the bear. If it does, we will feed the other hounds to the start dog.
We then follow the dogs as closely as possible. Show up in good physical condition because the bear and dogs are liable to cover a great distance and difficult terrain before the bear scrambles up a tree. If it is a mature bear and the hunter wants to harvest, this is the time.
Prepping for a Hunt
The first step involves booking your hunt with Table Mountain Outfitters to lock down the dates. Running bears with this group of hounds is flat-out fun.
Next, make an exercise plan and work on your physical fitness. Anything can happen on these hunts. You could have a bear 10-minutes from the truck, or you might be climbing steep elevation and rugged terrain to reach the tree. Break in your boots and hit the trails and treadmills to train for this hunt. The nice thing here is that you aren’t lugging a great big pack loaded with gear. Get your legs in good shape and be ready to hit the mountains.
Color Phase Bears
The high density of color phase bears makes Idaho a wonderful place to harvest a black bear. You might find pure black, blonde, brown, cinnamon and combinations with different shading across the coat. These bears make for beautiful rugs and taxidermy pieces.
Finally, hunting black bears with hounds and over bait allows hunters to be more selective. We can focus on taking mature boars and avoid harvesting younger bears. For this reason, our hunting area has a healthy age class of bears. The use of hounds and bait are important management tools for quality black bear management.
Reserve Your Spring Bear Dates
To reserve your dates for a 2020 spring black bear hunt in Idaho, please contact us. You can also find more information on our Bear Hunting page. We look forward to helping you plan a memorable spring hunt!