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SPOT AND STALK SPRING BEAR PRIMER S TA F F A R T I C L E JERROD LILE PROFESSIONAL HUNT ADVISOR HUNTIN’ FOOL CEO I have the luxury of living in great bear country. I can often find bears within minutes of my home, so I naturally spend a fair amount of time each spring working the cobwebs out of my stalking game in pursuit of black bears. The more I hunt them, the more intriguing they become. Few animals have a wider range of “personalities” than black bears do. Though rare, you occasionally find a bold, brazen bear that seems to have little fear of mankind, and on the other end of the spectrum, you will find black bears that exhibit as much intelligence as the wiliest of whitetails, rarely emerging from dense foliage outside of the cover of night. Each year, I learn a few more things about them and there are a couple of absolutes that must be adhered to for consistent success on spot and stalk bruins. P AT I EN CE I had a friend come out to hunt spring bears with me a few years ago. I took him out a couple of times to show him some good places to glass from, and we managed to see a couple of pretty good bears that we did not close the deal on. After that, he was pretty much on his own as I had to work. Day after day, I received texts that were becoming more and more desperate in his quest to even see a bear. He was young and a bit impatient, so I stressed to him to stick with it and believe in the areas he was looking in and he would start finding JERROD LILE AND JED CYCLEWESKI 14 bears. One particularly discouraging day, he sat and glassed one of my favorite spots for about four hours without seeing a single bear. His text said it all, “I hate bears!!!!” In spite of me telling him to stay there, he came back home to eat and go to another location. A different friend of mine went to the same point later that evening and saw six different bears, including two shooter boars. The lesson was finally driven home as he learned to patiently wait in good areas and he started seeing bears. He eventually harvested a great boar later that week and was all smiles. I think he may be hooked too. From the time that bears emerge from dens in the spring until the early part of June when the pre-rut is kicking in, bears aren’t very nomadic. JERROD LILE AND HIS SON, JAKE, WITH A MONTANA BEAR