Talk about Bear Hunting
Hey Seth, I drew a tag for the same hunt last year. I got a bear 1/2 mile west of the rock wall and 1/2 mile north of FR1950. We also heard a shot on the last day about 1/2 mile north of that. Pretty good area for bear. It is steep terrain to get to the back side but once you are back there it is prime bear country. My advice is to go later in the spring hunt. We went in April and the bears were still in torpor. In May, the bears were out and about. That was last year, but the warmer the better.
Everything I've heard and seen is spring bear on the Valle is pretty lousy. Game and Fish say only 2 out of 20 hunters took bears in 2012...even with guys trying to run them with hounds. They also say the bears really don't start moving into the area in force until the end of May or early June...after the bear season closes and during the prime elk calving dates. The Valle's bear population is very low until elk start dropping calves. Fish & game typically plan on having their "bear relocators" ready to go right after May 20 so bears can be moved out during calving if needed. Several of us saw the traps parked there near the end of last season just like Fish & Game said they would be. The officer I spoke to in the Raton office says hunting bear on the Valle it's a good reason to get out in the mountains but not really a good opportunity if you want much chance for success on a bear. Of all the outfitters I spoke to, none wanted to waste their time running bears on the unit. The only one who said he would wanted to do it just to give his dogs the practice and exercise. I don't plan on applying for it again! Go for it, though, if you just want to get out in the spring.
FYI...Just talked to Game and Fish in Raton and they said they aren't aware of any bears being killed on the Valle Vidal so far this season. Not looking too good with only four days left to hunt! Some people are saying the spring hunt on the Valle is just another little revenue generator for the Department rather than the quality hunt it's made out to be.
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