Contributors to this thread:
I am going on my first black bear hunt in North Idaho. I can go either the first week or third week of May. Which is better? Pros and cons of each would be appreciated.
Pros/Cons to both. I can’t even get to my area the first week of May on a normal/big snow year. Maybe you’re in a Lower elevation area...in that case you may be catching them while they are just starting to hit baits and that could be pretty good. First chance on a bear is always a great opportunity. 3rd week of May, Better chance bears have found the bait and are getting into a routine before the rut starts. We do much better in June where we’re at. Seems like there’s always a really slow week or two between when the baits get hit hard and the rut kicks in. They get some hunting pressure and other food sources start to pop. Can go nocturnal for a bit. Other guys on this site that I hunt with over there have done better earlier in May than we have. Be interested in what they say. Is this outfitted?
Sorry, I just realized that didn’t help much! Ok....hold my toes to the fire.....in my area anyways I’m taking 3rd week. If outfitted ask your guide for some references from guys from first week of May last two years versus 3rd week and see what those guys say. Good luck and hope you guys have a great hunt!
Later better all other things equal.
IMHO - If baited I personally would avoid the first week. How many hunters in camp and how many bait sites are available?
The Pro of that week - is you are obviously first group in camp on fresh baits and first chance at the bears. The hides should be very nice with no rubs.
The cons - how long have they been baiting prior to your first week? That could be shortened considerably by the previous winters snow fall - or current conditions. They may not be able to get to baits in the "standard" time allotted for the baiting due to in climate weather. Which means fewer bears out and fewer bears hitting the bait.
If the place is a bear factory type of camp then go first week - if they are taking 6 ish hunters per week and plenty of baits - go 3rd week.
An outfitter will tell you both dates are great - and they have killed PY and BC bears on both dates which would be true. However, Im talking about "statistically" in you favor.
If this is a spot and stalk....whenever the south facing slopes green up.
The closer you can get to the rut the better.
Go the 3rd week, weather should be better, boars will be moving.