Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) released its forecast for the spring bear hunting season, with the deadline for people to purchase tags for spring bear being Wednesday, March 31.
The Lake County wildlife management units of Warner, Interstate and Silver Lake are covered under the south central area or hunt 731A.
The agency notes the snowpack is below normal as the result of a mild winter conditions, this makes higher elevations more accessible for hunters. While traditionally bears have been found mostly in the Cascade Mountains, over the past several years the number of black bear have been increasing in the Silver Lake, Warner and Interstate wildlife management units. This has led to hunters in these areas having increased success.
ODFW is recommending hunters check Yamsey Mountain and Winter Rim areas of the Silver Lake unit. In the Interstate unit hunters are encouraged to check areas in the Gearhart Mountain area and on the unburned fringes around the 2002 and 2012 fires and in various riparian areas.
There is a new temporary rule ODFW has instituted and will last six months. If hunters are successful in harvesting a bear they must contact ODFW by either phone, voicemail, or email within 10 days and provide the following information: date and location of harvest, sex of the animal, complete hunter information including the date and time when the tag was confirmed. Hunters who did purchase a 2021 spring bear tag have until Jan. 31, 2022, to report their hunt even if they were unsuccessful.
For people who are hunting spring bear for the first time ODFW has some tips to make the hunt successful. Hunters should look for meadows, open slopes, or clear cuts. In the early part of the season focus on south facing slopes with spring growth as bears can be seen feeding on grass and digging for roots.