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Bear Hunting

Maine Black Bear Raffle

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This was something I came across that you don’t quite hear about everyday, but I thought it was worth mentioning and spreading the word about.In the little town of North Berwick, Maine, 200 Noble High School students are trying to raise $100,000 for a school music trip down to New York City. However, selling cup cakes just wasn’t cutting it so one of the student’s grandfather decided to offer up a raffle for a 6-day black bear hunt.

Grandfather of a choral student in the school music department and a Master Maine Guide, Varney figured the sale of $10 tickets for a chance to hunt at one of his son’s 50 “bear sites” might help raise the funds needed for the children to make the trip.

The winner gets lodging and meals for two at one of the family’s bear camps in northwestern Maine for the first week of the 2008 bear-hunting season. Hot and cold running water, “a flush toilet,” bedding and meals — including a lobster bake and “trash can turkey” dinner — are included. A Ragged Lake Guide Service guide is part of the prize and winners are warned their cell phones won’t work at the remote camp.

Winners who don’t want to hunt can photograph bears and other wildlife in the remote area between Mt. Katahdin and the Canadian border, said Varney, or take $1,000 cash.

Tickets will be sold until April 30 and the winner drawn May 1. Rod and gun clubs are getting out the word and Noble music boosters will be selling tickets at the Kittery Trading Post on Feb. 2.

To purchase tickets for the Black bear hunt raffle, or more information send inquires to Varney at noblesro@sad60.k12.me.us.

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Bear Hunting

New York’s First Early Black Bear Season a Success

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A flourishing black bear population and a newly established early-season give hunters additional opportunities to hunt black bears in New York.

The NYS DEC took a proactive approach to manage the State’s black bear population with the addition of an early black bear season in select WMUs for 2014. The early bear hunting season started on September 6th in portions of Southeastern New York and September 13th in Northern New York

Some of the highlights of the new plan include:

  • New early firearms bear season from September 6-21 in WMUs 3A, 3C, 3H, 3J, 3K, 3M, 3P, 3R, 4P, and 4R. Any hunting implement, including crossbows, are legal for use during the early black bear season.
  • Expanded bear hunting in northern New York which now includes WMUs 6A, 6G, 6K, and 6N. In these newly opened units, bear hunting begins with bowhunting equipment only from September 13 through October 17.

The downside with the early season bear hunting is the heat – the opening day had temperatures in the mid to high 80s with high humidity. Bear hunters will have to skin their harvest as quickly as possible to cool the meat and prevent spoilage. Hunters might also want to skin and quarter the bear in the field and picking out the meat in game bags.

Here’s a video from one successful hunter during this year’s early black bear season:

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Bear Hunting

Black Bears Around Campsites and Hiking Trails

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Recently, the NYS DEC issued some warnings about camping in areas with black bears. I frequently visit areas like this and it’s good to refresh yourself no matter how seasoned of a backpacker, hiker, or camper you are. Here are some tips from the DEC to remember while camping and hiking in bear country:

  • Store food, toiletries and garbage in bear resistant containers or “food hangs.” If you have no choice but to hang your food, be sure to use a dark colored cord. The cord should be 75 feet long and the bag should be hung 15 feet above the ground and at least 10 feet away from trees.
  • Keep food in hangs or in bear resistant container at all times, take down only what is needed for cooking. Bear resistant canisters are a highly effective means for preventing bears from getting food, toiletries and garbage from back country campers. For more information about bear resistant containers, see the DEC webpage at www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7225.html.
  • Bear resistant containers are required to be used by all overnight campers within the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness Zone of the Adirondack Forest Preserve.
  • Never leave food unattended unless it is in a bear resistant container or in a food hang.
  • Never cook or eat in your sleeping area.
  • Cook early, no later than 5 p.m.
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Bear Hunting

Black Bear Hunt – Day II

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Our first day of black bear hunting had not gone as planned. With little more than 3 hours of sleep the previous night we had arrived at the woods at 5am, hiked until 7:30am, hunted hard all day, and hiked out of the woods in the dark until we reached the truck at 7:30pm. Not exactly a fun 14.5 hour day, but definitely worth the experience. Battered and bruised we awoke the next morning at our hotel room and planned to still hunt an area that was closer to the state land entrance where we had seen plenty of deer the previous morning and night on our drive to and from our hunting grounds. We just didn’t have anything left in us to carry our stands around or hike for miles into the bush.

Our still hunt led us through some hardwoods and down to a creek bottom that showed some sign of use by whitetails. We proceeded up towards the top of the 1,600 foot peak in hopes of finding a flat area where the deer would be hanging out. Instead, we heard a gobble – at this point we were desperate, we just wanted to hunt some animal! Since it was turkey, deer, bear, pheasant, grouse, and squirrel season, we had some options. My hunting partner got out a diaphragm call and gave a few yelps. We slowly worked our way through the thick brush and came to an opening near the top of the mountain. With a few more yelps we finally got a response. I quickly turned and signaled for him to stop calling and signaled to him that we needed to quickly make our way behind three large trees in front of us. As I approached the trees I spotted the source of the turkeys we were hearing. They were coming from a ground blind about 80 yards away – but these guys weren’t bow hunters, they were carrying guns, so we made our way back down into the thick stuff and circled around them to not disturb their hunting area.

Soon we stumbled upon a trail which made walking through the woods a lot easier. It led us to a power line clearing with thick brush everywhere. We later came to find out this was another parking area on the other side of the state land we were hunting. There were a few groups of hunters on the land that day, but we never ran into any more after the guys in the ground blind. We decided to head back to the truck and drive around this area in an effort to learn the 5,000 acre grounds better. As always, it’s tough to learn an area so large with only a few hours out in the field. I’m hoping by the end of this season we will have learned the area well enough to make next season’s hunt much more enjoyable. We went home empty handed that day, but I did get the crap scared out of me as I flushed a grouse out from under my feet. We also got a chance to shoot a pair of ringneck pheasants we saw with our bows, but decided against it as we flushed the birds from the brush. Although we had our arrows tipped with G5’s Small Game Head, we didn’t have large enough feathers on our arrows and they would have flown too far if we missed.

In all, we discovered a new travel route to our bear hunting spot which looks to be a much easier hike for us. We’re not done yet though, we’ll be heading back out into the back forty in a few weeks. This time, we don’t plan on coming home empty handed.

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