As the last few rays of the evening sun cast their light on the bottom of the clear-cut, a single “burnt stump” kept moving. My eyes strained to focus through the heat waves in the binoculars. I used my video camera to zoom in and confirm that it was indeed a black bear, lying on its back against a log while waking from its afternoon nap. A stiff crosswind kept me from attempting a nearly 500 yard shot. With an hour and a half of shooting light remaining, I gathered my gear and bailed off the old logging landing. Working down the ridge, I used an old elk trail that took me out of sight of where the bear was last seen. I could only hope he would be feeding in the open when I reached a new vantage spot in the bottom.
Here in my home state of Oregon, hunters experience liberal hunting seasons, with the spring hunts running from April 1st to May 31st. It is a controlled hunt that normally requires one to apply in the draw ($8 application fee).
Out of the 30,000 black bears estimated to be living in the state, the majority can be found in the dense Douglas fir timberlands of southwest (SW) Oregon. The large geographical area of this hunt encompasses eleven separate Wildlife Management Units (with certain restrictions in some areas). It begins east of the Eugene area, reaches west to the Pacific Ocean and south to the California border. Although the SW Oregon tags remain a controlled hunt, they are now sold on a first-come, first-served basis beginning De