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Bear Hunt, Part 1

Thu, 4 Aug 2011|

Retired FDNY Lieutenant Kevin Shea heads out for bear season in Montana.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

[MUSIC] Okay, hello there. Today is April 25th and bear season here in Montana opened up over a week ago. This is the day after Easter and because of the weather, if you can see behind me. That's the Swan Mountain Range near where I live. And let me see if I can get some more of it. There you go, That's the Swan Mountain Range and it's still covered with snow. We got a late snow last week and they're expecting a little bit more snow this week. So I would have waited until the end, middle of May, last couple of weeks, last 3 weeks of May that hit it hard for the bears. But, I have to go back to New York for my son's college graduation, so I'm gonna go up there and hit it now. I expect it to be pretty messy and tough climbing. I heard the bears are starting to move. Went over to fish and wildlife and they said there's been a couple of bears brought in, but not too many yet. We're getting, a late start to the season they told me. So that's it, that's the Swan Mountain range and I'm gonna head over there right now and see what I can do. 'Kay, first day out, today's the first day out in the Swan Valley, Swan Mountain range. And gonna do some spot and stalking for bears today. In Montana you're not allowed to bait, baiting is illegal for bears. So. We're going to see if we can stock up on them. Got my binos and got some protection. For, there has been some [UNKNOWN] out here. You have to have some protection. Today I'm carrying a 44 Magnum. And people debate whether that's better or the bass spray's better. I have the bass spray also. I only suggest using the handgun for protection if you practice a lot. If you're not practicing with the handgun, I would leave it at home and use the bass spray but. The experts, vary in their opinion. So I have all of my equipment here. Because archery overlaps gun season in Montana, you have to wear orange. As far as I know, I have to have blaze orange on for the whole bear season. So, I have my vest, Got my hat. bow, backpack. Got my equipment. Hand gun. And that's it. I'm ready to go. Oh yeah. Beautiful. I'm on a logging road. Parked about a mile down that road there. And what I'm trying to do is find, this is like a main logging road and what I want to do is find an auxiliary road. Something not traveled much. Just cut down, but not a lot of truck traffic, so that the grass will start to grow. In the beginning of bear season after they hibernate and their digestive systems are just kick starting they need to eat a lot of grass before they can digest other things. I believe they have what's called a fecal plug and they have to pass that. So, they gonna start eating a lot of grass right now and I'm going to start looking for areas with grass. I went up this logging road a distance. To get away from everybody. And then soon I'm going to look up the mountain, which you can't see right now because it's covered in snow clouds, but I'm going to try to get up that mountain a bit. And either look for avalanche chutes which would rip the trees down from previous years and then grass would be growing there. Or just these auxiliary. Logging roads that don't have a lot of traffic like this road. So the ground won't be as packed down hard and have grass growing on it. And like I said before, you have to carry some sort of protection. Either bear spray or an adequate hand gun. Because this is grizzly territory also. And you also have to really be aware of the difference in appearance between the grizzly and the black bear. Grizzlies are protected and it would be a severe fine and you would get in a lot of trouble if you shot a grizzly by accident. And they wouldn't consider it an accident. You're supposed to know the difference, so. We have to be very aware of grizzlies here so we don't have an encounter that we don't want. Yeah, cloud cover lifted for a minute and this is what I'm, part of what I'm looking for. You can see that it's barren up there. A lot of trees have been taken down. Some hope there's gonna be, Some grass up on that mountain. And, also, they'll be, A lot of glass in here. A lot of using the binoculars, Instead of just walking all over the place. I'd be too much walking, And, I carry the, the, Whisper wind, or the liquid smoke, the powder, And, I'm constantly checking the wind. When, stalking you have to check it constantly. Here I get wind swirls. It changes on me. So, that's it. Let's go see what I can find up there. In addition to the secondary logging roads. Not the primary like I'm on here but the secondary, with grass growing on those. These areas that have been thinned out by the logging are another good area at this early spring, because where the canopy from the trees have been taken away and the sun can get down on the ground we'll get some new grass growing. The problem is it's been so cloudy and snowy this season late, that I don't have a lot of grass coming up. And I think the bears are just starting to come out, so it's got, I think, it's, this is gonna go on for awhile, another week or two before I even, get a handle on where I'm gonna find some bear activity. [BLANK_AUDIO]