Last year some relatives and I were planning to do a DIY public land black bear archery hunt. Unfortunately, it didn't happen, but this year we are definitely going to make it happen. I've done quite a bit of reading on agfc.com and I purchased a subscription to Arkansas Bear and Buck Journal produced by ABBA. I've tried to learn as much as I can, but this will be my first hunt in AR, first public land hunt, and first black bear hunt, so I still have a lot of questions. I'm hoping I can tap into your expertise.
Our plan is it go the second week in Oct and hunt in the White Rock WMA in or near Johnson county. Firstly, do y'all thing this is a good area to hunt and, if so, could you recommend an exact location to set up camp. We are all in our early 30s and able/willing to hike to a primitive and remote base camp if necessary. I've spent hours on Google Earth trying to identify a good camping spot, but it's hard when you have no point of reference.
I'm curious, I've read some that say there are a lot of bears in the Ozarks while others say there are a lot of bears in the Ouachitas. Are they both right? The harvest reports would suggest there is a higher population of bears in the Ozarks (or zone 1). However, I'm curious if there is a good bear pop in zone 2, but people continue to see the harvest reports from zone 1 and keep going back there. What say you?
My other questions are more about the logistics:
What is the weather like that time of year? Is it snowing?
What is the best way to hunt bears on public land? Spot and stalk, calling, or find a trail, set up a tree stand and hope you get lucky?
Are their remote campsites or cabins that are open to the public or do you just pitch a tent?
One last thing. It would be cool to find someone that has private land that we could hunt for 3 days. Does that ever happen and, if so, how would I go about finding a 3 day lease? I've searched every lease website I could find with no luck. I've also tried the classifieds of local papers around where we wanted to hunt. Hoping for some insider info here!
I'm really pumped up about this hunt. I realize the chances of harvesting a bear are slim, but that's why they call it hunting and not killing!