Whether you have hunted bear before or are a first timer, there always a few things that you can easily do in order to be more successful out in the field while bear hunting. From sitting over a bait to spot and stalk, here are our top 10 tips black bear hunting tips to make you more successful.
There is no way around it, bear hunting is hard work. There is plenty of time commitment, as well physical work accompanying a bear hunt. It doesn’t matter if you are sitting over a bait site or hunting spot and stalk style, once you kill a bear then the work gets even harder. It is important to be physically and mentally prepared for the challenges that come along with bear hunting. This is number one on the list of black bear hunting tips for good reason.
2. Learn to Field Judge
Bears are easily one of the hardest animals to accurately field judge. There are, however, a few things you can look at in order to help size up a bear. First look at the legs. Do they appear long and lanky, and do you see plenty of space between the bear’s body and the ground? Then it is probably a younger bear. Larger bears will have big bodies, which will hang lower to the ground and make their legs appear much shorter and stouter. Another thing to look at is the ears. If they look huge compared to the bear’s head, then it is not a big bear. A trophy bear will have a large, square head that makes its ears appear small.
3. Watch a Bear’s Behavior
The way a bear acts is a good indication of its age and size. Is the bear acting cautious like a deer, pausing every few steps to look around? Or does he walk around without a care in the world, as if he owns the place? A younger bear will act more cautious, as he is afraid of the bigger bears in the area. Big bears have no natural predators, and act as if they are not afraid of anything.
4. Be Safe
Hunting bears will put you in close quarters with bears. There a few simple safety tips to keep in mind, like being extremely careful around any bears with cubs. Mother bears are extremely protective, so always keep an eye out for small cubs. All bears are also naturally curious, so have plans in place for when they might get a little too close for comfort!
5. Always Watch the Wind
Bears have some of the best noses in the animal world. While they cannot see or hear super well, they rely on their noses which are 50 times better than a bloodhound’s. Watch the wind and keep your scent from ruining your hunt before it even starts. Always try and stay downwind from any bears you see, or wherever you suspect that they may be. The last thing you want to do is give away your position before you get a shot opportunity.
6. Learn the Kill Zone
Learn where the vitals are on a bear, and where you need to shoot one in order to make a clean, ethical kill. Bears are tough animals and their hair and hide can really soak up blood, so making a good first shot is critical to ensure a quick recovery on the animal. Their hair can also distort their body proportions as well, so thoroughly research good shot placement and practice it before heading out.
7. Bring the Right Gear
If you are hunting bears over bait from a tree stand, you will want to make sure you bring enough clothing to keep you comfortable throughout the day, and maybe even something like a book to keep you busy while you wait on a bear. If you are hunting bears by spot and stalk, you will want to make sure you bring everything you will need throughout the trip, and get yourself some quality binoculars, boots, and backpack.
8. Hunt the Best Times of Day
Hunting bears is the most productive at certain times of the day when the bears are the most active. You will likely want to get to your stand early in the morning if you are sitting over bait, so that you can beat the bears to your site. Most bears are active early in the morning, and right before dark. The last few hours of the day always seem to produce the most activity, so make sure you are in the right spot and ready to take full advantage of any opportunities that may come during this time.
9. Take Good Care of the Meat
Contrary to popular belief, bear meat is actually very delicious. The only downside to bear hunting, however, is that their thick hides can very quickly spoil the meat, so it is very important to find your bear as soon as possible after killing it. Properly field dress and care for the meat in the woods, and you will be rewarded with some delicious meals back at home.
10. Have Fun and Never Stop Learning
Bear hunting is all about having fun. Never worry about what other hunters may do or think, and just go out hunting with the mindset that you will have fun no matter what. By doing this, you will slowly start to learn more and more and improve your success rates while out hunting, all while having a ton of fun at the same time!
Black bears are a ton of fun to hunt. Just make sure that you have plenty of practice with your weapon before heading into the field and understand what you are doing. Go into the hunt the best prepared that you can, and you are sure to have a great time enjoying the outdoors, trying to outsmart the beautiful bears that call it home!