Bear Hunting

Grizzly bear and black bear hunting are perhaps the most exciting hunting events in North America. Hunting bears is not without its risks, however: A grizzly or black bear is capable of seriously injuring or killing a person. But for hunters who enjoy a challenge, bear hunting is thrilling and rewarding.

Bear Hunting Season

Bear hunting seasons run in both the spring and fall, although exact dates vary depending on location. Grizzly bear hunting season may differ from black bear hunting season in the same region, so be sure to identify your bear before shooting.

Both boars (males) and sows (females) are fair game during bear hunting season, with one noticeable exception: You cannot at any time shoot a sow with cubs. A sow may leave her cubs to investigate hunting calls, so she may travel alone. Bear hunters must learn to wait and look for cubs.

Bear Hunting Dogs

Bear hunting dogs are legal in some regions but are prohibited in others. Animal activists have successfully banned bear hunting dogs in some districts. In others, dogs are still used for black bear hunting. Dogs, however, are never used in grizzly bear hunting.

If you use bear hunting dogs, it”s important to carry first aid into the field in case a dog is injured. Ideally, the dogs tree the bear when black bear hunting, but it”s also possible the bear could be cornered and fight back.

Black Bear and Grizzly Bear Hunting Tips

Both black bear hunting and grizzly bear hunting must take into account the bear”s senses. Bears have poor eyesight compared to most prey. Instead, they rely on their exceptional hearing and sense of smell.

Because of a bear”s acute hearing, hunters must proceed as quietly as possible. Stalking a bear is a challenge, and some hunters prefer to lure the bear to them with predator calls or bait. Baiting, however, is not legal in many regions.

Concealing your scent is one of the most important bear hunting tips: One whiff of human and your target will disappear. Avoid perfume, cologne and other scents, including cigarette smoke. Commercially available scent-masking products are available for bear hunting.

Bear Hunting with Predator Calls

Black bears and grizzlies are nature”s opportunists and are often attracted to the sound of predators and scavengers. Using a predator call can attract bears to you, but there are some considerations to keep in mind.

First, whether you”re black bear or grizzly bear hunting, bears don”t seem to have the longest attention spans in nature. You have to call for long periods without a break to attract a bear: Chances are you”ll be out of breath by the time you stop calling.

Second, you”re calling to attract a few hundred pounds of hungry bear, and you”ve no guarantee which direction he will come from. Bear hunting is safest with a partner, as you can watch all directions. If you”re alone, position yourself so there”s little chance the bear can sneak up on you.

Bear Hunting Targets

A clean kill is desirable in any type of hunting. Clean kills are especially important in bear hunting. Not only do you want to put the animal down with a minimum of suffering, but you also don”t want to be dealing with an enraged and injured bear.

When bear hunting, your target is an area known as the “”boiler room.”” The boiler room is a 5-inch-square area just behind the front shoulder. The bullet or arrow needs to enter the boiler room so it moves towards the head.

Resources

Alaska Department of Fish and Game (n.d.). Hunting Black and Brown/Grizzly Bears. Retrieved December 7, 2007, from the Alaska department of Fish and Game Web site: www.wildlife.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=bearhunt.black_brown.

Cooney, J. (August 1, 2002). Fall Black Bear Basics. Retrieved December 5, 2007, from the Big Game Hunt Web site: www.biggamehunt.net/sections/Black_Bear/Fall_Black_
Bear_Basics_08010212.html.

Haugen, S. (n.d.). Bear-Bagging Tips. Retrieved December 5, 2007, from the Game and Fish Web site: www.gameandfishmag.com/hunting/big-game-hunting/
gf_aa106202a/.

Lifetips.com (n.d.). Expert Bear Hunting Tips. Retrieved December 5, 2007, from the Lifetips Web site: hunting.lifetips.com/cat/64507/bear-hunting/index.html.

Ritchie, L.; Richie, L. (2003). American Black Bear: Ursus Americanus. Retrieved December 5, 2007, from the Paquette”s Camp Web site: www.paquettescamp.com/black-bear-hunting-tips.htm.

ST. (November 12, 2007). Black Bear Hunting Tips. Retrieved December 5, 2007, from the Associated Content Web site: www.associatedcontent.com/article/439565/black_bear_
hunting_tips.html.