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Are you interested in hunting black bears? Do you want to learn how to hunt black bears? Hunting black bears is very challenging and dangerous as they have a good sense of smell, picks up movement very well, and have very good navigational skills. In this article, we discuss hunting strategies to help you successfully hunt black bears.
How To Hunt Black Bears
1. Scouting Black Bears
Black bears live in forests, densely timbered mountain ranges, and swamps. Black bears eat almost anything such as young deer and elk, salmon, other fish, grasses, forbs, buds, corn, peaches, apples, alfalfa, honey, acorns, pine nuts, hazelnuts, and beechnuts. They also eat fruits such as cranberry, huckleberry, bearberry, and wild strawberry. Black bears also eat insects and insect larvae.
When you are looking for black bears, look for areas that have the food they eat and you will improve your chances of finding black bears. Keep your eyes open for apple orchards, salmon streams, moose gut piles, berry patches, and dead animals.
Additionally, when you are looking for signs of black bear activity, keep your eyes open for overturned rocks, pawed-up ground, shredded stumps, rotten logs, abandoned fish carcasses along streams, and the remains and crushed bones of carrion. Markings on trees from teeth and claws indicate territorial markings and those are signs of black bears. Rubbing marks on tree trunks and clumps of hair on barks are also signs of black bear activities.
2. Spot and Stalk Hunting
The spot and stalk hunting method is one of the most popular methods used by hunters to hunt black bears. With this hunting method, hunters glass the food sources from an elevated point. When a hunter spots a black bear that he wants, the hunter will slowly and quietly stalk the black bear, remaining undetected until he gets into shooting range and can take a good shot to take the bear down.
When stalking black bears, always hunt into the winds to keep your human scent from reaching the bears. You can use binoculars or spotting scopes to search over fields and other areas to find black bears. If you are interested in binoculars or spotting scopes, then read the reviews of the best hunting binoculars and the best spotting scopes.
Baiting bears is another method of hunting black bears. With this method, you place a bait pile in a location where bears are active, where they feel secure to visit during the day, and set up in an area that overlooks the bait pile. When bears pick up the odor of the bait pile, they will cautiously come to feed on the bait pile. When you have a bear within your shooting range, take a good shot to take it down. Salmon, dead animals, and fruits are some foods that can be used as bait.
4. Ambush Hunting
Ambush hunting involves setting up your hunting spot in a location where bears travel and ambushing them when they are within your shooting range. With this hunting method, you can glass for bears and study their movements from food sources to their dense cover during pre-season scouting.
Then set up treestands in a position that will be slightly off the path of their trails as they move from dense forests to food sources. Hunting from a treestand will keep your scent and movements from the bear with its good sense of smell and hearing.
You can also hunt black bears using the still-hunting method. With this hunting method, you quietly and slowly move and stop regularly to scan the area for bears. You use any vegetation as cover as you move to keep you undetected as you search for bears.
The direction of the wind also has to be taken into consideration as you work the fields looking for bears. Bears have a very good sense of smell that is used to also sense danger. If they pick up your odor, they will retreat to dense forests where they feel secure.
You can lure black bears into your shooting range using predator calls like rabbit calls, turkey calls, and fawn bleats. When calling black bears, it is better to have a hunting partner. One person can do the calling while the other serves as the shooter. These roles can also be reversed as the hunting continues during the hunting period.
Strategically choose an area to call in which you have a very good view of all sides that a bear may come from and set up in a position where the bear can only approach the calls from in front of you. If you are interested in predator calls, we reviewed the best predator calls on the market.
You can organize drives to push bears out of an area. With drives, you and your hunting partners can set up in an area where one person is the driver in wet areas, young clear-cuts with dense vegetation, stream bottoms, bogs, and agricultural fields, while the others position themselves as the shooters.
8. Hunting With Hounds
If you experience difficulty finding bears in an area, although your pre-season scouting and other resources, like other bear hunters and wildlife biologists, confirm that black bears are in the area, then you can hunt them with the help of black bears.
When hunting black bears with hounds, the hounds will pick up the scent of the bears and track them until they are located. Usually, this hot pursuit will pressure the bears to take refuge in trees. This gives you the opportunity to decide if you want the bear and take a good shot to drop it.
Black Bear Hunting Tips
1. Do thorough pre-season scouting in areas you believe inhabit bears by looking for bear signs.
2. Spot & stalk hunting method is one of the popular ways of hunting black bears.
3. Black bears can also be hunted using predator calls like fawn bleats, injured rabbit distressed calls, and turkey calls.
4. Still-hunting can also be used to hunt black bears.
5. Black bears are omnivores; they eat anything. Fruits, fish, dead animals, corn, acorns, pinenuts, hazelnuts, insects, calves, fawns, etc. are some of the food they eat.
6. Black bears have a very good sense of smell, hearing, and good navigational skills.
7. You can hunt black bears using hounds.
8. You can also hunt black bears by organizing drives.
9. Always check the hunting laws in the state you hunt to verify which hunting methods are legal for hunting black bears.
10. Bait can be used to lure bears into your shooting range.
11. When scouting for black bears, look for territorial markings on trees that include head-high tooth and claw marks, shredded stumps, overturned rocks, pawed-up ground, rotten logs, fish carcasses, and crushed bones of carrion.
The Bottom Line
Hunting black bears is very challenging as they have a very good sense of smell, hearing, and navigational skills. They live in dense forests and eat anything. They can be hunted using a number of hunting methods such as spot and stalk hunting, ambushing, still-hunting, calling, baiting, drives, and using hounds.
In this article, we discussed the methods to successfully hunt black bears. If you would like to learn more about hunting bears, then read the best bear hunting tips. You can also read how to hunt brown bears.