By Clay Newcomb
Bear hunting is one of the few outfitted hunts left that can be very affordable. In correlation with your odds of success it is probably the best type of outfitted hunt available. You can go on some quality hunts in Maine & Ontario for $1500 and less. Perhaps a more appealing option for trophy quality is to go on a top-end bear hunt in Alberta, Manitoba, British Columbia or Saskatchewan for $3,000-$4,000. Outfitters will often work with you on payment plans in advance of the hunt. Additionally, you can finance a hunt through your bank for pennies on the dollar and pay it off over a couple of years. For people with good credit and collateral, banks are eager to make these small loans. Be wise, but consider the options.
2. High Success rates:
Most bear hunting outfitters have upwards of 80%, and most boast 90%-plus success on spring hunts. One of the hardest parts of any outfitted hunt is the chance of coming home empty handed. If you are going to save money for months or even years to go on a hunt, you want to know your chances of success are good. Spring bear hunting offers large doses of potential opportunity. A bear rug has never looked bad in anyone’s home, office or trophy room. Bear meat is very good as well!
The camraderie of a bear camp is hard to top. It's a great hunt for friends and family to do together.
3. It doesn’t interfere with fall hunting:
The months of September through November are prime time for hunting North America’s first love – antlered ungulates. The beauty of being a hard-core bear hunter is that you can have your cake and eat it too. May and June are the peak down times for all big game hunting, but are prime time for catching the bear rut and hunting big boars. What other big game animal can you hunt in May and June? Spring bear hunting is the perfect intermediary hunt in the long desert between first of the year and mid-August. It’s actually quite perfect!
4. Enjoyment of Northern Spring Camp is unexplainable:
If you never hunted the North, you’re missing out on one of hunting’s greatest treats. Bears are animals of the wilderness, in fact, they are icons of it. The weather, even in northern Canada, in May and June can be pristine. Though it can be wet, it can also be perfect, with daytime temperatures reaching 60 and even 70 degrees – these are prime days for bear movement. Wall tents with woodstoves, drumming grouse, bears with thick hides, the beautiful north woods, great food and time for camaraderie with friends and family are a few of the treasures of spring bear hunting.
If you've never experienced the Northwoods and a spring bear camp, you're missing out. Every hunter needs to try at least once and you'll probably want to go back every year.
5. Big Bears are Challenging:
Hunting over bait, at times, has taken a bad rap as a non-challenging hunt. Hunters who have never tried it or those who’ve never been an activate participant in the baiting/strategy process are the culprits of such heresy. Targeting a mature boar over bait is extremely challenging and very rewarding. Don’t ever let any loose-lipped person take anything away from a bear killed over bait. Anywhere baiting is legal, it’s allowed because there aren’t other effective methods to harvest the target numbers of bears. Baiting is a powerful bear management tool.
6. The World Needs Bear Managers:
Black bears are thriving in North America. From the eastern U.S to the West, black bear numbers are increasing in almost every region that holds bears. Bears are extremely adaptable and, like the Whitetail deer, have done well despite urban sprawl. Bears are opportunistic predators and are calf and fawn catchers. From Newfoundland to Alaska, biologists are examining the effects of growing bear populations on ungulates. They are devastating some populations. Bear hunters needed! Additionally, bear human conflicts are increasing. Society is trying to find ways to manage bears, so let’s make it easy on them by volunteering. Do your part and go spring bear hunting in 2015. You won’t regret it.
Check out Bear Hunting Magazine’s Go Hunting page or our magazine to find the top bear outfitters in North America. Oufitters page
Samuel Bumgardner with a big northern Alberta spring bear.