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May/June 2011

Feature Sections

  • Q & A - Tips
  • Video Review
  • News & Notes
  • Spotlight On: Maine
  • Bruin in the Kitchen - Recipes
  • Bear Association News
  • Bear Essentials - Gadgets & Gear
  • Outfitters & Guides
  • Hunter Photo Gallery
  • The Bear’s Den - Marketplace
  • Crazy Tales from Uncle Geddy  & The Bear Mountain Gang


  • Scent Strategies with Dick Scorzafava

    Hunt Bears Old Style
  • Archery Talk with Bob Robb

    Practicing with Expandable Broadheads
  • In Hot Pursuit with James Keldsen

    Of Wolves and Hounds
  • Guns & Optics with Ralph Lermayer

    Tricked Out Levers
  • Handguns for Bear with Max Prasac

    Sighting Systems for Handguns
  • Muzzleloading with Chad Schearer

    Gearing up for the Spring Season



You Just Never Know

By Eric Forsyth
   I am a loyal reader of Bear Hunting Magazine, and will continue for the rest of my days as a bear hunter. I have envisioned my days lasting until I reach 101 years of age. Sitting on my hunting cabin porch watching the sun go down along with my sidekick tipping back and forth in our rocking chair, and then simply falling asleep. My wife says she doesn’t want to live that long, so I don’t dare tell her that my second wife will only be 25.
    Through my experiences and reading about the many experiences of other bear hunters, I have come to believe bear hunters are a special breed. Who else would get excited about caring buckets of wasted slop and later washing them for next day’s use; endure hundreds or even thousands of flies and bees that are drawn to that nasty smell coming from the bait; carry scat from one site to the next to lure those late night bruins into the daylight; hunt in 90-degree heat one day and then just above freezing the next; willing to sit in your stand even after you realized you have forgotten your rain gear. It is going on three weeks and still no bear. Through all the sweat, buckets of slop, nasty smells, heat, cold, rain, bug bites and stings, scat handling, lack of bear sightings and mental exhaustion and then still having the ability to tell yourself, “I love this stuff.” Only the bear hunter!


How to Sit Over a Bear Bait

By Stephen D. Carpenteri

Wow, your first bear hunt over bait! Guaranteed bear this time, right? All you have to do is sit in a stand or blind, wait for the bear to show up and shoot it. Nothing to it! While it’s true that the majority of bears taken each year in states or provinces that allow baiting are tagged by bait hunters, not every bait hunter tags a bear. What could possibly go wrong? You have bears coming to the bait, you have a stand set up high enough and far enough away from the bait so the bear will not notice you and you have all the best in modern bear-hunting technology at your disposal, from scent-free clothing to illuminated sights. What could possibly be missing?
    As amusing as it may sound, the number one factor most ignored by bear hunters using bait is the bear! Hunters will spend countless hours poring over the facts, figures, theories and conjecture of bear hunting with friends, family, guides and fellow hunters, but once you enter the blind or climb into the stand, it is down to you versus the bear, and just like that your “guaranteed” hunt goes out the window.


Crossing into Canada

By Chad Thompson

 Crossing the Canadian border tends to create pictures of fear in the minds of hunters traveling from the United States. In fact, readers may know someone that traveled hundreds of miles only to be denied entry for some obscure reason. While this may be true for some, the fact is that a majority of people enter Canada without issue. This article will serve to dispel the myths of crossing the U.S./Canadian border and, further, guide you through the surprisingly simple process.

Myth #1 - You Need a Passport to Enter Canada
Fact - Although international travel will be much easier with a passport, you do not need one to enter Canada. Our neighbors to the north allow entry with an original birth certificate and valid picture identification, such as a driver’s license.


Once in a Lifetime

by Max Prasac

Making the journey from the Lower 48 to Alaska is a pretty big deal for most hunters. It is a long haul that takes considerable resources and planning to accomplish. In the case of Alan Dickey, he spent his entire life preparing for this hunt of a lifetime. You see, Alan has dreamed of hunting dangerous game since he was a little boy. Lion, elephant and rhino filled his imagination, but what he truly wanted to face down was Ursus arctos horribilis, the grizzly bear.
    One night, a number of years ago, while on a deer hunt in Maryland, Alan made the decision that he would make his dream come to fruition. That was when the research began. First things first, he needed to find a good outfitter and guide. And most importantly, one who had an opening for the upcoming fall. Alan’s research led him to Dennis Byrne of Alaska True Adventure, and he had an opening in September due to a late cancellation, for a float hunt near the Nushagak River in southwest Alaska. After working out some of the details, Alan approached his dad about joining him on his bear hunt. His dad was very interested and more planning began.


Getting Disabled Bear Hunters Back in the Woods

by William Clunie

Last year I sat in a tree stand that overlooked a bear bait for six days in a row. It was a quiet time to reflect on my place in the hunting world. As I sat there, trying to remain motionless, my back muscles twisted and turned because of three blown discs, my knees got sore and I had to squirm around to stop my leg muscles from cramping. Sometimes the pain gets unbearable, and I give up hunting because of these problems.
    While sitting in the stand I got to thinking, “What does a bear hunter do that has some kind of major disability?” What about a hunter that sustained an injury that confines them to a wheelchair? Recently, I met a few bear hunters that would laugh at the statement, “confines them.”
     I met John Rogers, a retired Army sergeant, at a fishing event for disabled veterans put on by a Washington based organization called Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Inc. This group, made up of volunteers from Trout Unlimited and the Federation of Fly Fishers, helps get disabled veterans back into fishing after their injuries.


Campfire Tales

Half Foot with a Broadhead
By Dave Samuel

It was the last Sunday of Wisconsin’s bear season and we had a new hunter in camp. Ryan Foster had never harvested a black bear before and his good friend and fellow houndsman, Todd Johnson, had asked if we had room in camp for him. There had been a mix up on areas and Ryan had inadvertently applied for the zone we hunt in, not where Todd normally hunts. We had filled all of our tags and were more than willing to give it a try.
    A lot of the hound hunters in the area were complaining about the lack of bear, much less good bear. Not us, we were having a great season. It started out slow but the last couple of weeks were making up for the slow start the first week.

After the Hunters
by Barbara Plummer

   Day four found me again in the woods, listening to the brook tumble and gurgle beneath my tree stand. I had watched the obligatory squirrels and chipmunks, as well as gray jays and snowshoe hare. A pine marten had also provided some amusing antics over the past few evenings. But I am here for bear, and so far the only one that has came into the bait was around 70 pounds. Not what I am looking for, so I continue my wait.
    My husband and I own and operate Northern Pride Lodge in Maine, guiding all sorts of hunting, fishing and recreation, including, of course, Maine black bear. In the fourth week of the season, after our clients have hunted, we climb into the stands, looking for that elusive black bear ourselves.

Caught in the Cookie Jar
by Michael C. Modrak

The black object moving through the woods 20 yards beyond the bait barrel caught my eye. This was my eighth year hunting bear and I recognized the slow, lumbering, stealth form as the unmistakable figure of a bear.
    This was my second bear season with Hal Blood of Cedar Ridge Outfitters in Maine. Hal and his wife, Debbie, welcome and treat us like family, my hunting buddy, Frank Kopeski, and I had found a hunting home. This year Frank’s son, Frankie, now 16 and legal to hunt, joined us on the trip.


Hotspots for Crossbow Bear

By Al Raychard

Okay, you just bought a crossbow or have owned one for a couple years now, have used it successfully on deer but now you are interested in a bear hunt. Where do you go? The answer to that question depends in part on when you want to hunt.
    Unfortunately, few states currently offer a spring bear season and in too many of those that do, crossbows are not legal hunting equipment for bears. As crossbows become more accepted and popular that will hopefully change, but that really doesn’t do you much good this spring. At the present time, Canada offers crossbow enthusiasts the greatest options. Crossbows are legal for hunting bears in eight provinces and territories and all except Ontario and Nova Scotia have a spring bear hunt, so that means you have six spring choices north of the border. If you are thinking about a fall hunt, you have more choices. Several states now allow the use of crossbows during their fall bear season, as do all eight provinces and territories in Canada that allow crossbows.


Learning More About Bears

By Larry Osmer

What is the most difficult time of year for black bears? Hunting season, right? Or is it when they lay vulnerable in deep sleep during the long winter months? Surprisingly, it is early spring that tends to be the most difficult time of the year for bears. When bears finally emerge from their dens, in March or April, food sources are very scarce, forcing them to forage intensely in areas newly abundant with green leafy plants. Due to the limited nutritional value of plant life, a bear may be forced to live off its own fat reserves until sustenance from fruits, berries and nuts become more abundant. A bear has a strong, long-term memory and will re-visit hardwood areas for beechnuts as well as acorns left over from the past fall. Considered a true omnivore, eating both plants and animals, black bears will eat just about anything that may cross its path. As late spring transitions to summer, bears continue to forage on plants, roots and may also prey upon newborn deer as well as moose. Because no one food source is readily available during the early seasons, bears will scavenge in multiple locations, often traveling for miles trying to regain nutrition levels.


Black Rifle for Black Bear

By Judd Cooney

Not again! My evening bear hunt seemed to be going to “hell in a handbasket” as I watched the second vehicle in less than an hour pull up 100 yards below the waterhole I was watching. My neighbor and oft time hunting partner, Lloyd Thompson, and I had gotten to the small cattail choked tank dam way back in the timber at two o’clock in the afternoon to make sure we were in place plenty early.
    Lloyd had been cutting firewood in the area, and on several occasions had seen a humongous brown colored bear and a sow with two cubs at or near the waterhole. The early September weather had been unseasonably warm and dry, and twice he had seen the big boar in the vicinity of the waterhole at mid afternoon. Knowing I had drawn one of Colorado’s coveted fall bear licenses, and that I wanted to try and call in a fall bear and shoot it with the my Bushmaster/Remington AR-15 in the hot new .450 Bushmaster caliber, he suggested we give the waterhole area a try together.