By Brian Strickland For many western hunters, elk, mule deer and antelope seem to be at the top of their to-do list as the leaves turn gold every fall, and frankly I can’t blame them. It’s hard to compete with the bugle of a rutting bull elk, the impressive heavy rack of a mule deer buck or the lightning quickness of an antelope buck. However, in my opinion, black bears should also make that esteemed western list. With most hunters focusing on the horns come fall, it’s a great time to zero in on western bruins.
Although virtually every state west of the Great Plains has bear hunting opportunities, some are obviously better than others. Here is the list of some of the top destinations that offer easy to get tags, solid bear numbers, multiple ways to hunt them and the opportunity to put one in the record books.
As seen in the Jan/Feb 2018 Issue of Bear Hunting Magazine! The Alaska Peninsula had a record salmon run that summer. In turn, the commercial fishermen went home with fat wallets, and the bears lounged in the alder thickets with fat bellies. In 20 years of guiding, I’d only seen it this bad on one other occasion. Simply put, the bears had plenty of fat for hibernation and they knew it. The mature boars were feeding only at night and holed-up in the thick stuff during the day. Hunting was so tough many hunters quit early and went home, but not David. “I’m gonna hunt until I get a bear, or the season ends,” he vowed.
As seen in the Jan/Feb 2018 Issue of Bear Hunting Magazine! Born and raised in Montana, Jason has hunted bears ever since he can remember, and it’s a big part of his hunting heritage. “Spring bear hunting is something that has gotten into my blood over the years,” explained Jason. “It really started at a very early age when I would hunt bears with my family, and has grown since.” Although Jason loves hunting elk and mule deer in the fall as seen by his films, when spring rolls around in Montana’s high country it’s time to hunt bears, and Jason loves every minute if it.