If you are a bear hunter, (especially hunting over bait), the loss of a bear may either happen to you or someone you know during your hunting life. An underutilized method to increase your odds of recovery may include the use of a tracking dog. I am not talking about traditional “bear hounds” used to run and tree. I am talking about “blood tracking” dogs following a bow, crossbow, rifle or shotgun wounded animal.
There are proper times for being a tough guy, but spending hours in a stand, waiting on a stealthy bruin which possesses eyes designed to pick up the slightest flicker of movement, is not one of them.
There are many reasons hunters should try to shoot boars whenever possible, but the difficulty in telling the difference is a hindrance. Here are some distinguishing characteristics to look for.
Bears spoil quicker than deer because of higher levels of resident bacteria on the animal, so you better get the hide and meat taken care of quickly. Don’t roll up the hide initially when putting it in the freezer, but rather stretch it out to cool evenly, and then roll it up. When in the backcountry with no freezers, considering salting the hide for preservation, but you’ll need to learn to turn the ears and split the lips. For a quick fix, consider purchasing a bottle of STOP-ROT to extend the out-of-the-freezer life of your bear hide. We hope these tips help you preserve your bear hide.
We often identify animals by their color. If you use these criteria on black bears you will be mistaken, as black bears come in at least four major colors. No North American animal has more color variation than black bears. I’ve been fortunate to see them all. With a little travel, you can see them all too.
You are about to learn something that will surprise you. If you want to hunt black bears over natural food, the formula may be easy. Eastern and northern black bears are largely dependent on acorns. Acorns are their meat & potatoes. In Alaska, their meat & potatoes are blue. Although bears are known as non-specific feeders or omnivores, eating almost everything from whitetail deer to ants to sedges for most of the year, they prefer and seek out the best foods before denning.
Word rapidly spread throughout town that a huge bear had been shot and was hanging on “Cherry” Kempf’s wrecker down by the bank. My girlfriend Mary (now my wife) and I were part of the crowd that quickly gathered to look at/admire this magnificent creature. The head was at the top of the boom on the wrecker and the feet touched the ground. The bear was estimated to be twelve years old, was 665 pounds field dressed, and measured 7 feet 10 inches long.
Looking through the lens of North America’s thriving black bear population, use these six points to understand who we are and the invaluable service we provide to society. Despite the efforts and opinions of those who would seek to discredit the hunter/conservation model of wildlife management in North America, one powerful fact remains – there are more black bears in North America today than in the past 150 years. In fact, biologists believe that there are more bears today than ever before. In a 2015 article in National Geographic titled “Black Bears are Rebounding – What Does That Mean For People?” the author states, “Scientists believe there are more black bears in North America than there were when settlers arrived in the 1600s.” Hunting over bait, running hounds, spot and stalk and trapping haven’t diminished bear populations, but rather they’ve been in place during a time period when bear populations have thrived. Could there be a connection?
Season after season we are all confronted with the same question as we review our trail camera pictures. The question is the same one that hunters have been asking since they first started chasing bears. How big is he? You never really know until you’ve got your hands on him, and still you don’t really-really know until you weigh it on a scale. However, for the in-the-field knowledge, judging the size of bears based on trail camera pictures is critical for targeting the right bear.
The hide of a bear is arguably the most desirable aspect of their trophy status. Iconic of American wilderness, the bear hide is truly a national symbol of our hunting heritage and makes a fine memory stimulator for years to come.