Today, Wyoming perhaps some of most under-utilized black bear hunting opportunities in the Rocky Mountain west. That might change as the word gets out but at present hunters looking to get away from the crowds and hunt bears that have seen less hunting pressure compared to some other western states surrounded by some of the most scenic territory in country might want to give the Cowboy State a look.

New Thoughts on Black Bear Home Ranges

Many people have a distorted vision of how much bears travel. Here’s a new way to look at it.

I have been seriously studying black bears, bear behavior and bear hunting for most of my life and I’ve learned a lot about bears. But there is only one thing I really know for sure. The more I learn about black bears, the more I realize how much more there is to learn. Their home ranges and movement patterns are a good example of this.

Myths and Facts About Nocturnal Bears

Struggling with bringing bears to your baits during legal shooting hours? The dynamics of nocturnal bears may surprise you.

Here it is sports show season again; I’m doing bear hunting seminars at several large sports and hunting shows again this year. I like this time of the year because I really enjoy meeting serious bear hunters from across bear nation. But there are some predictable downsides besides the travel and nights in motels. I will once again this year answer some of the same old predictable questions over and over. Some of these questions have easy answers and some, not so easy.
Many bear hunters come from a background as a deer hunter. In fact, some studies have shown that while whitetail deer hunting is the number one big game pursuit among bowhunters, the second big game animal most bowhunters target is the black bear. Unfortunately, bowhunters who have experience in deer hunting often overlook the significant differences in black bear hunting when it comes to the importance of arrow penetration and shot placement.
The .45-70, now almost 150 years old, is a pretty good bear cartridge. It has a modern, strong brass case and shoots nicely heavy, but because of one popular antique black powder rifle, the Trapdoor Springfield, the powder charge in factory ammunition must duplicate the puny original black powder load dating back to 1873.
Hunters have some relevant questions that need to be answered about bear home ranges. Do bear home ranges overlap? If you saw a giant bear in the summer near where you hunt, will he be there in the fall? Could a big bear that you’ve got pictures of on your hunting lease get killed 25 miles away? Are bears territorial? These are some questions we’ll seek to address in this article.
Predators have become a popular topic as of late in North America. It seems just about any big game species that you can hunt is being affected in some way by predators. Everyone in the West is well aware of the reintroduction of the wolf and the havoc it is wreaking in certain areas on elk and moose populations. Mountain lion populations are on the rise and affecting sheep populations in some areas as well as mule deer. It is well known that coyotes have now spread east all across America and many studies have shown coyotes have a predatory effect on not only neonatal white-tail deer, but also a percentage of the adult population as well. These are all predators that when discussed don’t get much argument as to their predatory status. However, when it comes to bears, there seems to be a disconnect from predatory status for some reason in many debates, at least with certain subspecies of bears, that is.
In places where different hunting methods don’t overlap, there may not be overt issues of friction between bear hunters. However, when they overlap in the field or politically, there can be friction. Bait hunters, hound hunters and spot-and-stalk hunters can carry a chip on their shoulder in regards to the way they hunt. The tunnel vision can produce intolerance for other methods. It may seem harmless to vocally dislike another type of hunting amongst friends, but the long-term affects are real in the hunting community. Hunting culture is crafted by one conversation and one action at a time. Social media is also a major place where friction amongst bear hunters is evidenced.
The springtime for black bears is dominated by two biological realties, and a third is a major player. The need for bears to find food and build up their fat reserve after months of denning is the first reality. Black bears emerge from their dens between March and April in most parts of the bear range. They den from 90 to 150 days depending on their northern latitude and food availability. When they emerge, they are looking for green vegetation, carrion, and basically anything with digestible calories. Spring hunting, whether spot-and-stalk or bait hunting, capitalizes on a bears need to eat.