There are many methods to choose from for hunting black bears across North America, but where legal, driving can be a top producer among them. However it takes considerable knowledge about where and how to put on the right push through the brush to roust any bruin from cover. Follow these five tips to help your crew become a more efficient bear gang.
There are good reasons for doing due diligence before you book a hunt. Guides like this one are one of the reasons you call references before you plunk down your hard-earned deposit. For every bad experience I have had a dozen good ones. But the bad ones do tend to stick in your mind. Let’s take a look at the key points in choosing the right outfitter and minimizing the chances of having a regretful trip.

Tough Times - How Covid is Affecting Bear Outfitters

May/June 2020 (Written April 2020)

When the dust settles and we have a sense of normalcy again, we’ll tell stories about the "2020 Pandemic" and hope it never happens again. But we’ll also breathe a sigh of relief when we get back into the woods and make bear hunting great again! We’ll all get through this together.
Hunting the Eastern Deciduous forest for black bear without the aid of bait or hounds is one of the toughest hunts in North America. Heavily wooded and rugged terrain combined with a “low density” animal to make the pursuit legit. Recently, I’ve been calling it the “sheep hunt of the South.” The only difference being the odds of killing a bear are probably lower. The first questions most people have are, “what does bear sign look?” and “what’s the best type of sign?”
I intend to be bowhunting as long as I can, and one of the best ways I can ensure that I have the strength to do so is through diligent practice and exercise. This is especially true of a guy who’s about to turn 60, but anyone half that age can benefit from the advantages of regular practice.
It has been said a trophy game animal is in the eye of the beholder. After more than four decades of hunting black bears, having traveled far and wide to do so and after seeing literally scores of bears taken by hunters in camps from Alaska to Newfoundland I believe that old adage is true. Some of those bears were unique in some way, perhaps with white “Vs” on the chest or were blonde, brown or otherwise off-color. My aging brain can’t recall each and every one, but I remember enough to say although there were some big bears in terms of weight only a small percentage were of such massive body size to be considered truly impressive. A fair number tipped the scales less than 200 pounds and only a faction, including only two of mine, had skull measurements that met record book eligibility. Yet, I can’t recall ever seeing a displeased look on the face on any hunter, and no doubt each bear was considered a trophy. And so they should have been, and should be, because every bear killed is a trophy in some way.
If you are bear hunting from late May into June, your hunt will be influenced by the bear rut. Knowing all you can about it will make you a better hunter. In a research paper written by Kim Barber and Fredrick Lindzey in Washington State, they noted that female bears range from 6 to 16 days in estrous each spring with the average being 9.25 days. The length of estrous often depends on how quickly the sow is bred. During the research period, male bears were with females from 2 to 5 days, indicating that this was when they actually bred. It’s important to note that this data was collected by radio-collared black bears. Black bears are “promiscuous” breeders, meaning they can have multiple partners. Biologists once observed a female grizzly bear breed 10 times with 4 different males in a two-hour period.
Why does it matter if modern hunting persists beyond our lives? It’s a legit question requiring some soul searching for an honest answer. The challenges surrounding the lifestyle of modern hunters in North America are numerous and even daunting. Just to name a few, we’re struggling with hunter recruitment, access to hunting land, and a population that is growing further away from its hunting roots. There is also a relatively small group of people who adamantly oppose hunting, the anti-hunting community, and they’re doing a good job of propagating their ideas to the undecided masses. Therein lies the lynch pin of protecting and securing our lifestyle – the undecided masses. As ironic as it sounds, the people that don’t care, have little information about and no history with hunting, will be the ones that help decide our future.
Bears are bears are bears, they live for two primary reasons and the two are directly related. Studies by numerous state and federal agencies have concluded female bears that do not have sufficient amounts of the right foods may forego breeding some years or abort their young. It is also known it is not uncommon for both sexes to enter dens early if protein-rich late summer and fall foods are scarce and bears entering dens without adequate amounts of fat stores may have a difficult time surviving until green up once emerging in the spring. With all said and done, adequate food supplies are a major predictor of bear growth and reproductive success.