It is worthwhile paying attention to what Paul Frame, Alberta's Large Carnivore Specialist has to say about keeping clear of grizzlies and other large carnivores that can mess up your hunt. As grizzly populations recover in Alberta and expand in other jurisdictions, the risk of a hungry bear stealing your cooling animal quarters increases. There are plenty hunters can do to keep meat harvested safe.

Picking the Right Outfitter

Picking the right outfitter can make or break your experience.

When I started big game hunting over 20 years ago, outfitted hunts were generally off the table. I was either too cheap to part with the Benjamins needed for such an adventure, or frankly didn’t have enough of them. Furthermore, because I often prefer a DIY approach, I passed on the outfitted option. Over time those feelings have changed. Although the DIY approach is still my preferred method, using the resources that a quality outfitter offers is often a better approach, especially when it comes to spring black bears.
-Brian Strickland | @backcountry_brian -
There are lots of goals bear hunters can shoot for and sometimes we need something to aim at to keep looking forward. Hunters, by nature, are collectors and achievement-oriented. So I don’t think I’m alone when I have an interest in checking more things off my list. Let’s talk through the options for bear hunters who want to check some things off their list.
- Bernie Barringer -
Hunting from a motorcycle smells different. Immediately. You smell what you’re driving through––fresh cut hay on a mid-summer road, composting leaves, and over-ripe berries in the fall, lavender, skunk, or the smell of a black spruce forest in the morning. If you ride, you know there is nothing like it. You feel the road’s surface when you’re on a motorcycle. If you don’t ride, trust me, there is nothing like it. The ease of acceleration, the elation of wind in your face and warm sun at your back, and the ability to maneuver with ease. Once you are comfortable on a motorcycle, it gets in your blood.

Washington - Evergreen State Bruins

(From the SEPT/OCT 2019 Issue)

Unless you live there or have hunted there you might not know the state of Washington has lots of black bears. Also a few grizzlies. Based on recent computer modeling and analysis conducted by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife black bears are found pretty-much statewide except for the non-forested areas of the Columbia Basin.
The trophy status of any animal is much more than just bragging rights, but according to the Boone and Crockett Club’s mantra, it’s an indicator of good habitat and wildlife management. Anywhere that older-age class males exist in decent number, the age skew and population dynamics are in check. North American wildlife populations are thriving it’s because of the beautiful thing we call the “North American model for wildlife management.” It’s a powerful concept that has made our hunting culture what it is and it’s the powerful logic that will keep our hunting culture alive. Big, fat, heavy adult bears being killed by hunters means that we are doing something right. This is a point of celebration. Bear weight is a prime indicator of the trophy status of an animal.
Presently, British Columbia’s bear population is estimated at between 120,000 and 150,000. Some estimates are as high as 160,000. Whatever the case B.C. is home to not only the largest bear population of any province but roughly one-quarter of all the bears in Canada. With exception of the higher alpine and low grassland regions, black bears are found throughout the forested areas of the province, which are extensive. This would include Vancouver Island and most coastal islands to the north and the Queen Charlottes. As a result of prime habitat conditions, it is difficult to find a poor place to hunt bears in this province.
Skull size is the basis by which all the record keeping organizations score bears. It is, in essence, like the “horns” of a whitetail or elk. The skull is a significant part of the trophy status of a bear, albeit, the most difficult to estimate. Bears are measured by the dried length and width of their skulls. Record keeping organizations choose to use the skull because it’s the one thing on a bear that can be measured consistently. Weight may seem the best bear-to-bear comparator, but it poses many variables, such as how to certify scales and whether to use dressed or undressed weights. What about animals that are capped and quartered during retrieval? Clearly, skull size is the best way to compare and track bears.