Bear Hunting 101

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bear hunting over bait
If hunting with a gun make sure it is sighted in for close range shots.

There are no guarantees in hunting, but bear hunting over bait is often as close as it gets. Many states and Canadian provinces allow hunting bears over bait. If you haven't traveled away from home on a bear hunting trip, bear hunting is a great choice for your first out-of-state hunting adventure.

Many hunters want to travel to chase whitetails and elk. Here at bearhunting.com we have traveled to hunt both species and can testify that hunting them is enjoyable. The problem is the opportunity for success on a guided elk or deer hunt is less than 50% in most cases.

Most experienced bear hunting outfitters, however, experience close to 100% success when hunting over bait. When bear hunting Canada the bears are plentiful. There is lots of wilderness so hunters often end up hunting in the backcountry far away from the hustle and bustle of the city. They also get to experience and If hunting with a gun make sure it is sighted in for close range shots. see lots of things in the Canadian wilderness that they wouldn't see at home. Wolves, moose and other critters live in Canada and seeing them while bear hunting is a distinct possibility.

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Most guided bear hunts are relatively inexpensive compared to many big game species. Many bear hunting outfitters offer bear hunts that cost anywhere from $800 - $3000 dollars and last up to seven days. Elk and deer hunts can cost two to five times as much and hunters may go home empty-handed.

There are many ways to bear hunt but the most popular is bear hunting over bait. Bear hunting over bait is not as easy as you may think. Big old bears often wait until dark to venture into bait piles to avoid being shot by hunters. Poor weather conditions can limit bear movements. My first time bear hunting Canada was very cold even though it was the middle of May. Bears were not coming into the bait; they were sleeping. In seven days of black bear hunting, we did not see bear on every sit. We ended up harvesting bears and went home happy but we did spent countless hours in a tree stands without seeing a bear.

black bear hunting
A nice black bear harvested with a bow. Hunter shown wearing Lost Camo.

Black bear hunting, especially when bear hunting over bait, is perfect for bowhunters. Bait piles are often less than 30 yards away. In many cases, bait piles are positioned so that when the bears approach the bait, they are broadside. With a well-placed arrow, bears will typically expire within 50-100 yards.

Gun hunters should sight their guns in for close range shooting before leaving home. Many hunters make the mistake of bringing their high-powered deer rifle to bear camp that is sighted in out to several hundred yards. When looking at a bear through a high-powered scope when it is only thirty yards away, often all they will see is a big black blob which will make it hard to choose a spot to aim. While bear hunting, one rifle hunter missed a bear at point blank range because his scope had too much magnification and he had a hard time finding the bear in the scope. If bear hunting over bait, a low-powered scope or iron sights should get the job done.

 When shooting a bear, many bear hunters aim at the black blob and shoot. Bears don't have a defined shoulder blade that sticks out like deer. Determining where their spine is and where their belly stops is difficult because they have so much black hair above their back and below their belly. Many outfitters tell hunters to cut the bear in four equal pieces in their mind by placing their crosshairs dead center on the animal. Then aim slightly forward and a little low and the animal will be hit in the center of the chest cavity. When bear hunting over bait you should try to remain as scent-free as possible. Most experienced bear hunters wear scent-eliminating clothes like Scent Blocker or used odor eliminating sprays. Bear have a keen sense of smell and if they detect human odor, they often avoid a bait pile until after dark.

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