Outdoors Magazine

How to Hunt Black Bear – Tips for a Successful Day

By Chris Noal

Hunting a bear can be risky business. Understanding what you need to do to get the most out of your hunting trip can be a big deal. Of course, you will need the right kind of gear and the right kind of know how to get that game. If you need black bear hunting tips, then you’ve come to the right place. We’ll give you tips on several different parts of hunting black bears so that you can have a better idea of how you want to set up your own black bear hunting trip.

Black Bear Hunting Tips

Time and Schedule

There’s a lot of time that has to be considered when you’re hunting bears. You’re going to need to be looking at the right time of year and the right time of day as well. Because bears hibernate during the winter, you will want to look for them during the fall and spring months. Some states will offer both seasons as options or just one, so you will have to consider that as well when you are looking at getting the permits to hunt.

Then there’s the time of day that you should be hunting when you’re looking for a bear. You will likely want to get out to your stand early if you are hunting bears. This isn’t just because they come out early in the morning but because you will need to spend a lot of time looking out for the bears. Most bears are out during the afternoon, but by getting into place early, you will be less likely to startle a bear. Hunting black bears will require some patience but it should be pretty easy.

Kind of Bait (or Bait at All)

Using bait is a big topic among bear hunters. I will not tell you what is right or wrong here. You will need to think about the ethics of the situation and figure out what will work best for you and your consciousness. You may want to read more about the ethics of baiting to get an idea of best practices or what would be ethically wrong.

Bait can be used to get bears to come out of hiding. This works well with a stand as you can put the bait in a place where you can see it. You will want to pick out a bait that will have a strong odor as bears work by their sense of smell. While their sense of smell can be a big help for you, it can also be a detriment. Bears have been known to know bait by the absence of bear feces near it.

You can work around this by finding bear feces when you are getting to your stand and putting that near your bait. You can also get bears to trust it more regularly by putting bait out at the same time every day that you are out there. This will work for people that live near their regular hunting spot or are camping for a week to try and hunt a black bear.

If you aren’t going to use bait, then you might want to use trail cameras to figure out where the bears in your area are regularly going to feed. This can help you figure out a rough schedule and decide where you should set up your stand.

Work on Your Stand

A stand is a great way of keeping yourself hidden from animals of all kinds. A stand doesn’t have to work just for bears, but there are a couple of little things that you should do to make sure that you’re hidden.

Making your stand as comfortable as possible will make it easier for you to sit there and wait for the bear to go towards any of the bait that you have set up. This will mean installing something around the stand that is painted camo but will still allow you to check the bait from where you are.

You will need to make sure that you aren’t making a ton of noise either, regardless of what you are doing. When you are new to hunting bears and accidentally make noise, you might startle a bear that is nearby that you might not have seen.

Control Your Smell

While you a shower can get rid of most of the smell that your friends and family can smell, but you’re not going to be fooling any bears. You will need to use a couple of products to mask your scent while you’re walking around the bait.

There are scent control detergents out there that you can use for your clothes. After you’ve washed them, you might want to store them in a Ziploc bag that will keep them safe from the smells in your home. You will also want to make sure that you can wash your hair and body before you get to the stand.

On top of how you smell when you get there, you will want to have a plan for where you are urinating, what you are eating, and whether or not you are smoking. You will need a container to hold your urine with a cover. This will ensure that the smell is kept inside of the container. The foods you eat will probably be a source of smell as well. You may want to cut down on the smelly foods that you bring out with you just to make sure that the bears are not sniffing you out.

You can also make the bait more enticing with a strong smell. While you are trying to mask your scent with a masking spray while you are putting bait out there, you can also get bear pheromone spray if you are hoping to attract a male bear. The spray uses female bear pheromones to attract them. It will get some bears to get out earlier and move towards the bait earlier in the day than they otherwise would.

Know Your Bear

This is more than just knowing what’s generally going on with black bears. That basic information is sure to help you, however, you will want to know a little more specific information about the bears in the area. This can mean watching them as much as you can through trail cameras. This can also mean spending time in your stand and just scouting them out.

You will want to get an idea of where they are regularly hanging out and where they are regularly eating. By observing the bears as well, you might get an idea of what kind of bear you are dealing with personality-wise. You’ll find that more dominant and aggressive bears will be out in the open more often. These bears might be harder to take down, but that also might be more fun for a hunter. It’ll be up to you what you want to do with that information.

Gear Recommendations

There is some gear that you might not think about when you’re getting ready to hunt a bear. There is even some gear that you can take with you when hunting a bear that you might not be able to get away with when you’re hunting deer.

While a deer might be able to smell out the bug repelling unit that you might want to bring with you. It isn’t such a bad idea to bring one with you when you’re going to hunt for bears. In fact, because you’ll spend a lot more time in the stand while waiting for a bear, using bug repellent can make your day infinitely more enjoyable.

Another great thing to look for is a rangefinder. You may think that this isn’t something you don’t need if you’re using bait, but that’s just not true. A rangefinder can help you watch the bear as it moves closer. You will be able to track where they are moving. This will be useful if there are older bears in the area. They are less likely to get near the bait and so you’ll want to be able to tell how far away they are and see if you can still hit them. This might be the difference between a great trophy or a disappointing day.

Another thing you might consider getting is a safety harness for while you are in the stand. You might get lulled to sleep while you are sitting In your stand and you don’t want to accidentally roll out of the stand and fall all the way to the ground. A stand for hunting black bears is typically higher up in a tree and therefore you might get hurt.

Safety

Getting out and hunting bears means that you’ll be in areas where bears are pretty common. However, just because you’re out there to hunt doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t know what to do when you’re faced with a bear. You might even want to grab a couple pieces of gear to help protect you in case you see a bear while you’re getting to your stand or when you’re hunting other animals out there.

If you stumble upon a bear that you weren’t hunting, you will want to get away (if it hasn’t seen you yet). If you are spotted by a gear, you will want to stand still (only play dead if you are faced with a grizzly bear) and speak loudly with a low tone of voice. You may also want to wave your arms, but you should stay where you are. Often a bear will get close and then leave. If a bear does decide to attack you, then you should fight back, aiming for the face. This can help get the bear to leave you alone.

If you are uncertain of your own strength and worried about a surprise bear. You can use pepper spray on a bear. There are sprays that will startle the bear and get them to back off without damaging them permanently.

In addition to being prepared for seeing a bear, you will want to have a plan. Take a look at maps that show the topographical details of the area. You should try to get an idea of what areas could be a problem and where you are going to go to avoid them. Mapping out where you are going to go and planning what you are going to do will help you be prepared for any situation that arises. Make sure that you also inform someone that you are going out hunting so that someone not on the trip will know that you are out in the wilderness.

Conclusion

Black bears can be tons of fun to hunt. But if you’re new to hunting, then you might need some extra help getting your hunting started. Make sure that you have plenty of practice with your weapons and understand what you’re doing. You might even consider having a more experienced hunter come with you into the woods to show you how to hunt. Once you get the hang of it, I’m sure that you’ll be out there every year.


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