Bear Hunting On Your Ownon Apr 11, 2013
Spring is hopefully arriving where you live and perhaps you're like me; wanting to get a big game hunt done this spring. Personally, I love hunting bears where I live and chances are there are some bears in your neck of the woods as well. Not a lot of states offer over-the-counter spring bear hunting, but some do. If you have the resources and time, you might look into Canada (you'll have to hire an outfitter) or head up to Alaska. You can spot and stalk them, bait them, and use hounds depending on the regulations of the ground you're hunting. I love the state of Idaho for spring bear. Their tags are relatively cheap, and some units offer a second tag at a reduced rate. Baiting is allowed as long as you abide by the rules. The same goes with hounds or my favorite method….spot and stalk.
The author (shown here) understands the different methods used for bowhunting black bear yet chooses one of the toughest as his favorite.
When I first started hunting bears I planned a DIY hunt in Alaska off the Prince of Whales Island. My plan was to run a few baits, but mainly to spot and stalk. This trip was incredible because of the location and scenery, not to mention some of the biggest black bears in North America. This hunt meant more because it was up to me to take care of myself and harvest my own critter - on my own. I didn't know much about tide tables or open water, but after a week I had fell in love with running baits off my skiff and glassing numerous beach fronts loaded in green grasses. This is one of the easiest hunts to plan and execute without a guide. Alaska doesn't require you to hire a guide for black bears, but you will probably have to rent some gear and get dropped off via air taxi. I didn't kill a bear on that trip, but I had enough action to make bear hunting my favorite way to enjoy the spring green up.
Guided bear hunts are pretty much a walk in the park as far as physical exertion goes (as long as someone else is baiting the stand sites). However, it offers perhaps the best odds for filling a tag.
Bear hunting ground in Idaho and the fitness perquisites for that journey are what I know best. However, if you're going to hire a guide then the game will change. I have sat in a guided bear camp and it was about the easiest hunt I've ever been on. We were in the middle of the north fork of the Clearwater. We road in on ATV's and sleds, and hung out at camp all day until evenings. We didn't do any of the baiting, we just got dropped off and sat a few hours in the evening each day. I felt like I gained weight on the trip from the unhealthy menu options of camp and the lack of activity throughout the day. This is probably par for the course, unless you're using hounds. If you're going to tree a bear, be prepared to keep up with 4-legged dogs that can tame any mountain and negotiate dense bush and tangled terrain. Hound hunting is physical, and you better be in shape if you want to keep that bear at bay long enough to earn a shot.