For a bear hunter, bear hunting is a year around experience. From the day the bear hunt ends, the bear hunter starts a count-down to the next bear hunting trip. Every day, he crosses off another day until he can again experience the thrill of the hunt. This means the total concentration when the prey is in his sight, the deep breath he holds just before he pulls the trigger or releases the arrow, the eternity that follows while he waits to see if the bullet or arrow flies fast and true, and the disappointment of the miss or the joy of the trophy.
Black bear hunting can be found in many, many states and areas. Grizzly bear hunting is more limited in area and more expensive to do.
Bears come in many sizes and colors. The same skills are needed in all bear hunts. The hunter must be patient, know the habits of the bears, be fast and accurate with his choice of weapon, know how to pack and dress the game after it is captured, understand the hunting laws in the area he hunts, and obtain the necessary licenses and permission to hunt.
One of the problems of hunting bears is a condition known as “Buck Fever.” This is simply freezing up when the bear appears and you need to shoot. Because of the long anticipation and the hundreds and hundreds of hours spent looking for a bear, when you finally see one, you freeze. It is like you do not believe what is in front of your eyes.
You have been preparing for this moment. This moment will decide what story you tell about this bear hunting trip. Will the story end with “I got the blackest bear I ever saw” or “You should have seen the one that got away.”
If you pre-plan what you will do when the bear sneaks through the underbrush from the west, you are almost to a successful hunt. If you think, “When the bear clears that orange bush, I will remove the safety on the gun. When the bear takes two more steps into the clearing, I will sight through the scope. When the bear reaches that small stick on the trail, I will pull the trigger.” You will shoot when you need to.
By taking the time to plan your actions before your adrenaline kicks into overdrive, you will be ready to act.
This moment of truth is one of the most exciting times in the life of a bear hunter. With these few basic steps, you can make it one of the most rewarding bear hunts you have undertaken.
Bear hunting can be done on your own, with friends, or with a guide. Some hunters use hunting dogs to locate and track a bear. Some areas allow bear baiting or trapping. Guided trips offer the chance to see how the professional guides hunt and to ask questions about bears. It is both an experience and an education. If you are tired of the same old dove hunting or elk hunting year after year, bear hunting may be the cure. Or, if bear hunting is a tad too thrilling for you, wild boar hunting/hog hunting is always another option.
If you are unable to make it outside for whatever reason, there is another option. There are various hunting games, such as Cabela’s Big Game Hunter, that enable you to hunt bears. While it is definitely not the real thing, it is still better than nothing if you are unable to go outside.