Bear hunting is an outdoor pursuit which gets the adrenaline pumping immediately when the action begins. If you're ready to start planning your first bear hunt, you can increase your odds for success by utilizing the following tips.
#1. Know Thy Quarry
First time bear hunters should spend as much time as possible educating themselves about bears. Study the specific species you intend to hunt. All bears are not created equal. A 150-pound black bear is a far different animal than a 1,000-pound Kodiak bear.
Start by doing a web search. There are thousands of articles, scientific reports, personal accountsy and photos out there. If you have a hunting buddy who's done his or her fair share of bear hunting, ask them for advice. You can also talk to guides and outfitters who have valuable tips about bear behavior and their movements.
#2. Plan Ahead
"Planning well ahead of time for your bear hunt is crucial," said longtime bear hunter and guide Larry Davidson, of Taxis River Outfitters in New Brunswick, Canada. He suggested the following:
- Pick a species. Everything you do concerning your hunt will be determined by the kind of bear you want to hunt.
- Determine a region. Do you want to hunt in the high mountains of Colorado or the relatively flat regions of New Brunswick?
- Choose an outfitter. Many areas require the use of an outfitter. Check the Internet, talk to clients to see what they think of a particular outfitter. You are making a big investment. Close the deal as early as possible, as much as a year ahead of time.
- Gather equipment. Gear lists will vary from locale to locale. Get a suggested list of equipment from the outfitter and buy the best gear you can afford. Do not forget a ThermaCELL Mosquito Repellent. Mosquitoes and black flies can ruin a bear hunt quickly.
#3. Get Prepared Mentally and Physically
Preparing yourself mentally and physically are key elements to insure your success.
- Get in shape. Bear hunting will be physically challenging even if all you are doing is traveling to a stand over a bait site. The environment of bear camp and bear country are far different than home. A regular conditioning program will help you cope with the added stress of new surroundings.
- Recheck all documents. Correct documents are essential for your success. Passports, license ad firearms permits must all be accurate.
- Test your gear. "There is nothing worse than getting caught in a rain storm and discovering that your rain suit leaks," said Davidson. "All your hunting gear should be checked at least twice. Checking it again just before making a trip is good insurance."
- Send time at the range. Your rifle is the most important piece of equipment. Fire it until you can consistently make good groups. When the moment of truth comes to fulfill your bear hunting dreams, you want to be dead on.