Booking Baited Bear Hunts
What To Consider When Booking Baited Bear Hunts
Trophy quality vs. cost. One bear or two? Is color phase important? Should you take a bow?
Hunting for bears over bait can be a lot of fun because of the amount of activity you will have if you are with the right outfitter in the right area but there are several key things to consider about bear hunting, before you choose who you will be hunting with. While baits are mostly a black bear affair, we do offer a great baited brown bear hunt in Alaska as well.
Why you should consider a black bear hunt over bait:
- Great opportunity to see lots of bear activity.
- High success rates.
- Multiple opportunities gives a hunter a good chance to take a trophy boar.
- Amazing archery hunting opportunity.
- Laid back hunts that are tons of fun.
- The weather is usually nice.
Trophy Quality and Hunt Cost
As any animal, including black bears, the further North you go, the bigger the body size. This phenomenon is known as Bergmann’s Rule. To survive the winter the key element is body mass. The bigger you are the more cold you can stand. This said however, bears are not officially scored based on their body size, but by the size of their skull. Genetically, some areas produce larger skulls than others. You may be surprised where the largest bears come from.
Cost on baited bear is close to the same wherever you hunt them, but tends to be a bit cheaper in the Lower 48 with some exceptions. You need to make up your mind about what is most important to you, budget or trophy quality and success rates. Please, please, please be wary of any “bargain hunt” under $2,500. Here is why. Where the outfitter’s make up the money that is saved, is usually in baiting. It takes a lot of man hours, fuel and bait costs to run a good bait for weeks before you ever show up. On a cheap hunt that is where the money is saved to get you your “deal.” This is where you will need to remind yourself that you get what you pay for.
*As a side note, coats will thicken and lengthen as you go further north as well. Maine, is a good bang for the buck bear hunt for eastern hunters, but be wary who you choose to hunt with as there are more bad stories than good from that and eastern Canada as well (get help from us in these areas for sure).
Two Bear vs. One Bear Areas
There are only two places where you can shoot two bears (reasonably)… Idaho and Alberta, Canada.
Alberta has slightly bigger bears on average and both, dependent on area, have about a 50% color phase.
Traditionally, Alberta is twice the price of Idaho. In our experience, on baited bear hunts in Idaho, you should see 1-3 bears per sit, as compared to 3-5 in Alberta. It’s just better hunting but twice the price. Something to consider. What we like about a two bear hunt is that it allows you to tip over a bear early that may be borderline trophy quality and then be able to hold out for a true giant. Most new or first time bear hunters will dump the clutch of the first or second bear that comes in and realize they shot boo boo when they find him. Two bears areas allow for a redo.
Color Phase Black Bears
Color phase (which is still a black bear, no matter what color they are) is another issue. Some areas have very high color phase like Arizona (90%)…but you can’t hunt baited bears in Arizona, Idaho (50%), Alberta (50%), and Saskatchewan (25%).
What Weapon Should You Hunt With?
Bow vs. Rifle
Safety really is not really much of an issue while hunting baited black bears. If you bow hunt, then you should absolutely take your bow. They are very close and you will have a good amount of time to make a good shot. One note, if a bear climbs your tree, like in the picture above, which actually happens quite often, don’t panic, they are just curious. Just take a bottle of water with you into the stand and if they start to climb, pour water on their head and they will go right down.
I hope that helps you in your search and if you would like help finding the right outfitter we have many to choose from in all the areas we spoke of. Let us know if we can help.