Black bear hunting in Alberta with a trad bow

How to Hunt Black Bears

When you’re starting to research how to hunt black bears, probably the first thing to figure out is if you want to hunt in the spring or in the fall. Then it’s time to narrow it down where you hunt based on when you want to hunt. You have to hunt where the biggest bears live.

  • Spring black bear hunting tend to be the most popular. This is probably because there isn’t much else to hunt that time of the year besides wild turkeys. Another great thing about bear hunting in the spring is that the bears are just coming out of hibernation and are easy to find as they graze in open meadows.
  • Fall hunts can be a blast though, so don’t disregard them. Often you can combo with other species such as mule deer, elk, or even moose if you’re hunting in Canada or Alaska. Boars also tend to be larger in the fall as they are preparing for winter.

Hunting Black Bears Over Bait

Bears hitting the bait

By far, the most common way to hunt black bears is over bait. Hunting for bears over bait can be a lot of fun because of the amount of activity you will have, IF you’re with the right outfitter in a good area. Before you choose who you will be hunting with, so be sure to get in touch with us so we can make sure that you’re booking with a quality outfitter. *While baiting is mostly a black bear affair, we do offer a great baited brown bear hunt in Alaska as well. Here’s a good gear list for a spring bear hunt.

Spring hunts over bait allow you to hunt the black bear rut.

Black bears breed from mid May into early June. The rut is a great time to hunt big, mature males as they roam looking for a sow in heat. The best way to hunt big rutting males is over a bait. On these hunts, being proficient at field judging black bears is extremely important!

Beware of a cheap baited hunt!

Where outfitters save money on these hunts, it’s 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.

We have good baited bear hunts in the following areas:

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*For you DIY hunters, here’s a good article to learn how to bait black bears yourself.

Spot-and-Stalk Bear Hunting

Glassing is how to hunt black bears for many hunters in the West.

To stalk a bear takes time, patience and skill. You must play the wind, as black bears have a notoriously keen sense of smell, and they hear well as well. You may fool their sight, but it’s tough to get close, especially if you’re hunting with a bow. Having the right gear is very important on a spot and stalk hunt.

Hunt the food sources.

Notorious for loving berries, wild flowers, plant roots, clovers and wild onions. 75% of their diet is vegetation. However, round out their diet with  insects, fish, small mammals and carcasses of dead animals. They are also fond of preying on moose and elk calves.

Start by getting up high but below the snow line and looking for the greenest areas you can find. Bears will seek out the greenest tallest grasses to fill their bellies. They seek out areas such as creek bottoms and south facing slopes to find new growth.

Consider a coastal black bear hunt.

A very cool way to hunt bears is from a vessel in British Columbia or Alaska, cruising the coastal shorelines and glassing the tidal flats produce plenty of stalking opportunities. You’ll usually be hunting big salmon-fed bears just coming out of hibernation in areas with high bear populations. Large boars with perfect hides are the norm. A bonus on these vessel-based hunts is that you can combo for waterfowlblacktail deer, and/or a cast-and-blast trip if you’d like to do some fishing.

These hunts are very limited, so contact us as soon as possible if you’re interested.

If you’re serious about learning how to hunt black bears, we have some amazing spot-and-stalk bear hunting opportunities:

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Hound Hunting

Let's go hunting boss!

There’s nothing quite like the sound of dogs baying to fire up your hunting instincts.

Once you “strike” a bear or a mountain lion, the chase is on and it’s usually non-stop action from there.  The hounds, alongside a truly skilled houndsman, will make for an experience you will never forget. If you are an adrenalin loving hunter, a hound hunt for you! It’s also an interesting way to learn how to hunt black bears. You get a lot of interaction with the bears on a hound hunt.

We work with some great outfitters who offer black bear hunting with dogs:

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Predator Calling

Predator calling for black bears can be incredibly effective!

When you’re calling black bears, use a jackrabbit/bear cub distress sound…being as “sorrowful” as possible. Call loudly and don’t let up for 20 up to 40 minutes. Seeing bears before you begin to call always ups your odds of success. Listen to our podcast with predator hunting master, Clay Owens about calling in black bears to learn more.

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Outdoors International

Discover why thousands of people have trusted Outdoors International to help plan their hunt.

Outdoors International has a team of hand-selected hunting experts to help you book your next hunt. Our job it is to help you in researching, booking and planning a great hunting trip with one of our amazing outfitter partners around the world.

My hunt was absolutely top notch.

The outfitter is a fantastic man and incredibly hard working and knowledgeable, there is no doubt he will do everything within his power to make peoples hunts successful and enjoyable. I plan to do it again with him next year for sure.

Wade Zuver

Our hunt was excellent.

We saw bucks every day along with all other sorts of wildlife. Mountain goats, bears, and foxes were common sights. Fishing and crabbing was special bonus. The food was excellent, the crew was amazing. Outdoors International did a great job of finding exactly what we were looking for.

Jesse Neveau

What an amazing experience!

The hunting lodge was out of this world!, Rooms, food and the scenery were all A+. Our guide was exceptional and had us on Shiras moose all five days. We saw over 30 total with at least 10 bulls. They had a plan for everything including taxidermy and game processing.

Kayla Redmon