Arguably, the best time to hunt black bears is a magical few weeks in May and early June, during the black bear rut.

Hunting During the Black Bear Rut

There is heavy competition for sows, and boars will travel widely in search of sows in heat. They mark areas they travel, urine spotting along travel corridors and bear trails as they go. Boars utilize rub/marking trees. These can be communal.

  • Boars will leave bite marks, oftentimes trees are bit off at standing head height, or pulled over their shoulder and broke off at standing height to display dominance and size/stature.
  • They will stand up rubbing their backs leaving fur on these marking trees.
  • Additionally, boars will straddle and walk over the top of small coniferous and deciduous saplings and shrubs etc. leaving scent. Many of these small trees will be readily identifiable, as they will be broken clean off down low sporting broken branches, and upon inspection, have visible urine staining.

Although this black bear rut behavior is not often displayed or encountered at a bait site, watch for it.

Along with analyzing physical traits, this information will greatly help with field judging black bears.

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