The Best Places to Hunt Black Bear
Choosing where to hunt can be daunting, but here are the best places to hunt black bears in our opinion.
The American black bear (Ursus americanus) evolved from bears that traveled from Asia to North America on the Bering Land Bridge about 8 million years ago. Like their Asian ancestors, the black bear is omnivorous. Because it is able to thrive in a variety of different environmental conditions and is incredibly resourceful, it was able to survive the last ice age, while other, less adaptable predators became extinct. About 10,000 years ago, it is widely believed, that the black bear was the only bear living in North America before brown bears migrated south from what is now known as Alaska and the Yukon territories.
If you want a color phase bear, you need to book in specific areas. Let us know if a colored bear is on your list.
Twenty-eight states in the US, and all Canadian provinces have hunting seasons for black bears. Which area you choose to hunt, depends on whether your preferred hunting method (baiting, over hounds, etc.) is legal, and whether you want a classic black coloration, or a “color phase” bear (brown, chocolate, cinnamon, red, or blonde), which are more common in the western US. The rare bluish-gray color phase, “Glacier bear” is found in Alaska, and the all-white “Kermode bear” occurs on several islands in coastal British Columbia.
An estimated 100,000 black bears inhabit Alaska. Statewide, the annual harvest increased steadily between 2003 and 2007, from about 2,500 to 3,250 bears. On an Alaska black bear hunt, color can vary from jet black to white.
Since Alberta has a two-bear limit, it’s a great destination for your hunt. Another great thing about Alberta that’s great, is that there are a good number of color-phase bears. In fact, our hunters average 25% on colored bears ranging from blonde to cinnamon or chocolate.
Most hunters know all about the great deer and elk hunting found in Arizona but very few hunters realize that black bear hunting is VERY good as well. With a great population of record book size black bears, it is a good place to hunt. When black bear hunting Arizona, keep in mind that the bears tend to run slightly smaller in body size than their northern counterparts but what they may lack in body they make up for with skull size.
Coastal British Columbia arguably has the largest population of black bears per square mile in North America. The mild climate provides the bears with a very long feeding season starting early in the spring and ending late in the fall on the salmon spawning rivers. With abundant food and low hunting pressure, it’s easy to see why coastal bears grow to such a large size.
Idaho has a healthy population of black bears, with most of them being color phase. This state also has generous spring and fall seasons and hunters can hunt over bait, with hounds, or spot-and-stalk. Nonresident deer and elk tags may also be used to harvest a black bear or mountain lion.
If you’re looking for an exceptional spring black bear hunt with the potential for the bear of a lifetime, Saskatchewan should be a place that you consider. This province offers a true chance for a book bear, and is affordable when compared to other bear hunts of a similar caliber.
Bear hunting Washington provides some of the best opportunity for trophy bear hunting in the country. The use of hounds or bait have been illegal for years now, and these bears have gone unpressured and get big!