Planning a Polar Bear Hunt
Hunting in the Arctic is undoubtedly the most physically demanding hunt that a modern day hunter can pursue.
RICARDO LONGORIA | Bowsite.com
Polar bear hunting has gotten caught up in the larger debate over global warming. Scientists and environmentalists are pushing for a ban on polar bear hunting even though polar bear numbers are stable. Few Hunting Trophies are more desirable than the Polar Bear. Here’s what you need to know before you consider heading north to go polar bear hunting.
First… It’ll be cold!
Can you handle it? Going on a hunt in the arctic without good preparation and top-notch cold-weather gear can get you killed… period! Make sure every piece of your gear, from sleeping bag to gloves, is rated for extremely cold temperatures. Hunting isn’t fun when you freeze your butt off or comeback with frostbite.
Second, FIND THE RIGHT OUTFITTER!
95% of Canadian Arctic outfitters are natives, and of those, POSSIBLY 2% are good enough to hunt with. “Good enough” doesn’t work for me on something like a polar bear hunt. There are a few non-native outfitters offering incredible polar bear hunts without any of the common problems you hear about with native outfitters. Do your homework or use a professional consultant to find the best outfitter… Shopping for a bargain on an arctic hunt is asking for trouble!
Lastly, be aware of the laws associated with polar bear hunting:
- The U.S. government doesn’t allow hunters to import polar bears. If you have a home outside of the U. S. or any connections internationally (where polar bear imports are legal), store your trophy there until the law is overturned.
So how do you avoid a disaster on your polar bear hunt?
1. Who do the pro’s hunt with? If an outfitters’ gallery includes Jim Shockey, Craig Boddington, Ralph and Vicki Cianciarulo, Bob Foulkrod, Tom Miranda, or any other top names in the hunting world, it catches my attention, but I dig a little deeper than that. Have those hunters returned to hunt with that Outfitter again? Repeat business is great sign.
2. Call the outfitter and ask how full they are for different species. Finding guys who have a lot of openings in their upcoming season usually means one of two things; they either recently expanded their operation (rarely the case), or they cannot get clients to come back more than once.
3. Check references. Don’t call three people and book after they each give you a thumbs up. I recently spoke to 13 hunters, all of whom gave great reviews about a particular outfitter, but it was hunters 14 and 15 who made me worry… and in my opinion, one SOLID red flag is one too many. I continued my search. It doesn’t matter if someone gives me a $10,000 hunt for $3,500… if the hunt sucks, I don’t leave happy. On the other hand, if I pay $10K for a $10K hunt and have a blast, it’s worth every freakin’ penny!
To sum everything up, always research that big hunt you have in mind before you ever pull the trigger by sending your deposit to an outfitter, and if you’re not willing to put in the time, call a good hunting consultant and have them do it for you… that’s their job!
Here is the icing on the cake
Fred Bear’s Archery Polar Bear Hunt:
Fred Bear was unsuccessful on two or three different polar bear hunts prior to this one… unsuccessful in the sense that the bears had to be taken by the guide with backup rifles in self defense. They endured life threatening flights into the Arctic, and once they landed they would pack blankets around the engine to prevent it from freezing over. Finally, on his third or fourth attempt, Fred Bear was successful in harvesting a Polar Bear with his bow.
*If you want to do a bowhunt for polar bear, be prepared to get charged. Almost all polar bears will charge a bowhunter and need to be finished off with a rifle by your guide. However, it is possible if you are able to shoot effectively at 50 yards or more.