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May/June 2008 Issue

Feature Sections

  • Book Review
  • Q & A - Tips
  • Video Review
  • News & Notes
  • Spotlight On: Arkansas
  • Outfitters & Guides
  • Bruin in the Kitchen - Recipes
  • Bear Essentials - Gadgets & Gear
  • Hunter Photo Gallery
  • Crazy Tales from Uncle Geddy & The Bear Mountain Gang


  • Muzzleloading with Al Raychard

    The Trouble With Sabots
  • Bear Calling with Judd Cooney

    Trail Timers/Cameras And Bear Calling
  • The Bear Whisperer with Dick Scorzafava

    Scent Strategies: Teasing A Bear’s Nose
  • Scent Free Strategies with Bill Winke

    Antimicrobial Silver Will Reduce Your Scent
  • Bear Biology 101 with Wade Nolan

    Bear Aggression
  • In Hot Pursuit with James Keldsen

    Developing Your Bear Dog: Traits & Techniques To Get The Best Out Of Your Dog
  • Archery Talk with Jeff Murray

    Moonstruck Bears
  • Guns & Optics with George Dvorchak

    Maine Bear & The New Knight Rifle System


Alakan Brown Bear - With a Bow?

By Bob Robb

We had just finished a week of guiding four brown bear hunters on southeast Alaska’s Baranof Island, a gig that reminded me just how wild this action can be. In September, the streams are filled with thousands of spawning salmon, fish that had been there since summer, and you know what that means, the brown bears were all over the place, gorging themselves in anticipation of the coming winter. These are not streams with wide-open banks and a lot of visibility. Instead, they flow to the sea through the old growth of the Tongass National Forest, a rainforest with huge Sitka spruce trees a thousand years old; thick, almost impenetrable brush; and in places, vertical cliffs guarding their banks. The hunting is up-close and personal, involving close encounters with lots of bears, usually sows with cubs or young boars, fishing at will. Your job is to creep up the stream in hip boots, maneuver through the small bears, find a big old boar, get him shot and skinned, and return to the safety of the boat camp. Because the best hunting occurs in the evenings, you often find yourself hiking back to the boat after dark. And the bears love the dark. It can get, as the British are prone to say, a bit dicey.

Facing My Demons

By Judy Black

The days as a young girl hunting with my dad bring back many fond memories. We would sit in a wooden blind with a small wood stove for heat, and when my hands got cold, dad would rub them to warm them up. Bakers chocolate was your treat for sitting still waiting for a whitetail deer to enter a shooting lane. It was my dad that started this burning desire, hunting. I have rifle hunted since I was old enough to carry a gun. I remember hurrying home from school and driving 30 miles to make the evening hunt. After getting married and having children, I would spend the night before opening day at my mom’s as she would babysit the boys when they were small, just so I could hunt. I do not know if I ever missed an opening day, and my sons are now 23 and 25.

Game Cameras In Bear Country

By Lawrence Taylor

Bears and game cameras are like little boys and your tackle box. Your box is OK as long as the boys are unaware of its existence. The moment they discover it however, it will be raided, invaded and quite possibly smashed to bits. It is not done out of malice; the boys are just curious and naturally destructive; just like bears.
     Bears are notorious camera destroyers. Their sense of smell is virtually unmatched in the wild and not much gets by them, including your game camera.      Wisconsin hunter Jim Satorius began research on game cameras for a magazine article and set several cameras on his hunting land. When he returned a week later, the first camera he had set was laying on the ground with the front door wide open and tooth marks in the side. “I put it up along a creek bottom to get pictures of deer,” he said. “Actually, it was right under one of my tree stands.”

Lean, Mean Bear on the Eel River

By Dan Tichenor

George finally got what he had been wanting for three hunting seasons, a chance to tag a trophy bear. Unlike the other bears he had taken, this bear was not treed. The bruin had been standing his ground against my four Plott hounds for an hour, and he was not about to climb. It was half past November when the bear should have been packing on fat for winter, but a late spring had thrown many of the bears off schedule. The boar looked more like he was training for the Olympic Games. All we could see through the brush was a large mass of chocolate-brown fur charging with speed and furry at one dog, then another. There was no way to make a shot from a safe distance without the risk of hitting a dog or inflicting a nonfatal wound on the bear and creating even greater chaos. George would have to crawl into the brush and take on 400 pounds of lean, angry bear at close range. If he could pull this off, his desire for a trophy bear would be fully satisfied.

Oops! Baiting Blunders

By Don Mulligan

Think black bear hunting over bait is a sure thing? Here are eight things that can go wrong and how to avoid them. When my hunting partner’s story began with a big boar standing at his bait only 15 yards away, I assumed it would end with a request to help him find a dead bear. Instead, he told me that as he was about to release an arrow at that bear, a trout jumped in the nearby creek startling the bruin, causing the arrow to miss its target completely.
     Though no one could predict that a bait hunt might be ruined by a leaping trout, other limiting factors are a bit easier to anticipate. Here are some of the more common mistakes made by bait hunters, and how to correct them.





Maryland - A Success Story

By Joe Byers

Maryland’s four bear hunts in modern times defeated the anti-hunters, thanks to a data-driven plan and scientists who did their homework. Could this be a model for your state?
     The Free State’s first bear hunt in 2004 was scheduled to run five consecutive days in October and in December, but ended at 9:00 p.m. on the first day. The goal was to harvest 30 bears during the two-tier season, yet 20 were checked in by the end of the first day, prompting the DNR to close the season. Technically, hunters had until the end of the second day to check a harvested animal, yet none were tallied.
     Taxidermist Christy Martin loves bears. She hunts them and was absolutely ecstatic that she did a mount on one of the first black bears to be harvested by a hunter in Maryland since 1953. “The fellow who got the bear lives in Frederick and thinks he shot one of the first of the season,” says Martin who along with her husband Tim run Martin’s Taxidermy and Wildlife Artistry in Boonsboro. “It was a 200 pound female, the first bear he had seen in the wild. He was pretty excited.”


By Mike Bleech

During a spring bear hunt there is absolutely no greater challenge, no greater annoyance, nothing more likely to spoil the chances of a successful and enjoyable hunt than black flies and mosquitoes.
     I am blond-haired, well, I was blond haired when I was a younger bear hunter before my hair turned gray, and my body chemistry is of the type which is particularly attractive to blood-sucking insects. So, I know very well of what I write on this subject. Through many years and through serious and absolutely necessary study and experimentation I have learned how to deal with black flies and mosquitoes and I can help you do the same.

Hot Spots For Blackpowder Bruins

By Al Raychard

Looking To Bag A Bruin With Your Smokepole This Year? If So, Here Are Some Spots Worth Considering. Scattered across North America there are around one-million black bears, give or take a few. By all counts and measures bear numbers are on the increase just about everywhere, bear range is expanding and more hunting opportunities are becoming available. Right now, black bears can be hunted in each province and territory in Canada where they are found and in all but a few states. If that is not enough, it seems more and more guides and outfitters are going into the bear hunting trade. With all things said and done, there has never been a better time to hunt black bears. With so much available these days for those of us who hunt with a muzzleloader, an obvious question is, “Where should I go to get a bear?”

Can Bait and Dog Hunters Co-Exist?

By Richard P. Smith

Beginning bear hunters are great for dispelling myths because they are not burdened with the false perceptions that are passed down from one generation of hunters to another. That is where hunting buddies Mark Drake and Steve Roehm from Ann Arbor, Michigan come in. They booked their first bear hunt with Dan Kirschner’s Wild Spirit Guide Service out of Powers, Michigan.
    Kirschner guides hunters with both bait and hounds. Many of his dog hunts are started from baits. Hunters who book dog hunts have the option of hunting from active baits in the evening to increase their chances of scoring. Most of the baits that are hunted from stands are not the ones dogs are started from, but that is not always the case.

New Bows for 2008

By Bill Winke

Ventura: The Silverado Ventura does not feature Alpine’s sophisticated multi-part riser, it is however a very solid bow with great performance built on a conventional riser. It produces an advertised 320 fps IBO speed with a 7 3/4-inch brace height and the Velocitec Hybrid cam system. Debuted last year, the Velocitec is a dual hybrid, which means that both cams are slaved together so the bow cannot easily go out of time. Approximate retail price is $649.

Last year’s Bear Truth was one of the best values on the market. The new Truth 2 has a higher suggested retail, but it offers more features. However, Bear has not turned their back on the budget bowhunter: they added five new bows at various prices from $650 all the way down to $280!


New Guns and Stuff

By Ed Hall

Frugal bear hunters have never had it so good. New rifles this year and expanded versions of others have created a wide variety of economical bolt action rifles wearing the brand names of popular U.S. gunmakers such Mossberg, Marlin and Stevens.
     The S.H.O.T. (Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade) Show is the annual unveiling of new models of rifles, scopes, ammo and other shooting and hunting gear. This is the year of the rifle. Bolt actions lead the pack, with two new lever actions also hitting the market. The industry is responding to our requests for better triggers, as each of the new bolt rifles specifically mentions its own “new” trigger.


Back In BC - Bear Country

By Tony Pannkuk

As I slowly made my way to the canyon edge, I took one last step to better position myself to see what, if anything, might be on the other side. As I inched forward, a flash of light caught my eye. Instantly, I froze in my tracks. I stood motionless and began to focus on the shiny object. I could not believe my eyes! Just 25 yards down the embankment stood a blue-phase black bear.    
    I took a deep breath in an effort to calm my racing heartbeat, then slowly lowered myself and looked back at Rick, my guide and cameraman, who was some 40 yards behind me. I motioned him to hurry and began to back down the canyon edge to meet him. Since this was a filmed hunt, I could not take the shot until the camera was in place, sometimes a more challenging feat then the hunt itself.