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Bear Hunting Magazine


July/August 2010

Feature Sections

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


  • Guns & Optics with Ralph Lermayer

    Bargain Rifles
  • In Hot Pursuit with Joe McCray

    How to Buy a Pup
  • Muzzleloading with Chad Schearer

    Is the .45 Caliber Big Enough for Black Bears?
  • Scent Strategies with Dick Scorzafava

    Honey Burns - Your Ace in the Hole
  • Archery Talk with Bob Robb

    Bow Sights for Black Bears



Bagging Bigger Bear Over Bait

By William Clunie

The first black bear I ever shot came in just as I had been told it would, slow and smooth as molasses. It seemed as if the bear materialized out of nowhere, taking a seated posture about 30 yards from the bait station I had so faithfully attended for the last month. Like a dark shadow blending into the equally dark woods, the curious but hungry bear remained motionless for at least 30 minutes. I finally got to see the animal that had been devouring the buckets of food I had lugged into this site.
       The bear looked big enough in my eyes, so when it stood up I put a .30 caliber, solid copper Barnes X-Bullet just behind its front shoulder. At the shot, the bear flipped upside down with all four paws to the sky and didn’t move again.
        The heavily-furred 150 pounder, an average-size bear for the state of Maine, received “full honors” at the taxidermy shop. The full-sized mount of this gorgeous black bear takes its place in my home and holds a special place in my heart. My first black bear; not a huge animal, but a fine representation of the species.



Long Trek For BC Bears

by Dave Henderson

“All I can tell is that it’s brown and it’s big,” says guide Darwin Collins as he assesses a big bear through the spotting scope after sighting it across a 50 acre clear-cut in a God forsaken area of central British Columbia. I am preparing for the shot.
    Grizzlies are plentiful and troublesome in the area and they are also definitely off limits in this, the spring black bear season. Darwin’s bulky 20-60x spotting scope gives him the best view of the distant bruin, but I am also scanning the area with my riflescope cranked to 10x (a move of expedience; binoculars offer better view and clarity but the potential for a hurry-up shot would be lost in the switch of optics) to determine if the bear is a sow with any cubs.
    I can only see the face of the still-bedded bear through the Bushnell 4200 Elite scope, but it obviously lacks the blocky look and upturned nose of a grizzly.
Suddenly the bear stands stiffly, takes a short step and begins sniffing the air.
    “It’s a chocolate black and a good one,” exclaims Darwin, immediately. “You’d better take him!”



K.O. Your Next Bear

By Ed Hall

            Whether you are a lone bear hunter, or guiding a bear hunting client, “STOPPING POWER” in your rifle can be an essential asset should a close encounter occur. Yet in today’s world of high velocity, high energy cartridges, many, if not most, back-up or protection bear guns are guns still shooting tough, heavy, fat bullets or even shotgun slugs.
            The new high velocity magnums are usually the key to instant destruction of a nervous system and the devastation of multiple blood vessels of a bear. The bear does not merely fall, but literally drops where it stands, fine for a broadside lung shot at any range. These super-high velocity bullets are not yet 100% perfect, or if perfect, not yet extensively proven. They need to be absolutely guaranteed to always double their diameter, and to never, ever expand too much, nor break apart. Nor break off their petals when a too-fast bullet encounters too-tough bone and muscle at too close of a range.
            For me, the guaranteed stopping power on a really big bear, whether black or brown, comes with a traditional slower, heavier, fatter, blunt bullet, one which is already the perfect shape and needs no bullet expansion to consummate its potential. It is a freight train of momentum.



Hounds in Hot Pursuit

by Dick Scorzafava

I grew up following a good pack of hounds through the woods of New England in pursuit of bears. Some of my fondest memories of hunting are of great hound races. My son Tony has been pleading with me over the last couple years to take him on a hound hunt because he wanted to experience what I have been talking about for years.
       The flurry of the pack racing down a mountainside in hot pursuit is a sound that will be embedded in my mind forever. Even if the bear was never treed or treed and let down to run another day, bear hunting behind a great pack of hounds is as action packed as it gets and the most exhilarating hunt anyone can experience.
        Hunting bears with hounds is not for everyone, however. It beckons a hunter who is in search of high-adventure, not fearful of the long treks into deep woods, and who appreciates the sound of hound music echoing through a valley. The hunter will come home very tired and aching all over but will have a new respect for hunting bear with a pack of quality hounds. Killing a bear is comparatively a very minor part of the hunt with hounds. It is the camaraderie shared among friends and the actual chase when the hounds are in hot pursuit that is the point of the hunt.
        Hunting a bear with hounds does not make the hunt easier as many believe. It takes a long term commitment and intense effort to put together a pack of hounds that is able to consistently catch bears.



Bait & Baiting A-Z

by Judd Cooney

            I had been on the ground within 30 yards of the bear bait for the past four hours and had bears on all sides of me. The gigantic brown color phase bear was having a tough time bluffing the two equally large and obviously younger bears into staying away from the bait barrel. The bruiser, obviously a Boone & Crockett sized bruin, was the 14th bear I’d observed on the bait that evening. Now that’s the way a bear bait should work!
            I started out baiting bear when I worked as a conservation officer for the Colorado Division of Wildlife and was hunting on my own over 45 years ago and managed to kill some big bears on baits, even though I didn’t know much about it. When I was transferred to southwestern Colorado one of my first projects was a grizzly study conducted to find out if, in fact, there were still wild grizzly bears roaming the remote reaches of the San Juan Mountains. We led cull horses into the back country parks and high meadows, shot them, gutted them out and then checked them regularly with fixed wing airplanes and helicopter. When we got a hit on a carcass we rode in on horseback to check it and put a remote camera on the bait. Never did get a grizzly hit, but learned that black bears definitely preferred a fresh carcass over a rotten maggot riddled one.
            I have had numerous folks tell me that bears preferred sheep carcasses over all others, but I’ve eaten mutton and figured no self respecting bear could possibly prefer it over more edible critters. To prove my point I put out fresh road-killed mule deer and elk carcasses along with equally fresh horse, steer and sheep carcasses, all gutted and placed in the same location. I had several bears on the bait site and they consumed the elk first, deer second and then worked on the horse and steer together and never did finish off the sheep; can’t say I blame them.



Bear at Ten Feet

By Ben Zeman

After having made the trip to Wisconsin to participate in hound training seasons for nine years, since the ripe old age of seven; I was quite excited to have a harvest tag. (A special thank you to Kevin Samuel for transferring his license to me.) I was booked to go hunting in the county forests around Hayward on a guided hunt with my aunt and uncle, Annette Zeman and Dave Samuel.


Arizona Giant

by Jason Miller

    With my truck stopped and my hand turning off the ignition, my thoughts were on what was to come. This was the last day of the spring hunt, and I was going to give it all I had. Of all the thoughts that went through my mind, none would even come close to what really happened.
        I climbed out of my truck and looked around, deciding on which direction to take. I grabbed my hunting pack and rifle and headed out.


Down to the Wire

by Billy Chesher

    You know all those stories about the guy getting the big bear on the last minute of his last day to hunt? Well that never happened to me, until last spring. I was waiting on a call from my buddy in Saskatoon to come out for a spring bear hunt once the action picked up at the bait stations. I got the call on a Monday, made the arrangements and was sitting in a tree stand in the northern Saskatchewan forest by Friday night.


Idaho - Black Bears on the Salmon River

By Gary Lewis

Idaho’s River of No Return divides some of the most remote backcountry wilderness in the Lower 48. Windswept ridges, steep mountain meadows and clear-running creeks run down to the river. And every canyon has a bear.

A breath of wind blew down the canyon, but its treetop rustle was lost to the murmur of the river, running at 13,500 cubic feet per second.
    Swallows hunted insects above the water and a long-billed bird dipped on a stone near the boat ramp. On the northern bank, yellow spots of color showed against the green grass. I checked my watch, it was almost 11:00 a.m.
     On the wind came another sound, the whine of twin, fire-breathing 460 Fords. As it grew closer, the beat of the engines filled the narrow canyon. The boat streaked down through the rapids and passed the ramp. Mike Demerse lifted a hand and waved when he saw us.
    We shipped the gear on board; duffels, packs, rifle cases and groceries, brought by one of the ranch hands, then Mike fired the engines and backed into the river.
    He turned the boat in a circle then pointed the bow upriver into the rapids. On step, the boat threaded between boulder and cut every corner in inches of water. Each turn in the river opened new vistas up long, steep canyons.



To Fear or Not to Fear

By John Trout, Jr.

It was almost midday when my partner and I walked along the aspen and pine slope in northern Ontario checking the bait that a bear had visited regularly for almost a week. I had made these routine investigations hundreds of times during the last two decades in the spring and fall months, and I always approached each bait station with enthusiasm. But this cool, late morning check was about to provide an experience I wouldn’t forget.
     When I approached within 30 yards of the bait in the dense foliage, I could easily see the logs we covered the goodies with had been thrown about. I turned and gave Erv Scheunemann a thumbs-up.
    As I neared the bait, I spotted movement a short distance away. Instantly, I recognized the slow moving black blob as our potential customer. Unsure whether the bruin knew we had arrived, I knelt down and Erv repeated my action, only 15 yards behind me.
    The bear slowly walked toward us and I dreaded the thought of spooking it into parts unknown. Without hesitation, I quietly nocked an arrow, just in case. Really, I wanted the bear to walk away. If that happened, I could hang my portable stand and wait for the bear later that afternoon. But it was not to be. The bear realized an intruder was there.



The Sixth Sense

Staff Report
Understanding New Technology for Hunters

Whenever a hunting product comes along that people do not understand, there seems to be a learning curve that precedes widespread acceptance. Suits of clothing impregnated with carbon to eliminate a hunter’s scent fell into this category when first introduced, but the early adopters saw the advantages, used the clothing to overcome sharp noses and killed game. Silver wool and thread technology that defies the micro-bacteria that produces odor has demanded its own learning curve today as hunters see the benefits of being able to work up a sweat or wear the same clothing for an entire hunt without compromising their stealth.
            Those who study today’s technologies with an eye for better hunting, better ways to overcome the sharp senses of game animals, continue to search out and test materials, potions and products that will give hunters an edge, especially in the close range encounters of stand hunting, blind hunting and stalking of animals like black bears and grizzly bears.
            The latest breakthrough in this area may be a technology called HECS (sounds like hex), Human Energy Concealment System, an “energy cloak” fabric that blocks a hunter’s electromagnetic field.
            Sounds like a mouthful, but here’s how it works:




A Handshake for Luck

By Mike Bleech

Every time I drive through Maine I realize just how beautiful it is, especially for my taste. Once you get northward, past Bangor, you start to really get the feel of the north woods. Being different is a large part of the beauty, the glacier-scoured landscape, the abundance of conifers and contrasting birch, the lakes and swamps. Of course, there are also the mosquitoes and black flies when you hunt black bears in the springtime.
    One of the first things I ask an outfitter before going on a spring black bear hunt is precisely what insect repellents are used by their guides. The last thing I want to do is introduce a foreign odor to the bait stands.
    Joe Christianson, owner of Matagamon Wilderness where I would be hunting, replied that the guides use Ben’s and Deep Woods Off. I already had both on hand, nonetheless I bought more and packed my reliable Shannon Bug Tamer jacket for extra protection. Running out of insect repellent is on a level of losing your ammunition.
    Christianson made another strong suggestion regarding bugs. “The hunters last week all used the ThermaCELL. It worked really well. I recommend everyone use it. It doesn’t seem to bother the bears.”