Spring bear hunting gets a ton of attention, and it’s for a very good reason. During the spring time, there really isn’t anything else going on as far as hunting seasons go. You might get out for some turkeys, but that’s about it. It’s a fantastic time to solely chase bears. The wilderness is coming back to life at this time, as are we the hunters after a long winter. However, spring isn’t the only time to get out and try your luck at a big bruin. Fall is equally, if not more, productive as spring in terms of opportunity. There are some states that don’t even have a spring season, but do offer fall hunts. This can oftentimes be a great mixed bag hunt as well. Some fall bear hunts will overlap deer hunts, giving you the opportunity to hunt both at the same time. This is where I personally cut my teeth as a bear hunter and have come to really love hunting bears in the fall. The bears are fat, pressure is usually down due to antlers being on the brain, and the air is beginning to cool. Bears are secretive animals though. In order to find them, you need to put in the leg work and scout. Fall is no exception to that rule.
There are good reasons for doing due diligence before you book a hunt. Guides like this one are one of the reasons you call references before you plunk down your hard-earned deposit. For every bad experience I have had a dozen good ones. But the bad ones do tend to stick in your mind. Let’s take a look at the key points in choosing the right outfitter and minimizing the chances of having a regretful trip.

Tough Times - How Covid is Affecting Bear Outfitters

May/June 2020 (Written April 2020)

When the dust settles and we have a sense of normalcy again, we’ll tell stories about the "2020 Pandemic" and hope it never happens again. But we’ll also breathe a sigh of relief when we get back into the woods and make bear hunting great again! We’ll all get through this together.
Hunting the Eastern Deciduous forest for black bear without the aid of bait or hounds is one of the toughest hunts in North America. Heavily wooded and rugged terrain combined with a “low density” animal to make the pursuit legit. Recently, I’ve been calling it the “sheep hunt of the South.” The only difference being the odds of killing a bear are probably lower. The first questions most people have are, “what does bear sign look?” and “what’s the best type of sign?”
I intend to be bowhunting as long as I can, and one of the best ways I can ensure that I have the strength to do so is through diligent practice and exercise. This is especially true of a guy who’s about to turn 60, but anyone half that age can benefit from the advantages of regular practice.
It has been said a trophy game animal is in the eye of the beholder. After more than four decades of hunting black bears, having traveled far and wide to do so and after seeing literally scores of bears taken by hunters in camps from Alaska to Newfoundland I believe that old adage is true. Some of those bears were unique in some way, perhaps with white “Vs” on the chest or were blonde, brown or otherwise off-color. My aging brain can’t recall each and every one, but I remember enough to say although there were some big bears in terms of weight only a small percentage were of such massive body size to be considered truly impressive. A fair number tipped the scales less than 200 pounds and only a faction, including only two of mine, had skull measurements that met record book eligibility. Yet, I can’t recall ever seeing a displeased look on the face on any hunter, and no doubt each bear was considered a trophy. And so they should have been, and should be, because every bear killed is a trophy in some way.
If you are bear hunting from late May into June, your hunt will be influenced by the bear rut. Knowing all you can about it will make you a better hunter. In a research paper written by Kim Barber and Fredrick Lindzey in Washington State, they noted that female bears range from 6 to 16 days in estrous each spring with the average being 9.25 days. The length of estrous often depends on how quickly the sow is bred. During the research period, male bears were with females from 2 to 5 days, indicating that this was when they actually bred. It’s important to note that this data was collected by radio-collared black bears. Black bears are “promiscuous” breeders, meaning they can have multiple partners. Biologists once observed a female grizzly bear breed 10 times with 4 different males in a two-hour period.
Why does it matter if modern hunting persists beyond our lives? It’s a legit question requiring some soul searching for an honest answer. The challenges surrounding the lifestyle of modern hunters in North America are numerous and even daunting. Just to name a few, we’re struggling with hunter recruitment, access to hunting land, and a population that is growing further away from its hunting roots. There is also a relatively small group of people who adamantly oppose hunting, the anti-hunting community, and they’re doing a good job of propagating their ideas to the undecided masses. Therein lies the lynch pin of protecting and securing our lifestyle – the undecided masses. As ironic as it sounds, the people that don’t care, have little information about and no history with hunting, will be the ones that help decide our future.
Whether archer, bearhoundsman, or just around camp in bear country, a potent handgun on the hip is so much handier than a nine-pound rifle over your shoulder.