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The North American black bear is a hefty animal with a thick hairy coat that is usually black but can also be chocolate brown, blonde or even white. It is a forest dweller and its habitat is characterized by heavy, thick vegetation that has an abundance of fruit and nut bearing trees and shrubs all around.
Nose to tail, a black bear can measure eight feet plus. Boars are larger than sows in size. However, it usually walks on all fours and stands up to three feet at shoulder height. Adult males weigh anywhere between 250 to 600 pounds. Black bears are possessed with a sharp olfactory sense and walk with a shuffling gait. Black Bears are smaller than grizzly bears, Alaskan brown bears, and polar bears, but are more accessable to hunt.
The black bear generally does not attack humans unless wounded or threatened. This does not mean you should take them lightly, after all they are a strong beast armed with claws and fangs. Make sure you brush up on your bear attack survival skills and knowledge before hunting. If you plan to go black bear hunting it is good if you have previous big game hunting experience. Black bear hunting requires a high level of stalking skill on the part of the hunter and is a test for his trailing abilities in the field. It is also necessary for the hunter to carry suitable hunting equipment for the hunting trip.
Stealth is of great importance while hunting black bear. They are quickly startled by sudden movements and can soon disappear if they detect wild movement like flailing arms or weapons. It is important that the hunter moves very quietly. Care should be exercised to make sure that one wears clothes that do not rustle while walking and boots that do not make noise. Remember that no tip will help your success as much as pre season scouting before your hunting trip.
With a highly developed sense of smell, black bears are able to detect smells emanating from bodies. To maximize your chances of success you should use scent covers to mask your scent while stalking in on that record book black bear. Tobacco smoke has a very distinctive smell and can put the bear on alert at once. The black bear hunter should avoid smoking if he wants to improve his chances of coming across the bear. Smoking should be avoided during or even before the hunt; because the scent can permeate clothing and be carried along to scare the prey, which can immediately sense the unfamiliar scent. Keeping track of wind direction is also crucial to prevent the bear from detecting your presence and therefore the bear should always be stalked upwind.
When spotting a black bear during the hunt either from the ground or from a tree stand at a bait staition, it is important to remain calm and take time to aim and execute the shot carefully, adjusting it to hit a vital organ. Any tendency to rush a shot should be calmed down by waiting or taking a deep breath. This will prevent losing a good trophy bear, as black bears can move very quickly over considerable distances if wounded with a poor shot. Once you have the black bear recovered, remember to keep the skull for a scoring and for to make a European bear skull.
You also have to be aware of applicable gaming laws. An appropriate gaming license should be obtained before going black bear hunting. A hunter needs to be careful to stay within restrictions. For example, shooting a female bear that has cubs is illegal. It is essential to check laws affecting the hunt before proceeding with the hunt. In case of doubt, checking with any outfitter or game warden can get the right answers.
The spring black bear season when either sex may be harvested is usually from mid April to the end of June. The fall season is all through September and November. However there can be a difference of a few days between different States and Provinces. Check out this great DVD and Book on Black Bear Hunting Tips
Bear hunting licenses, like all other gaming licenses, are issued through agents located inside every State and Province. Many States have introduced an online system for making a hunting license application to the State’s Fish and Gaming department. This has greatly simplified matters. It is also possible to apply for licenses to the gaming department of a State through fax or mail order.
The authour pictured here with his first ever black bear.
This site has some handy information on black bear hunting facts:
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is Proud to announce the application for the 2013 Black Bear Lottery is open. The application became available online, by phone, any DNR Service Center or one of 250+ Sport License Agents across the State. The application opened up July 15, 2013 and will be open until . For more information regarding the lottery please visit http://dnr.maryland.gov/
Posted November 30, -1 by Justin Ott