Hunting Black Bear – What To Know Before You Go

By: Paul Bedard

Hunting black bear can reap big rewards. Here are a number of tips you will want to learn about before you head out to bag the very first bear:

First, you should learn as much as you can about black bears: what do they eat, when do they eat, what are their usual behavior patterns?

Once you’re familiar with their habits, take some time before hunting season if you can to scout out the territory. If this is not possible, you might still be successful, contact an Outfitter!

Among the most important things for you to remember is to remove your scent as much as doable. Bears possess a strong sense of smell, and they are aware of what people smell like.
They can smell your shampoo, your soap and whether you have been smoking. Instead of wandering right by you, they’ll turn and go the other way. In order to do this, make use of unscented soap, shampoo, and deodorant.
When hunting black bear, wash your clothing in unscented laundry soap and then wash them again in plain water.

Don’t wear your hunting clothing around camp, where you could be likely to smoke or drink. You’d be surprised at how many scents your clothes can pick up. Don’t wear any cologne, aftershave, perfume or hair spray or gels.

If you are in a hunting stand, don’t smoke or eat anything that may give you a detectable scent. If you have to, use a nicotine patch while you are hunting to help curb your urge. Bears are clever enough to smell tobacco, and they know tobacco comes with people.

Stay still and silent. Bring some cough drops or throat lozenges in case your throat gets dry or scratchy. Clearing your throat or coughing will frighten off your quarry when hunting black bear.
Mint is a good choice for your throat drops, your tooth paste and your mouth wash. Bears truly like mint, so it may help attract them in addition to covering up any scent on your breath.

Movement will let the bears know you are there. Their visual acuity is based on movement for the most part, like many animals.
If you plan on drinking in your camp the night before you hunt, choose beer rather than other forms of alcohol. The next day as the alcohol dissipates from your system, it will make you smell like bread instead of chemicals. Studies have shown that bears love bread and other carbohydrates- laden foods.
Feeding Station

If you choose to use a feeding station when hunting black bear, do your research. Most bear hunters who use feeding stations are highly serious about their hunting.

If you’ve ever seen bears eating at the dump, you’ll notice that they choose breads, pasta, pastries and any carbohydrates they can find.

To prepare a feeding station, you’ll want to load it with these same kinds of foods that attract them most. While the bears will realize these are human foods and will still desire to prevent contact with humans, many can’t resist this temptation.

Before you choose to use a feeding station, be sure to check the regulations for hunting black bear to determine if this technique is legal in the region you plan to hunt.

Spot And Stalk Hunting

Spot and stalk hunting is another strategy that works well for bears. This approach works especially well in the coastal areas. The key to successful spot and stalk hunts is to spot the bear before he spots you.

This tactic is very successful in the fall when bears are extra focused on discovering food than watching what is happening around them.

Watch for bear tracks close to water sources: if you find them, you know this is a good place to find your bear. Bears must drink a lot during this time to prepare for hibernation.

Calling black bears may be either very exciting or very dull. When it works, your heart is going to be pumping extremely quick as you attract nearby bears.

Make sure you position yourself somewhere you’ve got a good field of vision- the last thing you want is to be surprised by a hungry bear.


Paul Bedard is an experienced hunter and outfitter in New Brunswick, Canada. Together with a team of other experts, he runs, the ultimate resource on black bear hunting in Canada. Find out more at

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