Bear Field Care Question

JMG

Active member
Joined
Jul 1, 2011
Messages
781
Location
Billings, MT
Hello--

I have never taken bear hunting seriously, because harvesting a bear has never been high on my list of things to do. This last weekend, my family and I were driving up one of the National Forest roads and came across be pretty good size cinnimon black bear. This bear was a good sized bear and I would have considered this one a "trophy" animal. It has me thinking about go back to the area, on the chance I may see it again.

My question . . . . you pull the trigger, harvest the bear, take a few pictures . . . . now what. I imagine you gut the animal . . . . do you skin it out in the field. Is there a concern about dragging the animal and the hide getting damaged. What do you typically do? The more detail you get . . . . the more help you will be.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
 

Gerald Martin

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 3, 2009
Messages
5,607
I have always broken my bears down in the field or else transported them on a game cart or bicycle. I wouldn't drag a bear very far over rocks or anything else. I sure have rolled a few down a steep mountain side to get them to where I could work on them though. :)
 

Big Fin

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 27, 2000
Messages
15,123
Location
Bozeman, MT
If you drag a bear very far, you are one tough hombre. And if you do, expect your hide to be a disaster. They have good hair yet, but given they are in the process of losing their winter coats and replacing with summer hair, the hair will come out a lot easier than expected. Not as fragile as an antelope, but no way I would drag one more than a few feet, if I intended to keep the hide.

Like Gerald, I skin them, quarter them, and haul them out on my back. If too far, even bone them. I do the gutless method on the bear, pretty similar to what I would do on an elk or deer. A bit of a hassle to haul the skull and hide out, in addition to all the meat.

As many other critters as you have taken, it will be pretty easy for you to get the cinnamon bear off the mountain.
 

SnowyMountaineer

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 11, 2009
Messages
2,831
Location
WY
I treat it just like any other big game animal in terms of the meat; quarters if it's convenient and/or you have help. Otherwise bone it out. They never seem to die in places where it's easy to keep the meat clean.
 

MT_elk

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 2, 2012
Messages
2,684
Location
MT
Agree with the statements above. Never drag a bear. I also do the gutless method and then bone out the meat.
 

JLS

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 26, 2012
Messages
12,542
Location
Where the Wild Things Are
Yup. I start the caping process, peel back one side and bone off the meat (or quarter if you so desire). Flip it over, continue caping and removing the rest of the meat.

Load it all up and cuss the whole way back to the truck.
 

Randy11

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 12, 2009
Messages
6,109
Like the above posted, but also I want to emphasize that dragging a bear just isn't really an option. Their hair isn't directional like ungulates, and their weight is more widely distributed across their body. It's like trying to drag a 200 pound bean bag with double sided tape wrapped all around it.

I've been really lucky to kill most of my bears either on an old logging road or close enough to one that I could use a sled or gamecart to get them out whole in a pretty timely fashion.
 

1_pointer

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 20, 2000
Messages
18,109
Location
Indiana
For those of you that hunt where the 'grissled' bear also lives, do you take care of the processing chores at night if shot close to dark? Or is it often okay to gut them and resume the process in the morning?

If one is skinning for a rug, do you do the paws and skull, or leave that to a taxidermist? I'm probably being a bit too optimistic, but thought I'd ask anyway...
 
Last edited:

Randy11

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 12, 2009
Messages
6,109
For those of you that hunt where the 'grissled' bear also lives, do you take care of the processing chores at night if shot close to dark? Or is it often okay to gut them and resume the process in the morning?

If one is skinning for a rug, do you do the paws and skull, or leave that to a taxidermist? I'm probably being a bit too optimistic, but thought I'd ask anyway...

Gut it, drag the guts and bear a ways apart from each other, then come back in the morning. Bears cool out really easily in my experience. And it's still getting down around freezing at night where you two are headed. Even if you can't get to the bear to gut it that night, you're probably going to be okay as long as you find it pretty early the next day.

Whenever I skin them I cut the paws off at the wrist and head off at the neck. not enough extra weight to worry about doing it in the field in my opinion.
 

1_pointer

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 20, 2000
Messages
18,109
Location
Indiana
Thanks for the info. I guess now that I have the knowledge I need to see about getting one shot...
 

MinnesotaHunter

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 15, 2010
Messages
3,701
Location
Gem Lake, Minnesota
For those of you that hunt where the 'grissled' bear also lives, do you take care of the processing chores at night if shot close to dark? Or is it often okay to gut them and resume the process in the morning?

If one is skinning for a rug, do you do the paws and skull, or leave that to a taxidermist? I'm probably being a bit too optimistic, but thought I'd ask anyway...

Last year, Randy11 and I left my bear overnight, and came back in the next morning because of Grizzlys. I killed it pretty late, we had a long walk out, and several more days to hunt. I gutted it out and we draped sweaty clothes on it to ensure it could cool off and there would be plenty of human scent.

The last night of the hunt another guy got a bear, and we ended up working on it until 11:30 at night and got to the truck around 1:30 am because we had to.
 

Bambistew

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 10, 2002
Messages
6,206
Location
Chugiak, AK
Pointer... are you afraid of the dark? :D

IMO, grizzly bears are really non issue, especially the first day or two after a kill. It takes a day or three for the carcass to start stinking to attract them. If you leave a carcass and come back the next day approach it up wind, make noise and hopefully its in an area where you can see it well. I generally put a 8-10' stick with a game bag tied to the end of it as a "flag" in the carcass, that way I know if the flag is down something has been on it.

I'd be much more worried about walking up on a griz in the dark on the hike out, than having one come in on me while I was working on a critter. I can't say that I've ever heard a credible story of a bear running a hunter off an animal they killed, day or night. On Kodiak they will come into gun shots occasionally, but again, not sure they will actually "run" the hunter off a deer kill. I don't think they're that bold... they get shot. And are also regularly hunted there, they do have a fear of humans.
 

JMG

Active member
Joined
Jul 1, 2011
Messages
781
Location
Billings, MT
MtHuntr . . . . thanks for the video link.

Everyone else . . . . . thank you, as well. Great tips.
 

1_pointer

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 20, 2000
Messages
18,109
Location
Indiana
Pointer... are you afraid of the dark? :D

IMO, grizzly bears are really non issue, especially the first day or two after a kill. It takes a day or three for the carcass to start stinking to attract them. If you leave a carcass and come back the next day approach it up wind, make noise and hopefully its in an area where you can see it well. I generally put a 8-10' stick with a game bag tied to the end of it as a "flag" in the carcass, that way I know if the flag is down something has been on it.

I'd be much more worried about walking up on a griz in the dark on the hike out, than having one come in on me while I was working on a critter. I can't say that I've ever heard a credible story of a bear running a hunter off an animal they killed, day or night. On Kodiak they will come into gun shots occasionally, but again, not sure they will actually "run" the hunter off a deer kill. I don't think they're that bold... they get shot. And are also regularly hunted there, they do have a fear of humans.
Touche! Not really scared of the dark, but don't especially like working on any animal if I can keep from it by headlamp. The flag idea is a good one. I can see why I count plants and you're an engineer.

The one time I was on Kodiak I didn't really even give the bears a second thought. 'Course it was September, the salmon were running, and we spent most of our time near/above timberline. Guess I'll just go with that attitude this time. Appreciate the perspective.
 
Top