Black Bear Hunting for a New Hunter

SCCWP

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Apr 12, 2024
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Upstate South Carolina
I have never been hunting but a dream of mine is to go on a guided black bear hunt in NC. I have been shooting all my life whether in the military or as a SWAT officer and just for fun. I am a pretty good shot. The only thing is at the moment I only own a new Ruger made Marlin 1894 in .44 magnum with a 20 inch barrel. I was wondering would this be adequate for black bear? If not what should I buy for this hunt. I would like to go next year when I get my tax refund. I can buy a new rifle that’s not a problem. Black bear, elk and mountain lion are the only types of hunting I’m interested in so the rifle would be pulling triple duty. My first goal is the black bear hunt then maybe the other two. I have a book on black bear hunting that I am currently reading. It just seems like it would be so much fun. The guided hunt I’m looking at is with hounds. Thanks for and advice or help you can give on this subject.
 
I'm sure the .44 mag would do you just fine at short ranges for bear over hounds, but if you're looking to expand your hunting ventures and range, I would invest in a new rifle, the standards should work fine for you, 308, 30-06, 270, 7mm-08, etc., just practice and pick a good bullet. Bear hunting can become addicting by the way, good luck.
 
I'm sure the .44 mag would do you just fine at short ranges for bear over hounds, but if you're looking to expand your hunting ventures and range, I would invest in a new rifle, the standards should work fine for you, 308, 30-06, 270, 7mm-08, etc., just practice and pick a good bullet. Bear hunting can become addicting by the way, good luck.
Yeah I was thinking of trying to go for shorter range but i still may pick up a new rifle. I like the 308. Thanks for the reply.
 
The limit on the 44 is mostly due to trajectory. 150 yards is practical. For longer range, a sporter version of whatever you use at work. .308 is never wrong.
 
The limit on the 44 is mostly due to trajectory. 150 yards is practical. For longer range, a sporter version of whatever you use at work. .308 is never wrong.
Thanks I’m actually retired now on disability. Got hurt and had to quit working. That’s the one thing I’m not sure about with hunting. Not sure I can keep up with hounds but I’m gonna try. The good thing is I get my 3 year hunting license free (SC license). I’ve always loved the .308 but I had a bolt action 300 Win Mag that I used to love shooting and still have ammo for. Shouldn’t have sold that one. I’d like to get another one of those if that would work for what I want.
 
Do a baited black bear hunt. Your 44 is perfect for this setup.
I have given that’s some thought but the place I was looking at doing the guided hunt with do hounds. I’m gonna start looking for others though. They are in NC which would be a lot easier on my wallet but I’m sure there’s someone who does it over bait. Thanks for the tip.
 
A 44 will work fine for bears as long as its not a long shot. If I was doing a guided hunt for bears I'd go to Maine. I know its a lot farther from SC, but the bear hunting up there is awesome and the country is beautiful. Many of those lodges run around 100% every year on shot opportunity because there are tons of bears. It's also one of the cheaper places to go for a guided bear hunt. I know a guide up there that is darn good if you're interested.

If you want to go cheap SC has a good bear population and you can do that every year. I've killed a couple on public land in the Jocassee gorges. If you already live in the upstate its not a far drive for you. Bear tag in SC is $25 for a resident and there's lots of public land. Still hunting season is Oct 17-23rd and dog season is 24-31st. If you can make a friend with some dogs you can do a dog hunt for the cost of a tag and some gas.
 
I live in new mexico and have hunted all 3 of those species. Yeah a 44 mag will do just fine. If you are willing to buy something, there is lots of options. My personal suggestion is a .308 great all around caliber. Easy to find ammo anywhere you go. Worst thing is if your away from home and need ammo but can't find what you shoot anywhere close. Nephew has taken several elk bulls and cows with the 308 and never let us down. Never shot a bear with a rifle as I hunted archery. Mountain lion 308 will be great maybe even a bit overpowered. Used a 22-250 on mine and was a perfect round for that. 308 is very versatile I've loaded 125gr bullets for coues and mule deer hunts, taken coyotes with them also. Usually load around 150gr or a 165 gr for elk. Great having access to bullets from 80 gr all the way to 210 gr. I would try staying away from super popular newer cartridges, especially if you don't reload. My friend learned last years after sighting in his 6.5 creed couldn't find that specific ammo anywhere near here. Ended up buying some from someone, but he paid double the cost. It's so popular especially here that it's impossible to find the ammo during hunting season.
 
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A 44 will work fine for bears as long as its not a long shot. If I was doing a guided hunt for bears I'd go to Maine. I know its a lot farther from SC, but the bear hunting up there is awesome and the country is beautiful. Many of those lodges run around 100% every year on shot opportunity because there are tons of bears. It's also one of the cheaper places to go for a guided bear hunt. I know a guide up there that is darn good if you're interested.

If you want to go cheap SC has a good bear population and you can do that every year. I've killed a couple on public land in the Jocassee gorges. If you already live in the upstate its not a far drive for you. Bear tag in SC is $25 for a resident and there's lots of public land. Still hunting season is Oct 17-23rd and dog season is 24-31st. If you can make a friend with some dogs you can do a dog hunt for the cost of a tag and some gas.
Looked into some guided hunts in Maine and they are actually cheaper than the one I found in NC and the hunts are over bait. I didn’t know we had that much of a bear population in SC. Good to know I will check those out also. Jocassee isn’t far from me at all. I also have to check out GA as I live 21 miles from the state line near the mountains.
 
Looked into some guided hunts in Maine and they are actually cheaper than the one I found in NC and the hunts are over bait. I didn’t know we had that much of a bear population in SC. Good to know I will check those out also. Jocassee isn’t far from me at all. I also have to check out GA as I live 21 miles from the state line near the mountains.
Lots of bears up there in Oconee too and lots of public land.
 
NC is reknown for bigguns. On my list, too, but I want a coastal stand hunt. Faulkner-esque.

Just read an article on baited bear hunts near Myrtle Beach. That's new to me!
 
Reconnected with my best childhood friend who is an avid hunter and he is going to get me in on a group bear hunt here in SC he does every year. He said he’s taken over 30 black bears in SC. Can’t wait until fall. I’m gonna buy another 300 win mag like I had before. I really liked that rifle and it was very accurate. Got my hunting license in the mail today. Now all I have to do is buy the bear tag for $25.
 
Just got on the list for a group bear hunt my friend goes on every year. I’m super excited but not sure how a group hunt works. Will get more info from him when I talk to him again.
 
Louisiana is doing a 10 person lottery hunt this year for black bear. There will be a lot of people putting in for the hunt.
 
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