Black Bear Rookie

DK27

New member
Joined
Mar 2, 2019
Messages
15
Hey there,

My name is DK. I am relatively new to hunt talk but I really like the site. Thanks for having me with you all!

I wanted to ask and see if anyone would be willing to share knowledge or resources regarding how to harvest the skin and meat from a black bear once it's killed. I've done some research on my own but I honestly haven't found anything that really helps.

Also, I could use some tips and advice on how to have the meat processed. Other than bratwurst, I really don't know what I should do for bear meat

If anyone is willing and able to shed some light in this regard I would be truly greatfull for your help!

Thanks,

DK
 

NEWHunter

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Joined
Jul 15, 2018
Messages
177
Location
Brookfield, WI
Assuming you’re going to rug it, the first thing to do would be locate a taxidermist that you like. The shape of a bear rug can vary significantly depending on where you make your cuts. They can tell you where to cut to get the shape you’re looking for. Be very careful with the cut up the belly as you’ll definitely see it if you’re off center or cut crooked.

Once down, you should get after bears quickly. Get the hide off and quarter it up just like anything else. Getting the fat off the meat can help it cool. In my experience, leaving the fat on won’t affect the taste of the meat. We then trim and discard the fat when processing. Although on my next bear I will likely try and figure out how to utilize the fat as some people do with great success.

We usually take a few roasts out of the bear and then grind the rest. We grind it all straight with nothing added. Makes the best hamburgers ever. Works good in chili, tacos, lasagna, etc. - where the meat is cooked to done. Be sure and cook bear meat to done due to trichinosis - one of the reasons we don’t do steaks.
 

Sask hunter

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Sep 20, 2016
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526
I turn all my bear into various form of sausages. IMO fall bears are much better eating then spring. Spring bears can be hit or miss hence why all mine become sausage
 

Ajax2744

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Feb 8, 2018
Messages
165
Location
Northern Colorado
The biggest problem we have with bears are if the hunter doesn't remove as much fat from the hide as possible. Once you get the hide off try to get as much fat off as possible and then let it cool off before you role it up and pack it out. If you trap heat in the hide it will spoil and hair will slip. Bear hide is very thin so it doesn't take much to spoil. Once you get off the mountain get the hide into a freezer as fast as you can. You actually can find field skinning instruction charts online pretty easy if you Google it.
 

EYJONAS!

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Mar 17, 2017
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745
The biggest problem we have with bears are if the hunter doesn't remove as much fat from the hide as possible. Once you get the hide off try to get as much fat off as possible and then let it cool off before you role it up and pack it out. If you trap heat in the hide it will spoil and hair will slip. Bear hide is very thin so it doesn't take much to spoil. Once you get off the mountain get the hide into a freezer as fast as you can. You actually can find field skinning instruction charts online pretty easy if you Google it.
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I'm not an expert but have been apart of a successful bear hunts. I haven't ever come across one instant spoiling or slipping. Curious as to where your hunting at? I have seen guys kill a bear and not salt it for a couple days and they still turn out ok.

To the OP unless you take some chart or you have a hell of a memory your not gonna remember any video or diagram that you studied beforehand, you'll be so jacked and full of adrenaline. Best advice I could pass along is take your time and make one cut mirror the opposite side. That way your rug matches. Good Luck.
 

Ajax2744

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Feb 8, 2018
Messages
165
Location
Northern Colorado
I'm a taxidermist and do quite a few bears a year. And yes most of them turn out great but when we have one that comes in that is spoiled it typically is because it was not skinned quick enough or not allowed to cool down. Fat just helps keep it warm so I was saying as general advice to get the fat off and cool it down as quick as possible and I can guarantee there won't be any problems.
 

EYJONAS!

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Joined
Mar 17, 2017
Messages
745
I'm a taxidermist and do quite a few bears a year. And yes most of them turn out great but when we have one that comes in that is spoiled it typically is because it was not skinned quick enough or not allowed to cool down. Fat just helps keep it warm so I was saying as general advice to get the fat off and cool it down as quick as possible and I can guarantee there won't be any problems.
Very good tip thanks for the info was just curious more than anything, a guy sure would hate to see any animal spoil because of something so simple.
 

JdGoodhart

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Joined
Feb 14, 2019
Messages
60
Location
Pennsylvania
I shot a smaller fall bear last year and kept a lot of it in bone in roasts and it has been delicious. I do all of them in the crockpot low and slow. I season them with whatever seasonings I'm feeling, get a cast iron skillet really hot and get a nice thick sear on it. Fill the crockpot with beef stock and vegetables. Usually, cook it 6 hours or more until its fork tender. I've also used this method and pulled the meat to make tacos, which are delicious as well. Good Luck!
 

Losing_Sanity

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Jan 30, 2019
Messages
227
These guys have already stressed field care and cleaning, but another thing to remember is bear is in the pork family and can carry trichinosis. Bear is some of the best tasting meat, in my opinion, and if cook thoroughly you will have no problems. Nothing will end your affection for the meat like getting sick. That said...

Breakfast burritos with bear breakfast sausage is the best! It is a tradition in our camp to have breakfast burritos during family camping trips. I generally let the butcher make up the sausage.
 

DK27

New member
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Mar 2, 2019
Messages
15
I truly appreciate everyone's feedback. Thank you all. Keep the knowledge and information flowing
 

thusby

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Apr 2, 2019
Messages
79
The tricky thing with bear is exactly what was said above. The threat of trichinosis means you are cooking your bear to a 145 degrees to kill it off. That just means that you don't get to do the chops to that beautiful mid-rare that you do on the ungulates. I will usually turn a good portion of the meat into summer sausage. Burger is great for tacos and chili. Bear roasts are really underrated, these turn out fantastic. There are a lot of really good recipes for bear steaks in the slow cooker as well. I like to pound the steaks flat and use them to wrap up a bunch of vegetables using kitchen twine and then pour on some marina. Serve that over noodles and it will blow your mind.
 

scubohuntr

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Mar 30, 2018
Messages
155
Location
Montana
Bear, when properly taken care of, is some of the finest game meat there is. It is nothing like pork at all, but as has been mentioned, there is some risk of trichinosis. Any carnivorous or omnivorous animal may carry trich. Hank Shaw has an excellent article on trichinosis on his website. The main thing to remember is to get that hide off as soon as possible. Particularly in a fall bear, get as much fat off as you can right away too. Save the fat for rendering later. Get your bear hung up and cooling within a couple of hours, and you will get some great meat for the freezer. Bear burgers are outstanding, and bear roasts are delicious. One thing to be aware of is that raw bear smells entirely different from raw venison or beef. Not bad, just different. Don't let it scare you, once it is cooked it tastes a lot like really good beef, only better. I just process them the same as deer- no bones, no fat, large muscles left intact, trim the grinding meat very carefully to get all sinews and fascia out.

For the hide, make as few cuts as possible. Talk to several taxidermists beforehand for helpful tips, and whether you should salt the hide. Try not to leave much fat on the hide, don't try to skin out paws or head unless you really, really know what you are doing. Get it cold right away and keep it cold.
 

wllm1313

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Dec 9, 2015
Messages
3,662
Location
Aurora, CO
Try not to leave much fat on the hide, don't try to skin out paws or head unless you really, really know what you are doing.
People always say this but I'm not sure where it comes from... I had always heard it and until my bear this spring had always shied away from the head and paws. I actually found the head to be super simple, turning the ears took 5 min and was very straight forward. Doing the paws when you are initially taking off the hide saves you a ton of time, and is way easier than messing with the wrist. Honestly, most people are doing rugs and it seems like it would be pretty difficult to jack up the paws for a rug... you don't keep the pads for a rug. I can see maybe making mistakes on the paws that would make a full or shoulder mount with arms difficult to do. I think from now own I will take skulls out in the field as well, buy doing so you can fold up the hide tighter to fit it in a game bag and then just place the skull on top, plus you can remove some meat from the skull and save 3lbs of weight... and on a pack out every oz counts.

I think this is one of those pronghorn meat tastes bad things... one guy who really didn't know what he was doing, had only gotten whitetails out whole and taken them to a butcher, struggled skinning a bear... his first critter to skin period, and then told all his friends and it just kinda became a thing. Then Rinella said it on 3 meateater episodes and it became gospel.
 
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