CA bear taste disgusting?

SG25

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Anyone here ever hunted bear in California? Was talking to a group of guys at the bow shop the other day and they said California bear taste disgusting. Wondering if it was most likely improper care of the meat or if anyone else has experienced this with CA bear. Thanks!
 

wllm1313

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Anyone here ever hunted bear in California? Was talking to a group of guys at the bow shop the other day and they said California bear taste disgusting. Wondering if it was most likely improper care of the meat or if anyone else has experienced this with CA bear. Thanks!
There is a ton of variability in bear meat, a lot of it depends on what the bear has been eating. If the bear has been eating acorns, berries, grass, etc it should eat well... salmon, rotting cow, etc it’s gonna be terrible. So far I’ve had good luck with spring bears, all of them were eating grass. Fall I think is more variable. CA bears won’t be better or worse than anywhere else.
 

Khunter

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My utah bear, just harvested last week is great, even after a 5 mile chase with hounds...
 
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wllm1313

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I've eaten 3 or 4 different California bears. Nothing wrong with them.

Growing up in NorCal I found that the same people who claim bear doesn't taste good claim pronghorn doesn't taste good. I suspect they're just bad cooks.
Lol things people have told me taste bad; deer, moose, bear, pronghorn, lobster, duck, sharp cheese, Stilton cheese, Ethiopian food, pho, IPAs, sours... basically pretty much any beer that’s stronger than 5% and has a label that isn’t red white and/or blue.

There is no accounting for taste...
 

WyoDoug

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Anyone here ever hunted bear in California? Was talking to a group of guys at the bow shop the other day and they said California bear taste disgusting. Wondering if it was most likely improper care of the meat or if anyone else has experienced this with CA bear. Thanks!
Fall bear can have pretty strong taste especially if the bear has been eating a lot of rotting fish or carrion or viscera left behind by human hunters. Spring bear usually feed on a lot of grass and berries. However, beyond that, most of it in my experience is proper care of the meat, getting it cleaned and cooled as quickly as possible. California has pretty hot temperatures during the hunting seasons I was involved in while stationed in the Marine Corps. You only have minutes there most of the time to get meat taken care of and into coolers Night time temps there in the fall ranges between 40 and 70 least at the southern half. I did some bird dogging helping out a fellow deer hunter buddy I served with on Camp Pendleton and early in the morning we were sweating, wearing t-shirts or a light jacket when it cooled a bit with the mandatory orange. I talked him into taking a large cooler full of ice we got from the mess hall and glad we did. I quartered it up (small deer in California too) and we got it in on 54qt cooler. The meat had no gamey taste and he was surprised by that. Almost same effect on bear, except with bear, you want to remove as much of the fat as you can on fall bear especially because that is where the most gamey taste comes from, along with the silver skin, glands and tendons. However, bear fat can still be rendered into grease and used for frying where deer fat can't. But if the fat is slimey like jelly, I would get rid of it. Again though, there is a huge difference in a spring and fall bear because of what they eat. My great grandpa used to tell me about using bear fat to burn in the oil lamps they had back in his days. Only bear I have ever shot was a spring bear and didn't taste anything like what I was told it would be. Got it in an area in north part of of Fresno which is now developed and no hunting allowed that I know of. Back then it was on a ranch I had permission to shoot on.
 

SG25

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If the bear has been eating acorns, berries, grass, etc it should eat well... salmon, rotting cow, etc it’s gonna be terrible.
The only food source I have found is acorns and grass where I have seen all of the bear, so that’s reassuring.
 

Khunter

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My utah bear, just harvested last week is great, even after a 5 mile chase with hounds... what is crazy about Utah is there is no requirement to harvest any of the meat. I think that is a terrible policy and just LOOKS BAD to non hunters
 

brnsvllyjohn

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I have had bear meat from about 6 bears killed in Ca. Not a huge sample size but enough to have an opinion. I have not had any gamey tasting or "bad" bear meat yet. The bears were all taken in the Sierras in the fall during deer season. They ranged from 150 pounds to well over 400 pounds. We are very careful with our bear meat and cool it ASAP. I also will not continue hunting deer once I have a bear on the ground until the bear is back home and in a cooler or freezer. I will also not shoot a bear that I cannot retrieve in a few hours. I pass on a lot of bears in deer season.
I was told for years and years the same thing about big boar hogs taken in the hot time of the year. I have also never had a bad hog and some were well over 200 pounds and killed on 100 degree days. Getting them cooled immediately possibly made all the difference and I have had a lot more wild hog meat than bear meat. There must be a few out there that tasted bad for some reason but I haven't had any yet. Maybe if you shoot a hog or a bear that is eating garbage they taste bad but all of mine have been in the wild and not near a location where garbage was available.
 

wllm1313

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Getting them cooled immediately possibly made all the difference.
100% agree, I think a lot of guys shoot a bear, go get the truck throw it in the back and drive around for half a day showing their buddies and bs-ing. I always skin and quarter the bear in the field so the hides off immediately.
 

SG25

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I have had bear meat from about 6 bears killed in Ca. Not a huge sample size but enough to have an opinion. I have not had any gamey tasting or "bad" bear meat yet. The bears were all taken in the Sierras in the fall during deer season. They ranged from 150 pounds to well over 400 pounds. We are very careful with our bear meat and cool it ASAP. I also will not continue hunting deer once I have a bear on the ground until the bear is back home and in a cooler or freezer. I will also not shoot a bear that I cannot retrieve in a few hours. I pass on a lot of bears in deer season.
I was told for years and years the same thing about big boar hogs taken in the hot time of the year. I have also never had a bad hog and some were well over 200 pounds and killed on 100 degree days. Getting them cooled immediately possibly made all the difference and I have had a lot more wild hog meat than bear meat. There must be a few out there that tasted bad for some reason but I haven't had any yet. Maybe if you shoot a hog or a bear that is eating garbage they taste bad but all of mine have been in the wild and not near a location where garbage was available.
That’s where I will be hunting in the Sierras so that’s good to hear! Thank you!
 

SG25

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100% agree, I think a lot of guys shoot a bear, go get the truck throw it in the back and drive around for half a day showing their buddies and bs-ing. I always skin and quarter the bear in the field so the hides off immediately.
Yea I don’t know anyone up where I live so I don’t have to worry about that lol.
 

Khunter

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100% agree, I think a lot of guys shoot a bear, go get the truck throw it in the back and drive around for half a day showing their buddies and bs-ing. I always skin and quarter the bear in the field so the hides off immediately.

I think you are confused with some in the rifle antelope hunting community....LOL
 
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