First Black Bear


Nov 18, 2020
In my mind, nothing signifies North American big game like the black bear. They can live just about anywhere, eat anything they want, are as tough as they get, and are always awe-inspiring once seen in the wild. For these reasons the black bear has been at the top of my list in regards to big game hunting. I have always dreamed of getting the opportunity to hunt one of these amazing animals and looked forward to sharing the woods with these guys at the very least.

My hunt began in the spring spending lots of time looking for food, scat, behavior patterns, etc. in a location that I felt gave me the best opportunity at punching a tag on a mature boar. Any weekend or off time that I had not filled with family time or fly fishing, I was in the woods with a pair binos filled with the hope of finding bear sign and maybe even laying eyes on a good boar.

My scouting missions provided eyes on lots of fresh scat and scrapes but I was never quite able to "catch up" to a bear. I did, however, have a good feel for the areas I would make a play on come August.

When opening week came, my buddy Mike and I selected a day that we could both wrap up work early and finally get out into the bear woods. Mike and I loaded our packs with enough snacks and water to hold over a group of 5 for several days and hit the trail. As we were hiking we began noticing lots of very fresh scat and decided it was time to jump off trail and dive into the forest after this bear towards food sources and scrapes that had previously been scouted.

As we were just cresting a small hill we heard a loud crashing sound about 40 yards in front of us, I turned to Mike and whispered "thats either a deer or a bear, get ready". We began creeping forward towards the direction the sound came from, trying our best not to make any noise. I peaked over the hill and to my surprise there was a bear! A beautiful chocolate bear was rolling around in a puddle, drinking water, and munching on grass. The bear was facing away from us so I could not see his face nor his whole body and had no way to judge his size but knew that it was a legal bear, and I was not going to pass this opportunity up. I turned to Mike and mouthed, "it's a bear, I'm going to shoot it". I chambered a round and shouldered my rifle only to notice that the scope cover was still on. I immediately threw the cover off which made a noise a little louder than expected, and the bear turned his head and looked right at us, and when I saw his head I knew this was exactly the kind of bear I had hoped to find. The bear turned away form us and as he did I threw the safety off and squeezed the trigger.

I will be forever grateful to Mike, this animal, and the opportunity I had to share the woods with them both.

I was blessed with the opportunity to harvest a beautiful chocolate black bear, fulfilling a life goal while spending some time in the woods with these amazing animals.


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Active member
Oct 23, 2020
Well done! As my name suggests, once I got my first black bear, I was hooked. Just dropped #7 this year and put my daughter onto her first. We'll be going to Maine next year for bear camp.

Be warned. Heroin is less addictive than bear hunting.


New member
Sep 18, 2019
Don't let silly little things like a job or family obligations get in your way. Go get that bear!
Hah! Thanks for the encouragement. I’ve carried bear tags into the elk and deer woods. I’ve come across plenty of fresh sign, and had a close encounter in a thick stand of berries in a steep remote canyon (heard the bear, but couldn’t get eyes on it). All of that has deepened my respect for the species. From this, I’ve concluded that it’s tough to take a bear as an “incidental” harvest. They are cunning enough that you have to make them your focus, and even then it’s a real challenge. Of course that my uneducated assessment, would welcome your take based on your experience with the species.

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