First MT Black Bear


New member
Sep 1, 2015
Bozeman, MT
I headed out opening morning of deer/elk rifle season this year looking for an elk in the same place I got my bull on opening morning last year (first elk ever for me). Just like last year, I came close during archery season but I couldn't get everything to come together to get one with my bow. Just like last year, there were elk right where I had hoped and found them in the past. We found a group of about 15-20 cows with 1-2 bulls coming up a draw from feeding on flat ground the night before. I got a little anxious and probably spooked them by moving in too fast. I had my wife move over top of them and when I caught up to her she was not very pleased with me as she said the entire herd thundered by her at about 80 yards at a full sprint and she never saw more than the brown of their asses as they flew by her. My bad for sure. We moved over to another draw and I spotted a black spot about 800 yards away. I thought it was a black bear but wasn't sure. We moved down to about 300 yards and confirmed it was a black bear, alone, resting under a bush. It was an odd place for a bear to be, in my opinion, but I had a tag and have never killed one before. As I tried to get in a spot where I could take a shot I snuck down about another 75-80 yards when I looked back to see my wife waving her arms back and forth above her head. I didn't need to read her lips to know she was saying, "BULL". She pointed further up the draw and at about 640 yards was a nice 5x5 bull feeding by himself.
I immediately abandoned my move on the bear and headed further up the draw to get a chance at him. Turns out the bull was not alone. Again, I got a little excited walking through the timber and got busted by 8 or 9 cows still bedded down. Game over. I tried to track them down but never could.
My motto for the past few years has been, "Archery season is for antlers, rifle season is for meat". So come rifle season, if I see a cow I'm going to shoot it as I am always more proud of the meat I get from an animal than the antlers or horns (although they do make me feel pretty good!)
After I blew that mission, I headed back to see if the bear was still there. I dropped my pack and had to quietly scale down a small rock face to get in position. At about 60 yards the bear stood up and slowly ambled off. He stopped and slightly turned, and as he was quartering away I put my crosshairs just behind his front shoulder and fired. I went back to where I dropped off my pack and my wife was excitedly waiting for me. We found him about 30 yards away from where I shot. I had to put a second round in him to put him down quickly, and for good, and it was all over. I got my first black bear. It was a boar, and the wildlife biologist guessed him to be 2-3 years old. He won't set any records, but he's a beautiful bear and I was thrilled to be able to fill that tag on my first day with a rifle this year. I'm sure the steaks and summer sausage will be great and the rug I am having made will be a great memory. I don't have a burning desire to shoot another one any time soon, but I am really excited about being able to take this bear. His coat was awesome and I'm looking forward to getting his skull and hide/rug back from the taxidermist.


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Active member
Jul 14, 2015
That's awesome! I would love to take a bear, but never saw a bear in my unit here in CO until this year's archery season. Congrats

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