NC or TN bear hunt

nhn2a

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Feb 2, 2016
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Has anyone on here done a black bear hunt in NC or TN? I've had a black bear hunt on my bucket list for a few years and am hoping to pull the trigger on doing one this year. I have a lifetime hunting license in TN and am currently a NC resident so both of those states are good choices from a travel cost and tag perspective.

I've read a lot of conversation about how NC coast has some really nice bear but only found a few outfitters that offer black bear hunts. They are either guaranteed and cost over $7500 or have very low opportunity under 40%. For this much money I would just do a Canada hunt for half the price but I'd really like to do something local so I can get the meat and hide home for a lot cheaper and easier. I've also considered a DIY hunt but from what I've read, the odds drop to under 10% if you don't have dogs which I don't. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

VAspeedgoat

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I'm kinda in the same boat. I have looked at Maine some. It would be over bait or by hound for a guided hunt. There are some places that do a self guided hunt over bait. Not really self guided but you handle all the food, travel and pick your stands. They provide two bait sites and a cabin. Tag is cheap and the diy hunts look to be around 1500 per, but I think that is expecting a group. I will be paying attention to this thread to see replies.
 

slipinonem

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TN will be tough unless you have hounds. I was born and raised in east TN and everyone I know who hunts and takes bears does so with hounds. A few are killed out of stands during deer season in the NF areas but the majority are taken with hounds. Some good bears get killed every year though in E TN. 600 pounders aren't common but there have been several taken in the past couple of years. 200-250 lbs is average, heck 75 lbs is the minimum I think, and 350-450 pounders are taken every year.
 

nhn2a

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I'm kinda in the same boat. I have looked at Maine some. It would be over bait or by hound for a guided hunt. There are some places that do a self guided hunt over bait. Not really self guided but you handle all the food, travel and pick your stands. They provide two bait sites and a cabin. Tag is cheap and the diy hunts look to be around 1500 per, but I think that is expecting a group. I will be paying attention to this thread to see replies.

I've looked at Maine also. Although I haven't ruled it out, I figure if I'm going to travel that far from NC I might as well go to Canada where I can do a guided hunt for around $3K. I think one of the biggest problems here is most of the bear are in bear sanctuaries and the land around them is all privately owned which gives little access to those not from the local area or going through a guide.
 

nhn2a

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TN will be tough unless you have hounds. I was born and raised in east TN and everyone I know who hunts and takes bears does so with hounds. A few are killed out of stands during deer season in the NF areas but the majority are taken with hounds. Some good bears get killed every year though in E TN. 600 pounders aren't common but there have been several taken in the past couple of years. 200-250 lbs is average, heck 75 lbs is the minimum I think, and 350-450 pounders are taken every year.

I'm from East TN also (Spring City, TN) and have seen most of the same. I did try to do a semi-guided bear hunt in Gatlinburg, TN a couple of years ago but it was a blind sit hunt. After 5 days of all day sitting, I saw nothing. I'm not too concerned with size although I'm not looking at shooting anything under 200lbs.

Just hoping for some advice on either good outfitters or things to do to increase the odds. Given the odds of still hunting is so low in TN and NC, I've been surprised that I cant seem to find any outfitters that do run dogs.
 

slipinonem

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Have you thought of applying with a group on one of the party hunts? I'm from Ocoee originally.
 

nhn2a

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Have you thought of applying with a group on one of the party hunts? I'm from Ocoee originally.

Are you referring to the Permit Hunting Opportunities in NC? If so, I honestly just stumbled upon that this week. It looks like there are some that the party minimum size is 1 so I could apply by myself. I'm definitely considering it but I haven't found any posts on here or elsewhere where someone talks about their success with one of these types of hunts. Just not sure what to expect.
 

maxx

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I've looked at Maine also. Although I haven't ruled it out, I figure if I'm going to travel that far from NC I might as well go to Canada where I can do a guided hunt for around $3K. I think one of the biggest problems here is most of the bear are in bear sanctuaries and the land around them is all privately owned which gives little access to those not from the local area or going through a guide.

Depending on where in Canada you go and what your expectations you can do guided for much less than 3k.

My dad and I did one two years ago. We got the father and son rate of 1800 for the two of us. This included lodging and 2 bait sites per person. We had to bring food, license, gas all that stuff.

It was a terrible week to hunt bears, temps were in the 80 except the last two days. I never saw a bear, only guy in camp. My old man shot a 290lb boar. He shot it with a rifle but had he used a bow I am pretty sure it would have made Pope and Young. It had a huge melon.
 

genesis273

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I have hunted bear here in NC, and we have some whoppers at the coast. I wouldn't put much into the Permit Hunting Opportunities. You could kill a bear going that route, but odds are extremely low. The problem with the coast of NC is, which is why it's a haven for huge bears, is that it's thick!!!. Saying that to say, I'm not much into it, but hunting with someone with dogs is the most successful way to kill a big bear in those thick swamps. A DIY hunt down there is doable, but very difficult.
When I was there last Nov, I seen six bears that weighed over 500 lbs, on scales, taken with dogs. I went back for a few days in Dec and a kid (9-10 yo) killed one a couple days after I came home that weighed 649 lbs. All with dogs. I elected to not hunt with dogs, and came home empty. I don't have a problem with that style, but just not for me.
 
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nhn2a

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Depending on where in Canada you go and what your expectations you can do guided for much less than 3k.

My dad and I did one two years ago. We got the father and son rate of 1800 for the two of us. This included lodging and 2 bait sites per person. We had to bring food, license, gas all that stuff.

It was a terrible week to hunt bears, temps were in the 80 except the last two days. I never saw a bear, only guy in camp. My old man shot a 290lb boar. He shot it with a rifle but had he used a bow I am pretty sure it would have made Pope and Young. It had a huge melon.

Can you PM me who you used?
 

nhn2a

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I have hunted bear here in NC, and we have some whoppers at the coast. I wouldn't put much into the Permit Hunting Opportunities. You could kill a bear going that route, but odds are extremely low. The problem with the coast of NC is, which is why it's a haven for huge bears, is that it's thick!!!. Saying that to say, I'm not much into it, but hunting with someone with dogs is the most successful way to kill a big bear in those thick swamps. A DIY hunt down there is doable, but very difficult.
When I was there last Nov, I seen six bears that weighed over 500 lbs, on scales, taken with dogs. I went back for a few days in Dec and a kid (9-10 yo) killed one a couple days after I came home that weighed 649 lbs. All with dogs. I elected to not hunt with dogs, and came home empty. I don't have a problem with that style, but just not for me.

I'd prefer to do it by either stalking or still hunting myself; however, I also don't want to use the limited time I have hunting in vain if the likelihood of me seeing a bear is pretty nonexistent. Does anyone know of any outfitters around the NC coast that uses dogs?
 

slipinonem

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Are you referring to the Permit Hunting Opportunities in NC? If so, I honestly just stumbled upon that this week. It looks like there are some that the party minimum size is 1 so I could apply by myself. I'm definitely considering it but I haven't found any posts on here or elsewhere where someone talks about their success with one of these types of hunts. Just not sure what to expect.

No, the TN party hunts they do in Ocoee and Tellico units. Usually have to know the locals to get in on their party applications though.
 

Tikka06

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Aug 6, 2015
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East Tennessee
I live right between Tellico and Ocoee. Like you said, gettting in on the party hunts is next to impossible unless you know one of the party. However, I have heard there may be a bear added to the rifle deer/boar hunt in the Cherokee NF this year. Dont know how true that is though. If that had been the case, I would have taken 3 bears while deer hunting Tellico in the last 15 yrs. Still horrible odds. Gotta admit it, around here you gotta run em with hounds. Plus, by the time the rifle deer hunt rolls around, there have already been a couple of bear dog hunts and the bears are scattered. If you do decide to do it, seems like the bigger bears have been coming out of South Cherokee/Ocoee the last few yrs.
 

tarheel

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I'd prefer to do it by either stalking or still hunting myself; however, I also don't want to use the limited time I have hunting in vain if the likelihood of me seeing a bear is pretty nonexistent. Does anyone know of any outfitters around the NC coast that uses dogs?

Let me see what I can scare up for you on another forum and a couple of contacts I have down East.
 

genesis273

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This outfitter is the most highly recommended by the rank and file hunters down East.

http://conmans.homestead.com/

Although I've never hunted with Mike (Conman), and by the way, the name Conman comes from: first 3 letters is the first three letters of his wife's name, and the rest is Mikes initials, but have known him for many years. He doesn't dog hunt, but does have alot of land with agricultural field and swamps...and tons of BIG bears. All hunts are from stands. I don't do guided hunts, but I would definitely recommend him.
 

nhn2a

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Although I've never hunted with Mike (Conman), and by the way, the name Conman comes from: first 3 letters is the first three letters of his wife's name, and the rest is Mikes initials, but have known him for many years. He doesn't dog hunt, but does have alot of land with agricultural field and swamps...and tons of BIG bears. All hunts are from stands. I don't do guided hunts, but I would definitely recommend him.

Thanks for explaining that because my first reaction when I saw the name "Conman" made me a little curious if I should even click the link :) I'll take a look.
 

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