Yeti

Solo black bear hunting

Danger_Denver

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Mar 28, 2020
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Hey all,

I am a newer hunter, and have yet to harvest my first big game animal. My sources for learning are podcasts and YouTube.

I will have Colorado OTC archery elk and bear tags this September, and for part of the season I will be solo hunting. I want to prioritize my bear tag with habitat selection, and would love to have a rug if I harvest a bear. I have been watching how-to videos on field dressing and skinning a bear in the field. Other than the slim chance of me harvest the animal next to my truck, it seems like a daunting task skinning and retrieving a bear solo in the September heat. Am I biting off more than I can chew trying to do this solo for my first big game animal? Any recommendations for retrieving if I’m miles from my truck?

Thanks for any advice!
 

Dsnow9

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Get the meat quartered out and hung in a shady breezy place first and then do a quick flesh on the hide. When folded up flesh to flesh. Depending on how far back you are I would hike through the night if you have to making trips to get it out. If it’s going to be longer than that, probably can’t keep the hide folded up that long without letting it cool. Just have to be strategic about it.
 

DouglasR

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Does bear spoil quicker than a deer or elk because of a more insulating coat?
Once you get the hide off is it the same as a deer as far as time until the meat spoils?
 

DouglasR

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Bears have a pretty thin hide and fur compared to deer and especially elk. They cool down faster than an elk.
So does the hide spoil really quickly or should the op be more concerned about how in the hell he’s gonna make 4 trips out with 50lbs if he gets an elk?
 

MTLabrador

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So does the hide spoil really quickly or should the op be more concerned about how in the hell he’s gonna make 4 trips out with 50lbs if he gets an elk?
It doesn’t spoil fast, but like @Dsnow9 said, I wouldn’t roll it up while it’s still hot and leave it that way either. I wouldn’t worry about packing out an elk on a 70 plus degree day either.
 

Bambistew

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Go gutless and take half the hide off and meat at the same time. Leave the head and paws in the hide for speed... like other mentioned shad and cool spot, near a creek is best.

I wouldn't worry about fleshing or dealing with the hide just get it off the mountain and into a freezer or ice chest asap same as meat. Odds are you'll get 70-100lbs of meat off a bear. Two trips and you're done, hide and meat. The hide could be 30 to 60ish lbs though depending on size or if it's wet etc.

You could possibly get it all out in one trip.

For elk phone a friend to help pack. I would really recommend a NB breakdown an elk alone. It's a lot of work but doable with experience. Bring a tarp and lots of game bags. Good luck!
 

DouglasR

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Not trying to throw shade here.
genuinely wondering why the op would be concerned about getting a bear out of he’s attempting to solo an elk.

also, @Danger_Denver
Just to be clear I’m a rookie hunter too.
based on my experiences that meat will stay “good” “edible”
For a long time.
I got lucky on an elk a couple years ago.
Shot him at sundown opening day when it was like 85 degrees.
found him the next day at like noon.
didn’t get done cutting until sundown, carried out a rear q and came back the next day for the rest of what my inexperienced ass had sloppily hacked off the bull.
It all got hotter than F**k but ate pretty well.

Just don’t panic, get it hanging in the shade and get it out ASAP.

and by “hotter than f**k I mean flat ass gross.
flies and bees everywhere.
 

Danger_Denver

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So does the hide spoil really quickly or should the op be more concerned about how in the hell he’s gonna make 4 trips out with 50lbs if he gets an elk?
My thinking with elk v. bear spoilage, is the areas I elk hunt are 2k higher than the scrub oak areas I’ll be bear hunting. So the temp difference lower elevation will cut down my time. Also, skinning the bear hide with the precision for a rug seems tedious and difficult with one person. Referencing cut patterns and not getting nics in the hide. I’ll have a cow tag for elk and don’t care about the cape. Seems much quicker to get the hide off and start cooling if I’m not worried about precise cuts or cutting holes in the hide.
 

MTLabrador

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Go gutless and take half the hide off and meat at the same time. Leave the head and paws in the hide for speed... like other mentioned shad and cool spot, near a creek is best.

I wouldn't worry about fleshing or dealing with the hide just get it off the mountain and into a freezer or ice chest asap same as meat. Odds are you'll get 70-100lbs of meat off a bear. Two trips and you're done, hide and meat. The hide could be 30 to 60ish lbs though depending on size or if it's wet etc.

You could possibly get it all out in one trip.

For elk phone a friend to help pack. I would really recommend a NB breakdown an elk alone. It's a lot of work but doable with experience. Bring a tarp and lots of game bags. Good luck!
I saw an old thread on warm weather meat care that you did a long time ago, and it was some really good stuff. For the OP, if you can find it, it has some great information.
 

MTLabrador

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Bambistew

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Bears are easy, because they lay on their back pretty easily compared to an elk. Make the first cuts up the body and legs and just peal it off from there.

Don't try to make cutnin the hide but it's not really tedious, per-say. Taxidermist have thread and needles, and as long as it's all there it's not the end of the world.

You're ahead of the game but doing the research. Shame you don't have a mentor or partner to go along. Even if you're both novices, you can learn together.

I shot and skinned my first bear solo when I was 15. It's not rocket science you got this!

Keep it all as clean as possible. Moisture and dirt are vectors for spoilage. Get good game bags, not the chepo cheese cloth type. Flies will be thick. You have 3 days from eggs to maggots. ;)
 

Danger_Denver

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Bears are easy, because they lay on their back pretty easily compared to an elk. Make the first cuts up the body and legs and just peal it off from there.

Don't try to make cutnin the hide but it's not really tedious, per-say. Taxidermist have thread and needles, and as long as it's all there it's not the end of the world.

You're ahead of the game but doing the research. Shame you don't have a mentor or partner to go along. Even if you're both novices, you can learn together.

I shot and skinned my first bear solo when I was 15. It's not rocket science you got this!

Keep it all as clean as possible. Moisture and dirt are vectors for spoilage. Get good game bags, not the chepo cheese cloth type. Flies will be thick. You have 3 days from eggs to maggots. ;)
Appreciate all this, great info!

I agree, it is a shame I can't find a mentor! But I did manage to recruit a buddy to go with me part of the season. It'll be his first season and he's got a muley tag. I only work 1 week out of all September and he's battling PTO shortage. Se we'll go a couple long weekends together, but other than that I'll have a lot more time in the field availible for solo hunting. Going to elk country when we go together.
 

Danger_Denver

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This was a great post
 

Blacktail Addiction

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Oregon for now...
I shot my first bear in may and it was around 150 pounds. Skinned it for a rug and took it out all in one trip, short pack out all downhill 500 yards and not too steep. Second bear last week and twice the size, I had my sister for the packing part but killed it solo so we did it in two if I was alone I would have done it in 3. The hide and head was heavy that load sucked and weighed 70 pounds when I weighed it later. Then just 2 trips for quarters and fat and other goodies. That was a half mile all uphill and very steep so if you get a bear especially away from roads 2 or 3 trips alone is very doable. Make sure the meat stays cool that’s probably the most important thing. Solo black bear hunting is my favorite.
 

Danger_Denver

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If you think packing a bear out is daunting, wait till you get a elk on the ground.
Pack out all the Bear meat, you’ll enjoy it.
Yeah I think getting the hide off and meat broken down quickly in the heat is what seems daunting solo as a first timer. I really want to do a good enough job on the bear to make a rug, if I get an elk down the hide is staying out in the field so I can do it quicker without worrying about mistakes.
The pack out will be a task for sure, but I’ll go all night making trips if it means preserving the meat. Not sweating that aspect actually as much I guess because packing meat doesn’t take as much “know how” to get it done haha.
 

RevAda2008

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Oct 21, 2021
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Get the meat quartered out and hung in a shady breezy place first and then do a quick flesh on the hide. When folded up flesh to flesh. Depending on how far back you are I would hike through the night if you have to making trips to get it out. If it’s going to be longer than that, probably can’t keep the hide folded up that long without letting it cool. Just have to be strategic about it.
Is it preferable to salt it before you pack it out?
 

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