Compared to a decade ago, there are more states now offering Black Bear hunting seasons. Although baiting for bears is a common and effective management tool, not every bear state allows hunters to bait. If you live in one of these states or if you prefer not to bait, then there are two proven tactics that can help you tag your bear; spot-and-stalk and predator calling.
Spot-and-Stalk. It is what it is, spotting bears and stalking them. Before you can begin this hunting method, you will need to hunt in area with good bear numbers and you will need some good glass in the form of binoculars and a decent portable spotting scope.
This might seem like a daunting task if you are a new bear hunter or it is your first time going solo, but don’t let it be. You pay taxes, license fees and tariffs from the purchase of some sporting goods, so get the most return on your investment and solicit the knowledge of your local state game biologists. They work for you so have politely ask them to point you to areas that hold good populations of bears.
You can also ask local taxidermists or butchers where they think a good bear area would be. They might not give away the best hotspot, but they know a lot more about where people have success than you realize.
A good pair of binoculars is a must as you absolutely have to study any seen animal to make sure it does not have cubs with it. Often times, cubs are hidden by tall grass and I have spotted many cubs hiding up in the cover of tree leaves after their moms have sent them up there to wait on her to return. It is your responsibility to know your target and binoculars are a pre-requisite. I go a step further and also use a spotting scope for extra detailed observation.
Predator Calling. Much like the above tactic, predator calling is not that difficult. You will need a good bear area and you will need some hungry bears to cooperate. One of my favorite places to call bears is on shaded slopes in the heat of summer and sunny slopes during the cool days of fall or spring. If you can find any form of food sources like berries or fruits, then you are a step ahead in the game.
Electronic callers are illegal in many states for use of bear hunting, so I just avoid the whole issue by taking hand-held calls. Black Bears are predators so I take three calls that mimic a fawn deer in distress, a dying rabbit, and my favorite is a squealing piglet call that I purchased over twenty years ago.
If you go to all the trouble to find a good hunting area and put out the required effort to hunt, then do yourself a favor and mind the wind. Don’t let updrafts give you away on a warm morning and don’t let a downdraft expose you on a cool afternoon or evening.
Do some research, grab some good glass and fill your freezer with awesome sausage.