The time is approaching when the sleepy headed and hungry bears will be crawling from their dens to face the spring feeding time. This is the best time to bag a bear. Not only are they still lethargic and slow from their long winter’s nap, but barring a few factors most will still have a good winter’s coat for that bear rug you’ve been wanting. Here are a few tips to guarantee an early spring bear.

The best and most effective way to select and harvest a bear is with bait. Some states don’t allow baiting, which is a shame because there is no better bear hunting method that allows a hunter to observe a bear for an extended amount of time and to be selective. The longer a hunter can observe a bear, the more likely they are to recognize the sex, health, and maturity of the bear. They follow their stomachs at this time of the year, so a good bait station can’t fail in good bear country.

Next, if you are hunting with a rifle, use a large caliber. Bears are big boned and have smaller vital areas, so even if can poke a shot through the right place most times, you can never account for unseen obstructions in the shape of limbs or grass, and you can never anticipate when an animal suddenly turns or moves up or down. No shot is a sure thing and the bigger the caliber you have to follow through with, the more success you are going to have.

If you are hunting with a bow, remember again that the vitals are smaller and better protected on a bear than they are on a deer. As a rule, their lungs reach further back than a deer lungs do, but a heart shot is harder to accomplish since it sits further back and very low on a bear. The hardest part to aiming on a bear is to take into account their hair length. A well-haired bear will hide its body well. Learn to account for this and you will be a step ahead of the average hunter.

To make sure you get that premium rug there are a few field care items to check if you must do your skinning in the field. The first thing to remember is to cool your hide as quickly as possible, this means to get it off the body fast. Next, make sure to remove all excess flesh and fat. If you are going to be out for a while get the hide salted quickly (after the skin is clean). If you are not far from home, get the hide into the fridge or freezer and to the taxidermist as soon as possible.

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