bearEvery hunter knows that the only thing worse than an angry bear, is a wounded, angry bear.  Even hunters who have never made an attempt at taking a bear know that even the smallest bear deserves a lot of respect and caution. It is a fact that they are dangerous and that is why both first-time and long-time bear hunters must properly prepare to make an effective and lethal shot when the situation presents itself. Here are two tips I have learned while hunting bears for almost three decades.

Ignore the hair

One of the biggest mistakes that new bear hunters make is poor shot placement. Bears with medium and long hair lengths make it extremely difficult to pinpoint exactly where the vitals are located.

Accurately recognizing anatomy is paramount to making a clean and ethical kill, so try not to be intimidated by the big fuzz ball and try to mentally eliminate the hair on a bear and imagine where the body parts are only. 

It is not easy at first, but with practice it can be done. One good method for practicing is to try doing this on every bear on TV. In a little time, you will have trained yourself to ignore the hair much like a deer hunter must ignore the set of trophy antlers.

Observe for as long as you can

The only way to gain experience is to spend time doing what you want to have more experience doing. Most hunters can shoot a bear when they see one but salty hunters only take a shot when they feel it is time to do so. I love seeing bears, but I love watching them even more. 

One year while baiting for bears in Oregon (when it was legal) I watched dozens of bears almost every night of the season from my stand located near a lake. I could have shot my one bear and been done hunting the first night of the season, but I enjoyed learning about the bears too much to disturb my awesome hunting location. I watched and watched and learned many things before I ever pulled a trigger.

Even if you are spot and stalking, I hope you will stretch your hunting opportunity into a watching opportunity as well. Patiently waiting to shoot will make you a better hunter guaranteed, and it will give you unforgettable memories guaranteed.