6 Tips for Basic Black Bear Hunting

Few things in hunting offer the adrenaline rush of pursuing one of the largest predators in North America. This is why so many hunters take to the woods each year, in hopes of shooting a black bear.

Whether you are hunting black bears by gun or bow, there are a few tips that can improve your odds of a successful hunt. 

Knowing how to prepare for a hunt and avoid detection are some of the most important factors involved with bear hunting. If you follow these tips, you will significantly improve your odds of taking a bear.

Stay quiet

Stealth is one of the most important factors in hunting black bears. A black bear can hear or see a careless hunter, long before the hunter has a chance to see the bear.  For this reason, you need to move slowly and carefully through the woods. Avoid sudden movements and wear clothing that does not make noise.  Anything you can do to reduce noise or movements that might alert a bear to your presence will improve your odds of a successful hunt.


Black bears have an exceptional sense of smell. This works well for hunters, who want a bear to be attracted by bait, but it also can have a negative effect if the bear can smell the hunter. Nothing can work against a bear hunter more than common human smells like cigarette smoke, soap or engine exhaust. One of the best investments a bear hunter can make is a scent that will mask human smells. In addition to masking scents, you must also take wind into consideration. Make every effort to stay downwind of a bear’s location.


Waiting for a good shot is a common theme in many types of hunting, but it is especially important in bear hunting. Being patient and not rushing the shot is crucial. If you miss your target, a wounded bear can move shockingly fast, away from your location. Then, not only are you forced to track the bear, but you are dealing with a wounded bear, which can be a dangerous situation.


A successful bear hunt begins with preparation. This includes scouting an area thoroughly, before selecting it as your hunting location. Look for bear activity, such as scat or tracks. Consider bear movements in the area. What are they likely to be feeding on? Even if you are baiting, you want a location close to where the bears are already feeding and moving, within their territory.

Stay alert

Bears can move silently through the woods, so you are more likely to see them, rather than hear them, moving towards your location. A good pair of binoculars or a spotting scope can be critical tools. They can help you see any bear movement in the area, so you are ready when the animal approaches.

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