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Author Topic: Hunting Black Bears From The Ground
Contributor 2017
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Does anyone have experience hunting black bears from the ground, as in spot and stalk hunting?
Tell me about your hunt, the spec's of your equipment, shot placement, etc. I'm wetting my appetite for the possibility of a spring bear hunt. [Smile]

God now commandeth all men everywhere to repent. Acts 17:30

"All bowhunting trips are good, some are just real good!" Bill Baker

"We're all trophy hunters...until something else comes along." Glenn St. Charles

Posts: 1137 | From: Interior Alaska | Registered: Jul 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Contributor 2007
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I sort of spot and stalked one in 2004. I spotted him a week before the season opened and watched him daily until I snuck in and set up a double bull along his travel path, 6 yard shot with the bears feet level with my head. The shot went in at the elbow and came out a little over half way up on the oppisite side through the back edge of the shoulder blade. I was using a 64# Robertson Falcon recurve and 680 grain arrows. He went about 40 yards. Joseph

"Politicians are like diapers, they need to be changed often and for the same reason"

Posts: 1884 | From: Helena, Mt | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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I killed one last May spot & stalk here in Southeast AK. Odd conditions...bear was out in a tide flat in the middle of the day. No cover anywhere. Nice cross wind. When I finally got to 40 yards I realized he was eating something. At about 10 yards he looked right at me and I crouched down. When he turned I stood and shot. He was laying down and my arrow was off. My arrow struck his neck and cut his carotid artery and he died after a 70 yard run in about 10 seconds. Turns out he was eating a dead bear.

55# Robertson longbow 650 grain Ramin arrow with 160 grain Ribtek head.

[ April 28, 2007, 02:52 PM: Message edited by: juneaulongbow ]

Posts: 577 | From: Hutto, Texas | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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Cool thread...I will be following it. I need to learn all I can on this. [thumbsup]

"I lost arrows and didnt even shoot at a rabbit" Charlie after the Island of Trees.

Posts: 4441 | From: Coxsackie, NY | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
nock hunter
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The biggest thing I've found that is important for spot and stalk bears is WIND DIRECTION.Bears can't see all that well maybe a 100 or so yrds.If your set up with good wind direction and they haven't got a clue your around you should have a good chance at them.I live in an area of BC where the bears are everywhere so you get to start quite a few stalks.Start being the main word.Some are successful and most are not and the main thing for me is when the wind is right.I've watched bears from a 100 yards deciding to go after them or not with them not knowing we were there and had the wind change and watch them go like a bat outta hell.Just watch the wind and go for it.

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Posts: 28 | From: Terrace B.C. | Registered: Nov 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Mark Maves
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I have to agree with the importance of knowing your wind direction. I have hunted them in PWS for the past three years on the ground, over bait and not. The bait definitely helps, but the stalking was a great experience. Last spring I had two immature black bears walk within 10 yards of us and they had no idea we were there. In fact we had them stand and look around because I think they heard us, but just couldn't locate us. I can't wait till Memorial Day weekend...

TGMM Family of the Bow

Posts: 123 | From: Anchorage, Alaska | Registered: Nov 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Brian Krebs
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I have spotted and stalked black bears before; and for me its about wind and walking quietly over anything.
Here in Idaho in the spring; the wet ground seems like an easy way to go; but the grinding of rocks underground together has not been a friend.
If you can find existing trails; and slowly stick on the trails your odds go up.
Bear trails are the best to follow; as they really like to be quiet and will remove twigs and noisy stuff as they walk the trail.
Elk and deer trails can be good - but all game trails have obstacles- like stuff they either push through or go under.
I really like windy days - although wind can swirl; when there are regular puffs of strong wind; you can use these moments to move through bit by bit- really noisy stuff: undetected.
I carry and use binoculars when I do this; I carry mine inside my jacket under my right arm; you need to use a longer than ussual strap to do so- I use a boot lace.
I do this because you don't need your binoculars to drag or catch on something while your sneaking through stuff.
I move a short distance; glass; and move a short distance again; the shorter the distance often is to the advantage.
When I glass I look for anything that might be a part of a bear; but mostly I look for brush moving.
When a bear is bedded; you just about have to trip over it to find it. But when they feed; you can see bushes moving as they strip off berries etc.
In the fall the wasps move from paper nests to ground nests. The wasps move their larvae to the ground nests; and bears love the larvae.
When they are digging them up you can hear it; but more often you can hear them grumbling about the stings they are recieving.
As wasps like using old road beds; and old road beds can be the quietiest place to stalk; watching for the paper nests in trees; and then really scoping the trails and areas near them- you can do some super snooping.
I have heard that bears are not totally color blind. That makes some sense as they come in different colors; but I have heard they can see blue over other colors.
I had a bait this year with a stand over it; and a friend sat in it with blue jeans on; and the bears figured the stand location out where they had not before. It may have been movement - but bluejeans just don't seem appropriate.
I camo up as good as I can; including face paint.
Watch for any movement out of place ( if you look at a spot when the wind is blowing- then keep watching as the wind slows you will spot movement that is out of place).
Keep in mind the better you do this; the higher the chance of success - but too: the higher the chance you will get close to sows and cubs.
Its fun stuff.
I would like to say I have killed several bears this way- but I don't remember killing any this way. I have been succesful at getting close enough to touch bears with my bow; but I always had already filled my tag; or the bear was on someones bait; or was not the bear I wanted to take.
But I have 'counted coup' on several; reaching out slowly and tapping them with my bow. The bears have always taken off quickly; and a couple have come back and popped their jaws in anger; but so far; I haven't gotten beaten up for it.
I had a relative that used to shoot deer with a rifle for lumber camps; and he told me that each step in the woods reveals a completely different woods- that is that each step lets you see something new.
I do that when I am stalking; and it is good advise for any game.
Fun stuff!!! good luck [Smile]

[campfire] [archer]


Posts: 2556 | From: North Fork , Idaho | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Brian Krebs
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I forgot to mention; that I bought some knee pads- they cost like a buck plus shipping on ebay- that were made for paint-ball competition. They have soft rubber for the surface that touches the ground; and it allows you to be quiet and think sneaking on the knees when your stalking... and that can really be important!

[campfire] [archer]


Posts: 2556 | From: North Fork , Idaho | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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Brian, do most guys carry a backup gun for spot & stalk black bears in ID? I'm new around here and thinking about a spring hunt. Never hunted bear before. Thanks.
Posts: 1 | From: Boise, ID | Registered: Feb 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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i used to kill bark peeling bear for a couple of timber companys . tracked them and shot them in their beds. i still kill bear that way. got two last fall. one still sleeping and one that heard me and was shuffle trotting off.
thats the only way i've ever hunted bear. it's against the law to carry a firearm when archery hunting in washington, but i've never worried too much about bear. the only dangerous ones i've ran into were bear that people had spoiled by feeding etc.

Posts: 90 | From: ahtanum, washington | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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Shot a blackie via spot and stalk in BC two years ago, and am going back this year for another try. Tremendous experience. Saw 80 to 90 bears in a week and had quality stalks every day. Outfitter told me he thought more bowhunters blew opportunities by not being aggressive enough (too slow during stalk) and getting caught by wind change. I got to within 9 yards of the bear I shot as it was feeding away from me on fresh grass and clover on a very open pipeline. I moved very quickly, running crouched over at some points, fast crawling on all fours at other times, and only stopping when the bear picked up its head from feeding. Zipped arrow completely through it with 60# recurve, cedar shafts, and Zwickey head. Quiet shoes and clothes a must. Practice shooting from your knees. Get in shape by walking or running and practice walking/running crouched over so your muscles are used to it and it will help you be more quiet and alert so that you can concentrate on the animal and what it is doing rather than on trying to catch your breath or figure out how you are going to move your legs after the lactic acid kicks in and your legs are burning. Good luck.
Posts: 109 | From: PA | Registered: Mar 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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how do you all go about spotting the bears your wanting to stalk? What kind of areas do you look for? please be specific.

[ March 09, 2007, 10:48 PM: Message edited by: Bard1 ]

got arrows?

Posts: 749 | From: Bakersfield, CA. | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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In the early spring you want to find where the green up is, and the biggest bears will be on the best green patches (at least that is how it works for us in BC). Logging companies power seed the new roads (to limit erosion), so look for that. South slopes green up first, so that is another place to look. With Idaho having road closures (use to live in Lewiston), you can have the place to yourself. Cover country (on mountain bike), look for bear scat on the road, and if there is more than 3-5 piles of crap in a 100 yard area you have found a possible spot to watch. Right out of the den they tend to stick to certain spots for as long as a week or more, so if the scat is fresh you are in the game. But cover lots of country, and you will find them. Manfromthepast had a good point on stalking. You need to get close, and quick. Close being 80 yards and in. Winds in the mountains are fickle, and if you are stalking a bear like you would a bedded mule deer, you will lose. Spring winds/thermals are unpredictable. Close the gap quickly, move in when his head is down feeding, and hammer him! Good luck.

Posts: 5 | From: Alberta, Canada | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Doug S
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I only did it once. In S.E alaska. It was in the fall. I glassed the streams that had salmon in them. The bears would usually catch a fish and go into the brush to eat it. When done they would go right back to the last spot they caught the previous fish. I just waited for a bear to go eat then hurried to the spot and waited. The shot was 12 yards. The noise of the water helps.

The hunt is the trophy!


Posts: 464 | From: South Dakota | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
ux monster
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I used to stalk bears in the spring feeding on fresh spring grasses in a couple of valley meadows but unfortunatly the anti hunter groups here in Ontario put alot of preasure on our polititions and closed our spring bear hunt a few years back.What a shame.Alot of nusinces bears now.I once stalked a bear laying on its belly feeding on grass.Got within 20 yards with good wind but could not see the bear from there due to the hieght of the growth so i had to wait for him to stand.After about and hour waiting the wind hit the back of my neck strait to the bear,he let out a loud woof and stood strait up on his hind legs looking for me but it was to late,i shot him right between his two front legs,best shot i have ever made on a game animal.After the hit he bit down on the fletching sticking out his chest,hit the ground and barreled away through the brush and went down about 60 yards latter.Awsome hunt.equipment used was a 66 inch longbow pulling 58 lbs at my draw,an easton 2016,145 gr journeyman head with a 45 grain broad head adapter.  -

I hunt because thats the way its supposed to be not hunting upsets the balance of my nature.

Posts: 23 | From: Ontario,Canada | Registered: Mar 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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