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Got to talking to a few other bear hunters and the question came up, Why isn't hunting Black Bears more popular in the lower 48 states than it is? Which brings to mind this question, What can be done to increase the popularity of Black Bear hunting? Lets keep the answers as it pertains to your state.

In California I believe that the cost combined with the fact that hunting Black Bears is much harder than deer hunting that many just don't want to give it a try. Here I believe that lowering the cost of tags and increasing the number of tags would be of some help. Add to that if DFG would let hunters use bait stations more would be interested in hunting Black Bears. Just some of my thoughts on this. Lawdog
:D
 

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I can't speak for anybody else but I can tell you why I never hunted them.

I grew up in Western PA, almost to the West Virginia Border. There weren't any bears in my part of the state so I never had the opportunity to learn about them or how to hunt them. In fact I have never even seen one. I am not in the minority of PA sportsman when I say this.

With a season only three days long, all three of those days work days, and a relatively low (compared to deer) success rate; I surely can't be the only guy who thought it better to save the vacation days for deer season.

I also have no idea what to do with 200+ lbs of dead bear.

Dragging a deer out of the woods is work, but I can do it by myself. I couldn't do that with a bear. I believe that in PA one has to take the whole bear to the check station, so quartering is not an option.

I am guessing here, but I think that lots of guys are reluctant shoot anything they won't eat and don't see a bear as a meat animal. There seems to be more interest in PA's very limited Elk season than its bear season.


The PA game commission has responded to certain areas where bear are a problem by running a second bear season concurrently with the deer season. This allows deer hunters in these areas to shoot a bear during deer season, provided they have purchased a bear license.

Rummer
 

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I wish we had bear in Delaware. I would not have to travel out of State to hunt them. :D
 

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in wi.....it takes too long to get a tag which discoyrages alot of folks. i had to build preference points for 5 years. some have gotten em in three years....but it depends on the area.
 

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Bears are much more scarce than deer in MN. 30,000 bears, but so many deer that the DNR is jumping thru hoops trying to figure out the smart way to radically reduce the number. That's one reason bears aren't getting many column inches in newspapers. Too, if you are a non-resident the price tag for a licence, the trip,a guide, and a rug can be close to $1500. Also, how many rugs does a hunter want ( as compared to an annual supply of venison)? On the plus side, if properly processed, bear meat is very, very good, and you can donate the hide, do your own baiting, etc.
Since Bears became a game animal in MN, all available licences have been sold. Some in the DNR have noted, though, that the number of applicants have become fewer and fewer as time goes along. This may be due to the overall downward trend of hunting sports, not just dwindling interest in bear hunting.
Actually, I've always wondered why not more non-residents of near by states come here to bear hunt: the application process is very easy and there's no selection difference between residents and non-residents. It's true that the $200 non-resident fee is a bit high, but it's affordable once every 3 or 6 years for instance. Sure beats Canada. In a year or two you'll need a Passport to go there, and they aren't free. Currently it will also cost you big time to take a firearm there ( I'm not sure about bows, knives, broken beer bottles, tire irons, etc). And, I believe, guide services there, while they may be worth the $$, far exceed the guide prices here. Perhaps the MN DNR needs to hire on an outfit that can do proper bragging about Bear opportunities here. 8)
 

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The black bear is a more popular big game animal that you might think. It has the second widest distribution of any big game species in north america (after the whitetail deer) & bears are the only big game animal that can be hunted during a spring AND fall season ( in accordance with jurisdictional regulations).

Some of the things that I believe keep bear hunting from being an even more popular pursuit, than it already is, are the following:

(1) Although widely distributed, bear population numbers don't even begin to approach the number of deer that can inhabit the same piece of real estate. Add to this that bears are solitary, nomadic creatures that are rarely SEEN in the woods, and most people conclude that "why should I bother hunting an animal that I never even see?".

(2) No other game animal that I know of stirs the passions of the anti-hunting crowd the way that bears do (except maybe for baby fur seals). This causes protests & political upheaval in many places that bear seasons are proposed by state fish & game departments. Many hunters, I suspect, steer clear of this controversy by passing on bear hunting all together (and that's a shame). This is the #1 problem here in N.J.

(3) The misconceptions and prejudices surrounding what are some of the most popular methods of taking bears: baiting & hound hunting. Even within the hunting community, many look down on those who pursue bears with hounds or over bait. The truth is, in many areas these methods are the only way feasible to ensure a harvest in line with the goals set by the local wildlife agencies. These methods also allow the hunter to be more selective in the type of animal he chooses to harvest, reducing the likelihood of killing immature bears or sows w/ cubs because the hunter has more time to size up his quarry rather than shooting at a "black blob" bulldozing through thick brush.

(4) Lastly, a general unfamiliarity with bears surely keeps yet more hunters from pursuing this magnificent creature. I never cease to be amazed at the notion some hunters have that all you can do with a dead bear is make a rug. Time & again I've heard the comment, "you mean you can actually eat bear meat?" Bear meat is, in fact, not only edible, but highly palatable (especially in the fall after bears have spent months gorging themselves on wild berries and hard mast such as beechnuts & hickory).

Although bear hunting IS in fact popular, I too am surprised that it is not more so, considering:

-bear hunting usually takes place in the milder climate of late spring & early fall

-guided black bear hunts tend to be the most affordable of all guided big game hunts

-bears up the intensity level as no other animal in north america can, because you are hunting an animal that can rightfully be considered "dangerous game"
 

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Here in Montana bears are more often than not targets of opportunity while hunting other critters(ie. deer, elk, etc.). The most popular time to hunt them is the spring. After a winter, it is nice to get out and get rid of one's cabin fever. The newness of spring coupled with the ability to hunt something, especially bears, makes it the most popular time, IMO. Since bear hunting in Montana is spot and stalk (or stumble on and surprise) it makes it a bit more challenging than baiting or using dogs. I believe THAT is why it isn't more popular here. We have a pretty good population of bruins here, but one must be very careful and be able to tell just what flavor of bear you are looking at. In fact, in order to get a tag here, you must pass a test that judges your ability to recognize the difference between a "black" bear, and a grizzly bear.The latter are still protected, although their population is increasing very nicely, especially on the Rocky Mountain Front. Shooting a grizzly is unlawful and you WILL be prosecuted unless you have multiple claw and tooth marks all over your body!!! That is unless you have practiced the three S's. As is often stated here on GBO, just one man's opinion.
 
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