Black bear hunting is high on the list for most North American sportsmen. Common and extremely widespread, opportunities for pursuing a black bear can be found in almost every great hunting location in the U.S. and Canada. If you’re looking for a fearsome trophy, this hunt is well worth your consideration.
Black bears have the largest population of any bear species, numbering between 700,000 and 1,000,000 individuals across the U.S. and Canada. Their range extends from northern Alaska down the Rockies and into northern Mexico in the west, across most of Canada and the U.S. border in the north, down the Appalachians in the east, and in the Ozarks and even Florida to the south. GSS represents outfitters offering black bear hunts in numerous locations across Canada and the United States.
Despite the name, black bears are not always black; they have various color phases, and they are sometimes mistaken for brown bears when they occur in a brown or cinnamon color phase. However, they are usually significantly smaller than brown bears (though a large black bear can be bigger than a small brown), have no shoulder hump, and have shorter, more dramatically-curved claws. They are capable of impressive sprints—up to 30 miles per hour—and are skilled tree climbers.
Black bears have a wide weight range; the smallest females weigh less than 100 pounds, while the largest males can weigh as much as 700 pounds. Most stand between two and a half and three and a half feet tall at the shoulder and measure from four to six and a half feet long.
Trophies are determined by skull size. The minimum SCI score for rifle hunters is 18 inches for inland bears and 19 inches for those bagged along the coast of the Pacific; either way, if your bear measures in at close to 20 inches, you may have a candidate for gold.
Black bear hunts are usually done one of three ways: via spot-and-stalk techniques, over bait, or with dogs. GSS primarily works with outfitters who work with baits, as this method is reliable, often results in larger bears, and is an excellent choice for hunters in any physical condition. Options for the more adventure-hungry include intense spot-and-stalk hunting on Alaska’s Prince of Wales Island, where black bears have been measured at an unbelievable eight feet. The choices are many and the list continues to grow.
The minimum caliber for black bear is a .270 loaded with solids, but bigger is definitely better. While normally peaceful, these animals can become dangerous when wounded, and there’s a reason why mother bears have become proverbial for their protectiveness. Use the biggest gun you feel comfortable taking rapid follow-up shots with. Make a quick, clean kill, and soon you’ll have one excellent trophy!
Call Global Sporting Safaris today at 888-850-4868 and let us know what type of black bear hunting experience you are looking for. We’ll send you information on opportunities that match your goals. Our experienced outfitters are second to none and we’re happy to share personal experiences with you.