How to Hunt A Bear: Mandatory Bear Hunting Tips That Can Make Your Hunt Successful

If you are planning to hunt bears you must know two things. One of them is that this is a serious hunt and it has demanding requirements, so it is very dangerous! Another one is that it is the most thrilling type of a hunt, so the adrenaline will be in your blood for the entire hunt. If you know both of these facts and you still want to hunt, you are going to need bear hunting tips!

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Even if you are a professional hunter, with more than 10 years of experience, these tips and tactics can help you and improve your success in hunting. On the other side, without them, you will have to learn the tactics and successful actions in a hard way.

The Right Time for Hunting

Before we come to the tactics and the tips, you must know when the right time to hunt a bear is. After all, they are big and amazing, so they cannot be treated as ordinary animals. In general, you can hunt a bear in the spring and fall, due to the fact they are more exposed then.

Why? Simply because in the fall, they must prepare for the winter, so they will eat almost anything, which makes them vulnerable. On the other side, in the spring, they are hungry again, because they have awakened from the winter sleep.

Grizzly Bear with Cubs

Again, they will look for food, but they won’t have enough energy, so they will be vulnerable, again, and they will be less able to run and hide. All of this means that you MUST hunt bears in the mentioned seasons. Hunting them in the summer is a mistake and your hunt will be 200% harder and less successful.

Tips & Tricks for Bear Hunting

Stalk him

If you want to know how to hunt black bear you will have to stalk him. This is simpler in the spring because they are slaves of their stomachs! It is also more interesting and less time-consuming. Of course, there are no general rules when it comes to this tip, but there are some things you should know. In general, bears can be found on the south (parts of the woods) and places where there is a fresh grass.

Stalk him

Other places where they are common are riverbanks and fresh water. Your main goal is to stalk him as long as possible until you have a perfect opportunity to shoot. Also, you must be careful, as we mentioned, they are very hungry and you may be a delicious meal!

An interesting fact that all experienced hunters know is that black bears will follow the drainage systems. Pay attention to the ridges as well.

Place your bait

As you may know, bears are smart animals and they are fast, strong and capable of hiding in any terrain, so baiting seems like a normal and wise decision. No matter if your stalking is successful or not, baiting must be taken into account. It is the most common and one of the best ways to hunt a bear and it is simpler as well.

While placing a bait is simple, choosing a location isn’t! You must find a perfect spot, simply because bears won’t come to any place you want and they will be more than just careful. For example, a grown up bear won’t come to the open field, where he won’t be protected. The ideal place would be hidden and small, but still reachable enough so you can replace and add supplies with your ATV.

Bait for black bair

The type of a bait is equally important and it must be taken into consideration. Each hunter has something that he prefers. For example, some hunters like musing meat or even donuts. No matter which type of food you use, it must come with a huge odor. Bears are omnivores, so they eat almost everything and you should use this.

Keep in mind that a bait must be placed in a barrel and the barrel must be chained to a tree. If not, you will lose your barrel (a bear will drag it in a forest).

Call a bear

Of course, this doesn’t mean you should call a bear on a cell phone, it means that you should use a varmint call. This is definitely interesting tactics, but it may be against your own rules. In any case, you can call a bear while you hunt or while you are waiting in an ambush.

You will have to use your varmint call only upwind and it will be more successful than you believe. It will call a bear while you are using a call. Once you stop, a bear will stop as well. This also suggests that you will have to call it for quite some time.

However, this tactic is more complicated than it sounds. You must choose a perfect spot! Just calling a bear, no matter where you are is a mistake that can cost you a life! Always make sure you are on a higher ground and somewhere where you can see the surrounding areas. The main goal is to see a bear before he sees you.

Call a bear

If a bear isn’t satisfactory to you or it is too young, stop calling him and he will go away. Still, be careful due to the fact he will still be nearby, so hold your weapons!

In addition, there are a lot of ways and gadgets that can help you, call a bear and most of them are successful. Still, these tactics should be used only if you have a hard time tracking a bear or it is hard to find it and you don’t want to wait anymore.

Use proper rifles

Probably the most interesting and the most important part, when it comes to hunting a bear is the firepower. After all, all hunters like shooting, so this has to be the favorite part. The first fact you must know before else is that killing a bear isn’t easy! They are big, massive, have thick skin, long hair and they have muscles, a lot of them.

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All of this means that if you choose a  wrong spot, or you use smaller caliber or you use a less powerful rifle, your hunting will be unsuccessful. Don’t think that tracking a hunting bear will be successful. They have a long hair, which will absorb the most of the blood, so tracking is very hard and barely brings any success. For our expert review of the top hunting shotguns, read our article on this topic for additional reference.

The shooting distance must be taken into account as well. In general, the ideal distance would be between 50 and 300 meters. Shooting from a smaller distance than 50 meters is simply very dangerous and some hunters may miss, due to panic! On the other side, shooting from a distance of more than 300 meters won’t bring any result either and there are a lot of chances you will miss or you won’t make successful shoot!

Bear rifle

Even more importantly, if you don’t use a proper rifle and bullets, the distance will be the least of your concerns. It is highly advised to use cartridges between .270 and .300, but using the 338 is also recommended. In this case, you will want to have more power than to have less. After all, a bigger caliber will be more successful and it can help you make your hunting more interesting as well. In addition, beginners should use bigger calibers, just in case.

When it comes to bullets, you will definitely want to use: Nosler’s Partition and Accu Bond, Speer Grand Slam, Barnes’ TSX and Swift’s A-Frame.

Wash your clothes two times

Most hunters believe that clean clothes are important, simply because they will look nice when they take photos, but it is far more important than that! Clean clothes, is mandatory on a bear hunt because these animals have an impressive sense of smell.

Keep in mind that first, your clothes should be washed with a detergent and a soap, in order to remove all older smells and odors it may have. The second time, it must be washed with a clean water, so all the detergent and soap are removed.

There is no point is saying that wearing perfume or anything else that have a strong odor isn’t recommended. Not only you will make a severe mistake, you will bring yourself and your friends in a danger! Maybe this is a short tip, but if you don’t obey it, better don’t go on a bear hunt!

Don’t smoke

While this top can be included in the previous one, it is very important, so it is better to be mentioned alone. Smoking is the most common voice on the planet, so it is a well-known fact that most hunters are smokers.

After all, waiting in the woods is more interesting with a cigarette. While this may be just fine, in any other hunting, hunting a bear requires more sacrifice. Smokers cannot smoke while hunting bear.

Don't smoke in the wild

Smoking will reveal your position and bears pay a lot of attention to the smoke and fire, so if you smoke, your hunting will be less successful. Always bring nicotine patches, in order to keep your cravings under control. This is a very effective way to make your hunting better.

Where to shoot a bear?

Now you know which weapons you should use, but where to shoot? Just shooting at a bear because you have a lot of firepowers is a mistake. Keep in mind that we mentioned that bears are heavy bones, thick skin, and long hair. All of this means that shooting at conventional places won’t be successful.

Most hunters like headshots, but they are not very successful in this case! The situation is the same when it comes to neck and spine, simply because it may be difficult to spot these areas, thanks to a long fur.

See also: Best Laser Bore Sighter: Sighting Your Weapons For a Much Better Shot

The best and the highly recommended place to shoot are the lungs. They are the most effective part and they are the simplest to hit! You will have to shoot a few inches above the end of the front leg. If you have a bigger caliber, this type of hit will be even more successful. This spot is highly recommended for the beginners, simply because it is the most effective and a bear won’t be able to attack you.

Where to shoot a bear

A shoulder shot is equally effective because it will be related to heart hit or lung hit. In any case, it covers a bigger area, so it is more successful in more cases than just a directed lung shot.

A heart shot is a common choice of many hunters, but usually, those that don’t have a lot of experience. It will kill a bear, but it won’t do it instantly. In general, a bear will cover a longer distance before he falls down. If you still want to take this shoot, shoot closely to the front legs. Keep in mind that it is hard to hit a heart and it isn’t a nice type of shot.

Use local help and get all needed information

All of these tips are general, which means that they are not developed for just one, a particular place. It is a wise decision to get help from locals. Why? Simply because most of them don’t hunt bears, but they like watching them and some of them know where they are and how many there is.

Just in case, you will get additional help that is more than just needed. You should also ask questions about the landscape and the terrain. Where the water is, where the food is, popular hunting places and etc.

This also makes hunting safer, so it is definitely a useful tip that should be taken into account. In addition, you may avoid possible conflict with locals or authorities. The bottom line is that you will get all needed information for a specific area, where you plan to hunt.

Finding Bears

Yes, now you have an idea how to set bait and how to call a bar, but still, doing all of that in a wrong place won’t bring any results. It is mandatory to start your hunt at a place that has a lot of potential, which means that there live a lot of bears. Bears don’t just sit in one place and wait for you.

During the fall, they are active 20 hours per day and they eat, all that time. During a spring, they are active 2-3 hours. This means that it may be hard to find them during the spring, but still, it is the best time of a year for a bear hunt.

Finding bears

During a spring, they go up to 30 miles from their fall terrain. This means that if you have hunted bears in a fall, on one location, they won’t be there during the summer.

On the other side, there are no specific places where bears live so it cannot be generalized. However, there are some signs you can use. For example, claw marks and bear food or other signs are the best way to get an idea are there any bears and how many.

Experienced hunters will always find a bear, thanks to the fact they pay close attention to the aforementioned marks. An interesting fact is that places where you can find honey or a lot of berries are interesting to bears as well. Always pay close attention to these places, due to the fact you can find them there and your hunt will be successful.

Don’t hunt cubs!

If you are a professional hunter, you know that hunting cubs isn’t recommended nor it is sporty! On the other side, if you are a beginner, you may fall into the temptation to shoot, when you see a cub. No matter what a reason may be, this type of hunting is forbidden. They are smaller than grown bears, obviously, and they still have the entire life in front of them, so it is better to leave them alone.

Don't hunt bear cubs

If you notice a bigger bear, between 50 and 100 lbs., but the fur isn’t fully developed and it looks ‘’skinny’’ it isn’t a grown up bear, so shooting isn’t an option. Bears need a lot of time to form and properly develop their fur, so when you notice a bear with the mentioned type of fur, don’t shoot.

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While shooting on cubs isn’t recommended, following them may be. By doing this, you will be able to track them and find grown up bears. Usually, they will be females, but in some rare cases, you can find a male, grown up the bear.

The Bottom Line

At the end, you must remember that this type of hunting is dangerous because you hunt a predator that is bigger and scarier than you, but it is also the best source of adrenaline. Following just one of these tips won’t be as effective as following all of them. If you don’t believe, try all of them, and pay attention to the end result. Good luck and stay safe!

For more grizzly bear hunting tips and tricks, check out our article that explores about this topic.


Shawn Harrison

Shawn Harrison is our expert in hunting. He was born in Alaska, so hunting was his hobby since high school. Later, Shawn took a Hunter Training at Alaska Department of Fish and Game to structure his knowledge and now he is open to share his knowledge with our readers. Shawn is taking ‘Safety First’ approach on all of his trips, especially is some people are going hunting for the first time.


  • Bear hunters were always brave people who are not afraid to attack the evil beast, the weight of which many times exceeds their own. This hunt often ended in tragedy when the hunters were killed or seriously injured. There is a misconception that a bear is clumsy, lazy and slow. This animal is very smart and agile, can run with speed up to 35 m/h. They have very good senses of smell and hearing but the vision is poor, it can not distinguish a human figure at a distance more than 50 meters. Anyway, be careful and don’t go hunting alone.

    • It does require a significant amount of strength and courage to hunt for something gargantuan. It requires a good strategy, speed, and precision in order to hit the target each and every time.

  • This hunting is undoubtedly one of the most emotional and most prestigious, hunting trophy has comprehensive and great value. Such hunt alone near the den or with a dog represents some danger for the hunter and interested because of this danger, although it requires not only the courage to go to bear but also perseverance and ingenuity. But this is not all! Everyone knows what grizzly can do to a human.

    • As bears signify strength and power, hunting a bear is such an empowering experience. Indeed, there is prestige and an elevated sense of accomplishment.