If you have access to Google Earth, you can really help yourself out. Google Earth is great for finding out of the way places bear may feel comfortable in. The more comfortable they are, the more likely you are to see them while there is still good shooting light. Many times in the spring I see as many as 5-10 bear in a day while driving around and looking clear cuts over. Just remember you need to have time to make a good stalk. If you don’t have ample time, wait and return the next day so you don’t blow them out of the area. We all have our favorite spots, but don’t be afraid to go and try out other areas. I have enjoyed great success with finding probable spots and getting out and working them over. I have found that when you are onto a good area it will continue to produce for years.
For fall spot and stalk I change things up a bunch. Bear will be much more spread out and a little tougher to find, except that you will find them feeding almost all day. Bear getting ready to go into hibernation are eating everything they can find. Whereas they are more concentrated in the spring, they will be found everywhere in the fall. The fall is when you start hearing about nuisance bears that are at low elevations. In the fall you can find them almost anywhere. Once you find a spot where bears are, concentrate on that area.
When it comes to good long range calibers, look for something flat shooting with good punch. My personal favorite is the 7mm Ultra Mag. Other great bear cartridges include .300 win mag, .30-.378 Weatherby, .300 wsm, 270wsm and 7mm Mag. Bullet selection will have a huge effect on the distance you will be able to make clean kills at. I love Berger Bullets myself and speak highly of their performance downrange.
My favorite scopes are in the 4-16 range minimum, and I really prefer something in the 30 range on the top end. I have had great luck with the March scopes and also recommend Schmidt and Bender and Minox. Schmidt and Bender is about as well respected as they come, with March really shaking things up in the last couple of years. If you own either of these brand scopes you will be extremely happy. They are not cheap, but they offer the best in low light performance. Minox has a really nice scope in the new 6-30x56 30 mm tube that is quite good for the price. The March 2.5-25x42 is a fantastic choice for longer shots and I love the ED glass. There are also many others that will get the job done. I have the March 5-50 x56 on one of my custom guns and love it. I also have a Schmidt and Bender. I find comparing the two brands of scopes is like comparing a Ferrari to a Lamborghini. They are just that good..
Leupold, Bushnell, Nightforce, Swarovski, Zeiss, Burris, Valdada and Zeiss all offer fine products as well. Vortex and Huskemaw have also had success more recently. I would look for something in the 5-15 range at a minimum if you are looking at longer shots. Huskemaw has done a great job with their turrets and is becoming quite popular. There are a couple of them I have not had the honor to use yet, but have heard great things.
My family has used all of these with great success. Just remember to practice shooting from different angles. Know your caliber and your limits. Bear is one of my favorite animals to hunt and the reward is great. Contrary to some people’s opinions, bear meat can be quite good. Our favorite way to have bear done is in cheesy smokies. I have never given anyone one that did not enjoy it.
Put some time in and bear hunting will get under your skin. Besides, every bear you take saves quite a few elk and moose calves as well as deer fawns.
So shoot straight and reward yourself with a big bruin………
Bryce Wells is a sponsored hunter and shooter From Sagle, Idaho. He is married to his great wife Sabrina and has two kids. His wife and kids also get in on the hunting, and enjoy long range shooting and bowhunting. Some of his sponsors include Kelbly's custom rifles, March Scopes, Minox, Rivers West, Limbsaver, Rocky Mountain Packs, Berger, Trophy Taker, Tru Glo, Sabermaxx, Wolverine, Day 6 Outdoors, Spypoint and more. You will find Bryce out each season hunting across the West. He spends at least 200 days in the field each season. Bryce has been fortunate enough to have taken many world class trophies over his career. Many consider him to be one of the best black bear hunters on the planet.
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