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Bear Hunting Techniques For Bear Hunting


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Total novice seeking help!

 
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  #1  
Old 11-08-2010, 08:40 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Northern California
Posts: 3
Total novice seeking help!

Been lurking for months and am finally breaking into hunting after never doing any growing up. Its tough without a mentor, and I've found that most folks don't like having to drag a newb into the field.

I finally scared up my first invite from a very experienced hunter to go black bear hunting in California. I'm not a stranger to guns and shooting but have no idea how to outfit.

Apart from guns and calibers, what do you guys bring into the field when packing in for a night in the field versus day trips?

How do you guys wear your sidearms when in the field? do you guys pack chest rigs or tactical vests that allow you to get things like a dump pouch, sidearm or clips on your chest? drop loads? hip holsters?

Apart from not scaring my companions with my in-experience, my only goal is be comfortable in the field and be able to get off rounds effectively if stuff goes south. Thanks for the help.
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  #2  
Old 11-08-2010, 10:57 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Chelan Co, Washington
Posts: 525
Re: Total novice seeking help!

Let's see if I can address a couple of your concerns.

1. The night in the field. Are you guys backpacking in and setting up a camp, then hunting from that camp? If so, no big deal, just treat it like a backpacking trip. If there's two of us going, one will carry the tent, the other the stove and fuel. We split the food & water, and keep it as light as possible. Everybody brings their own clothing & personal gear. Again, keep it as light as possible.

If I'm going alone, I may leave the tent behind and just bring a gore-tex bivvy bag or a small tarp to rig over my sleeping bag. Again, a small white-gas backpacking stove is nice, but yeah, a guy can get by with cold chow. Ugh. I'll generally carry the backpacking stove. Hot coffee or a cup of hot soup is very nice in the field.

Backpacking camp with tent - solo hunting trip in the Cascades, Sept 2009:


Backpacking camp without tent - solo hunting trip in the Cascades, Sept 2008:


Or if you're just day hunting and want to be prepared to spend a night if you must - that's different, but nothing that can't be handled with a standard size day pack and a few survival goodies and some decent outdoor clothing, with fleece & gore tex. And some way to make fire.

2. Sidearm. Hmmm. Usually I just don't carry one. I'm already carrying a rifle, much more powerful and more accurate. If I do carry one, it's usually my .44 S&W 629, in a belt holster. I probably don't have a reload with me, but if I do it's a speedloader in a pocket.

Reading your post, I'm picking up a bit of a tactical mindset. Current or prior military? Maybe cop? Or just reading a lot of magazine articles?

Very cool. Spent my time in the USMC infantry and had to de-tune a little on exit. Hunting can, but rarely "goes south." Normally the game is trying very hard to avoid hunters, not to bring the fight to them. That said, bears and other critters can be a bother. I've carried the .44 revolver mostly when in bear country. These danged wolves are another worry now.

Two legged critters can be a problem in some areas. Usually not, but... A sidearm isn't a bad thing - just no need to look like you're getting ready to re-take the hill when going out for a bear hunt. Here's a picture of me on my September bear hunt. Hardly tactical. Just a single shot Ruger rifle with five extra rounds in my shirt pocket.



Not tactical at all, but I was wearing and carrying everything I needed on the hunt. Had a little day pack with me with some water & snacks and a few other odds and ends.

Regards, Guy
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  #3  
Old 11-08-2010, 11:48 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Chelan Co, Washington
Posts: 525
Re: Total novice seeking help!

Not sure I did a good job answering your inquiry.

It helps me to gear into stuff for various tasks:

Clothing - appropriate for the weather, with a little extra, just in case. Can't go wrong with a fleece pullover, a gore-tex shell, gloves and a warm cap when the temp dips. Layering. Good boots. Cap with brim for sun & rain.

Water - a guy can only carry so much. Bring a quart or two, and have a way to replenish your supply like a pump/filter combo.

Food - snacks and lunch, and a little extra. Just in case.

First Aid Kit, possibly map & compass unless you're very familiar with the area. Comms? Matches/fire starter.

I drag along a pocket camera. Well worthwhile.

Knife or knives. Skinning & gutting. This is mandatory. Don't need a big tactical type knife, a good solid working type knife, and some way to keep it sharp.

Game bags. License & tags. Don't laugh... Sept '09, five hours from home the day before we were to hunt my son told me he left his bear tag at home... We fixed that, fortunately.

Optics - can't stress this enough. Good binos are very, very important. Last couple of years I've been substituting my Swaro rangefinder, letting it do the duty of both binoculars and the range finder chore. I think I'll likely start carrying the binos again too. A spotting scope is nice, but heavy. May not be necessary for the hunting you're doing. Or maybe it is. I find binos and a rangefinder are what I need, seldom a spotting scope. Quality optics though...

Your choice of firearms. A good dependable rifle with adequate accuracy and power. Topped with a good scope. Personally I think people make too big a deal about what kind of rifle they're carrying. There's about a zillion different rifle/cartridge combos that will do the job just fine. Carry & shoot what you like.

Enough ammo - but no need to go crazy. We're not fighting a battle here. I usually use one shot per deer season. Usually... The bear was down and out with one shot as well.

Some way to carry all this stuff. I keep it simple and just use a day pack. Same one for about ten years now. It's also big enough to carry a couple of deer quarters. I could use a bigger day pack to carry out an entire boned out deer.

Here's a bearskin in my guide/friend's pack:


When is your bear hunt? Hounds? Bait? Spot & stalk? All those things will influence your gear choices.

Best of luck, Guy
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  #4  
Old 11-09-2010, 12:50 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Northern California
Posts: 3
Re: Total novice seeking help!

Thanks alot Guy. sweet bear! Were going this month. I wasn't given alot of details on the hunt. I'm expecting bait or spot and stalk though with either a night in the field via pack in and camp or nearby campground with two long day trips. Its dense woodland area in northwest california forests.
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  #5  
Old 11-10-2010, 08:39 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Chelan Co, Washington
Posts: 525
Re: Total novice seeking help!

Best of luck to you!

Check out some of the other bear hunting threads right here. There's a LOT of hunting knowledge to be gained here. Relax & enjoy the hunt. You may get an opportunity at a bear, you may not.

Be prepared for the expense of a rug though - they're pretty expensive. Not unusual for a typical black bear rug to run $900 - $1000 anymore.

Regards, Guy
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