Maine Black Bear Hunt!!!!

Powell

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2013
Messages
212
Location
Colorado
Buddy and I booked a Maine Black Bear hunt, over bait for mid September this year. I'm a Colorado native and have shot Antelope, Mule deer and Elk with everything from a 243 up to a 300WM. Longest shot was this year on a Bull Elk at 588 yds with a 6.5 Gap with a 143 ELD-X, one and done. We spend a lot of time shooting steel out to 1200 yds, occasionally farther. I see this type of Bear hunt being a total different beast. if we are even able to see 100 yds I would be surprised. No new rig for this hunt, just changing things around that I already have.

First through is to break out the ole 45-70, Marlin 1895.

But, would the .50 Beowulf or a 338 Lapua or ___________ be a better choice or just different or? I know dead is dead and well placed shot and right bullet matter. just asking the guys with experience in this area.

45-70 (has a 2-7 Nikon - so so optic, small obj but nice and low profile) probably run the 325 gr LeverEvelution. or can load others
The Beowulf currently has a 1.6-8 Steiner NightHunter Extreme w/3P#4 with red dot, run 350 gr XTP or I have a couple others bullets to load.
338 Lapua, Think I would put a 1.5-10 Leica Magnus. Thinking I would run either 300gr Accubonds or 285 Barnes TSX.

Input welcome.
Thanks in advance.
 

Bill Cauley Jr

Well-Known Member
LRH Team Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2016
Messages
1,388
Location
Tn
Buddy and I booked a Maine Black Bear hunt, over bait for mid September this year. I'm a Colorado native and have shot Antelope, Mule deer and Elk with everything from a 243 up to a 300WM. Longest shot was this year on a Bull Elk at 588 yds with a 6.5 Gap with a 143 ELD-X, one and done. We spend a lot of time shooting steel out to 1200 yds, occasionally farther. I see this type of Bear hunt being a total different beast. if we are even able to see 100 yds I would be surprised. No new rig for this hunt, just changing things around that I already have.

First through is to break out the ole 45-70, Marlin 1895.

But, would the .50 Beowulf or a 338 Lapua or ___________ be a better choice or just different or? I know dead is dead and well placed shot and right bullet matter. just asking the guys with experience in this area.

45-70 (has a 2-7 Nikon - so so optic, small obj but nice and low profile) probably run the 325 gr LeverEvelution. or can load others
The Beowulf currently has a 1.6-8 Steiner NightHunter Extreme w/3P#4 with red dot, run 350 gr XTP or I have a couple others bullets to load.
338 Lapua, Think I would put a 1.5-10 Leica Magnus. Thinking I would run either 300gr Accubonds or 285 Barnes TSX.

Input welcome.
Thanks in advance.
At that distance I would think the 4570 lever gun would be ideal
 

Capt RB

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2014
Messages
1,730
I ran hounds in Vt NH and Me on bears and coyotes. I've seen them shot with revolvers to 338 Winchester mags at short range. The most devastated bear I was a part of was shot with a 243 using the 85grn bthp from sierra @ about 3300fps. So with that being said, you can use pretty much anything that you would for deer. The thing I did notice is that the slow cartridges didn't do near as much damage as the speedy ones regardless of caliber. At closer range I'd take a 150--165 mono metal in a 30cal as fast as I could push it over many other options. I'd also have the biggest obj bell on the brightest scope I could afford because the biggest bears come from the shadows late. Pick up a couple bags of mashmellows also:cool:
Your 6.5 with a 139 sledge hammer screaming would give you some serious stomp plus the option to sit a clear cut if they had a long range option Something to ask about back it up with your elk load.
 

Alibiiv

Well-Known Member
LRH Team Member
Joined
Jun 17, 2013
Messages
1,176
Location
Rhode Island
"I see this type of Bear hunt being a total different beast. if we are even able to see 100 yds I would be surprised." My only reply to that statement is "Yup!" you are right there. I've been black bear hunting over bait in Maine for six or seven seasons now. Your shots will probably be within the 40-60 yard distance, and.....my experience has been that the shooting time will probably a Marlin 45-70 Guide gun with 300 grain Barnes hollow points; but.....only managed to shoot a tree trophy this year. The guides really appreciate a through-and-though hole for a blood trail, the 45-70 or larger caliber ought to work well. Anyway due to shooting close to dark I have Leupold VXR Firedot scopes on all of my black bear rifles (35 Whelen/.358 Winchester, Marlin Guide Gun), and....I can honestly say that without the Firedot my shooting capabilities would be very limited. Where did you book your trip?

I cannot emphasize enough about an illuminated reticle on the scope, they generally will come in late. You will be hunting in woods that are generally dark in nature and overgrown. One minute you will be looking at the bait barrel, and suddenly there will be a black object that will seem to appear out of no where. The last bear that I shot there was ten minutes left of shooting time, I could not see the crosshairs in the scope, but could see the red dot. The details of the bear were not clear, however I could see the silhouette, lined the dot up center mass and harvested a 235 pound sow.
 
Last edited:

Varmint Hunter

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 26, 2001
Messages
3,272
Location
Long Island, New York
I've taken quite a few black bears with the 45-70. Most of the bears were taken in Maine or New Brunswick although the bear in my avatar was taken in central Newfoundland. It would be unusual for you to be able to see and/or shoot a bear in the heavily forested terrain at 100yds unless an outfitter has specifically set up a bait site for shooting at that distance. Bait pails are typically set up at about 20-30yds because the stands are often used by bowhunters.

IMO, there are few cartridges that are better suited for this type of (short range, biggame) hunting than the 45-70. I've used the 350gr Hornady, the 300 TSX, the 400 Speer JFP and the 350 Swift A-Frames. All work well but my favorite has become the 400 Speer. This bullet is soft enough to expand significantly at 45-70 velocities but holds together for reliable penetration. I have yet to catch one in a bear. A large exit wound is important in a bear that is laden with fat and covered with long hair. It's amazing how fast a bear can just "disappear" in the dense undergrowth.

The expanded Speer 400 JFN pictured was taken from the off-side hide of a 350lb boar hog after penetrating both thick shields covering the boars shoulders.

Speer 400 JFP 1.jpg
 

Powell

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2013
Messages
212
Location
Colorado
With a baited bear hunt you will be talking feet not yards. More than likely your outfitter is also setting up for bow as well as gun. Be prepared for a low light situation as well. Big bullet and break the bear down.
Bow Rifle or Handgun option. I would like to shoot one with a bow, just don't have enough time with one for that to be my go to. Low light for sure. Looks like full moon the week before, so should be good and dark at night. On that note, bears are nocturnal but are they more or little less active on no moon nights?
 

Powell

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2013
Messages
212
Location
Colorado
@Varmint Hunter what are loading those with? what is your go do powder? I haven't spent any time reloading for the 45-70 but have the stuff to do it. It was one of those guns I always thought was cool to have, just don't do anything with. Probably don't have 50 rounds through it and I shot 15 yesterday.
 

Alibiiv

Well-Known Member
LRH Team Member
Joined
Jun 17, 2013
Messages
1,176
Location
Rhode Island
Bow Rifle or Handgun option. I would like to shoot one with a bow, just don't have enough time with one for that to be my go to. Low light for sure. Looks like full moon the week before, so should be good and dark at night. On that note, bears are nocturnal but are they more or little less active on no moon nights?
Every outfitter who I have hunted with in Maine has always made their hunters show proficiency with their rifles and their bows. I believe that lunar phases affect bear activity.
 

Varmint Hunter

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 26, 2001
Messages
3,272
Location
Long Island, New York
@Varmint Hunter what are loading those with? what is your go do powder? I haven't spent any time reloading for the 45-70 but have the stuff to do it. It was one of those guns I always thought was cool to have, just don't do anything with. Probably don't have 50 rounds through it and I shot 15 yesterday.
This is a cut & paste from my reloading records. The rifle is a Marlin 1895SBL with an 18" bbl

@ 300 yds / 45.0 H4198 / 1,750-8 / 3-3.24" 2-1.72" / 07-03-14

Another victim of that load:

Charlie & Pig.JPG
 

Savage 12BVSS

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2019
Messages
824
Location
Maine
I
ran hounds in Vt NH and Me on bears and coyotes. I've seen them shot with revolvers to 338 Winchester mags at short range. The most devastated bear I was a part of was shot with a 243 using the 85grn bthp from sierra @ about 3300fps. So with that being said, you can use pretty much anything that you would for deer. The thing I did notice is that the slow cartridges didn't do near as much damage as the speedy ones regardless of caliber. At closer range I'd take a 150--165 mono metal in a 30cal as fast as I could push it over many other options. I'd also have the biggest obj bell on the brightest scope I could afford because the biggest bears come from the shadows late. Pick up a couple bags of mashmellows also:cool:
Your 6.5 with a 139 sledge hammer screaming would give you some serious stomp plus the option to sit a clear cut if they had a long range option Something to ask about back it up with your elk load.
Live up here and help with bear baiting sometimes. Should be 20-65yds on average and IT WILL BE LOW LIGHT WHEN THEY COME IN. Not difficult if you know your rifle and place your shot, shoulder or behind is a good spot, they head for the nastiest cover when hit and maine has a lot of nasty cover. Enjoy your hunt and the maine woods at dark. 😮
 

flylo

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2013
Messages
144
I've killed a lot of bear in Western UP of Michigan & Savage 12BVSS nailed it. Short range, low light, most will make you work hard to retrieve them. I used a 45/70 Contender handgun for years then a 450 Marlin in a BFR & a Marlin guide gun using heavy hard cast to break 'em down. I seldom heard them coming in, they can be very quiet. I just bought a pair of 454 Casull Raging Bulls I'd like to try but my hunting days are over. Make up 4 hooks out of wood round handrail with the flat on the bottom & a 60p common or sinker bent nail so you can hook them thru the wrist front & back to carry them out & get them cool asap as bear meat doesn't last like deer. Wish I could go. Hope you get a bobcat close screaming. Enjoy!
 
Top