Black bear hunting

Black bear hunting in Alaska

Black bear hunting is popular among the Alaskan residents and the state also receives a substantial amount of visitor each year that wish to participate in Black bear hunting.

There are several things that you can do in order to maximize your Black bear hunting experience and increase the chance of a clean kill. To ensure a thriving Black bear population for the future, it is important that you are selective during Black bear hunting. If hunters are not selective, over harvesting can become a problem and the Alaskan Department of Fish and Game might be forced to decrease the Black bear hunting season or restrict the bag limits. Always select a large adult male Black bear. Shooting a sow with cubs is banned since the cubs need their mother to survive. Keep in mind that sows often hide their cubs somewhere, so even if you can not see any cubs around a female Black bear she might still have cubs depending on her. 

Before you engage in Black bear hunting, you should make sure that you know how to distinguish between male and female Black bears even from a distance. You should also be able to correctly estimate the size of a bear. Black bears can look deceivingly large when you encounter them and many unskilled Black bear hunters end up killing small Black bears. If you use a bait station, you can set up a marked stake and use it to more easily determine the true size of the approaching bears.

When you set up your bait station, the first few bears that come to feed are probably females since female Black bears have smaller home ranges and therefore find new feeding spots quicker within their territory. If you are patient and refrains form simply shooting the first bear you see, you will most likely be rewarded with a visiting large adult male Black bear in due time.

During Black bear hunting, you should always investigate all shots even if you believe that you missed the bear. An injured Black bear will often run into the forest and try to hide. It is your responsibility to track and recover it.  

One example of a popular Black bear hunting destination is the so called Unit 6D in Prince William Sound where a large and thriving Black bear population can be found. The Black bear hunting season in Prince William Sound starts in mid April and continues into mid June. This means that if you are a keen sport fisher as well as a hunter, you can combine your Black bear hunting trip with some Halibut and King Salmon (Chinook) fishing. Prince William Sound consists of 3,000 miles of shoreline and many Black bear hunting trip arrangers will transport you to Prince William Sound using a boat rather than a terrestrial vehicle. It should however be noted that Black bear hunting from boats is prohibited in Unit 6D in Prince William Sound. Stalking bears on foot will typically create less wounding loss and a cleaner kill.

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