Second only to white-tails, black bears are the most sought after big game in North America. They can be found across a majority of Canada and in at least 40 states in the US. The American black bear is the smallest of the three different species found in North America. These animals tend to live and hunt in solitude, minus a mother bear and her cubs. However, they can be found in groups in times where food in sparse.
Variables to Consider When Hunting
Location: Black bears can be found from Alaska to Mexico, across most of Canada, and in over 40 states in the US. They are extremely adaptable animals which is why they have continued to thrive in almost every habitat in North America. Generally speaking, however, black bears prefer heavily forested areas with plenty of food variety.
Solunar Calendar: According to a theory laid out by John Alden Knight in 1926, animal movement is affected by the position and fullness of the moon. This theory was said to be used by hunters and fishermen long before Knight’s theory was published and is still widely accepted and adopted today.
Time of Year: Black bears can be hunted in the Spring and Fall months, although specific hunting times are dictated by the state or province. While many locations offer springtime hunting, the best time of year to hunt black bear is in the fall when they are on a constant move for food in preparation for their long winter sleep.
Time of Day: If you are hunting in the fall, chances are, you will spot a black bear at any given time throughout the day. However, as a general rule-of-thumb, the best time to hunt black bear is in the morning or early evening when they are most certainly on the search for food.
Temperature: As mentioned above, black bears are extremely adaptable animals and live in many different climates. However, as temperatures begin to fall, bears are more actively in search for food to bulk up for the winter. The same can be said about the cool days of early spring when bears are waking from their hibernation and ready for a big breakfast (or dinner).
Barometric Pressure: Black bears do not seem to be affected much by changes in barometric pressure. However, bears, as with most animals, tend to be the most active during the coolest times of the day.
General Weather Conditions: Black bears are resilient animals. Rain and other unpleasant weather conditions do not seem to dramatically affect their movement. However, weather conditions that involve strong winds should be avoided as black bears sense of smell is estimated to be seven times stronger than that of a bloodhound.
Wind: Wind is one of the most important factors to consider when hunting black bear. Because of their keen sense of smell it is important to position yourself downwind. It is said that a black bear can smell an animal carcass from as far as 20 miles away.
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