The Top 3 Places to Hunt Black Bears in the United States
Black bears are one of the most abundant and sought-after big game animals in North America. They inhabit 27 states, from Alaska to Florida, and offer a range of hunting experiences and challenges. Whether you like baiting, hounding, spot-and-stalk, or calling, there is a black bear hunt for you. But where are the best places to hunt these magnificent creatures? Here are our top three picks for the best states for black bear hunting in the United States.
Alaska Black Bear Hunting
The Last Frontier is home to nearly 100,000 black bears, one of the largest populations in North America. Alaska also has some of the biggest bruins in the world, with some specimens weighing over 700 pounds and measuring over 7 feet. Alaska allows baited bear hunts in most areas and there are great opportunities for spot-and-stalk hunting. Huge black bears are found in coastal areas and in fact, Kuiu Island and Prince of Wales Island produce more Boone & Crockett bears than any other area of North America. Alaska also offers a unique chance to hunt black bears in the spring, when they emerge from their dens with thick winter coats and hungry appetites. The downside of hunting in Alaska is the cost and logistics. You will need to purchase a non-resident hunting license ($160) and a non-resident black bear tag ($450) for each bear you plan to harvest. You will also need to hire a guide or an outfitter, or have a close relative who is a resident to accompany you. The weather can also be unpredictable and harsh, so be prepared for delays and cancellations.
Maine Black Bear Hunting
The Pine Tree State has one of the highest densities of black bears in the country, with an estimated population of over 35,000. Maine also has a long tradition of bear hunting, dating back to the colonial times. Maine offers several methods of hunting black bears, including baiting, hounding, trapping, and still-hunting. Baiting is the most popular and successful method, accounting for over 80% of the harvest. Maine has a generous season that runs from late August to late November, with a limit of one bear per year. The cost of hunting in Maine is relatively affordable compared to other states. A non-resident hunting license costs $115 and a non-resident bear permit costs $74. You can also hunt on public land or private land with permission. The downside of hunting in Maine is the competition and pressure. Maine attracts thousands of bear hunters every year, so finding a good spot can be challenging. You may also have to deal with other hunters using different methods or interfering with your hunt.
Idaho Black Bear Hunting
The Gem State may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of black bear hunting, but it should be. Idaho has a healthy and growing population of black bears, estimated at around 20,000. Idaho also has some of the most diverse and scenic habitats for black bears, ranging from desert sagebrush to alpine meadows. Idaho does not allow baiting or hounding for black bears, but it does offer excellent opportunities for spot-and-stalk hunting. You can use binoculars or spotting scopes to locate bears feeding on berries, nuts, or grasses. You can also use predator calls to lure them in closer. Idaho has a flexible season structure that varies by region and is based on harvest objectives. Once an objective is reached in a region, the season closes for that region. This means that you have to check the status of your region before you go hunting. The cost of hunting in Idaho is reasonable compared to other states. A non-resident hunting license costs $154.75 and a non-resident bear tag costs $186. You can also hunt on public land or private land with permission.
Black bear hunting is an exciting and rewarding adventure that can be enjoyed by hunters of all skill levels and preferences. There are many places to hunt black bears in the United States, but some stand out more than others. Alaska, Maine, and Idaho are our top three