Published on May 2, 2018
BY TRACY BREEN
When most people think about bowhunting for bears, they think about sitting in a tree twenty yards from a drum full of cookies or fish waiting on Mr. Big. Although this style of bear hunting is fun and the success rate is often extremely high, there are other ways of bear hunting that are more exciting. One tactic that is used out west a lot is spot and stalk hunting. Shane Mowery from Bear Maniacs TV has done his fair share of bear hunting. Mowery lives in Idaho and loves chasing black bears with a bow. “There is something about sneaking up on a predator with a bow that is very exciting. It can be a little intimidating which is what makes it fun,” Mowery explained.
GLASSING FOR BEARS
Mowery uses binoculars and spends lots of time hiking in search of bears when hunting this way. “Much like elk hunting or deer hunting, the goal is to get on a mountain or hill that overlooks a good feeding area and glass for bears. After I spot a bear that I want to go after, I put a plan together and try to slip in on the bear.”
Sometimes the stalk is super short and easy; other times it takes a long time. “Like with any stalking situation, the goal is to take your time and be extremely patient. I only move when I know the bear can’t see me or is preoccupied. Many people think that bears can’t see and there is no question their vision isn’t as good as a deer, but they still notice movement,” Mowery explained. “My favorite type of spot and stalk hunt is when I can get to where a bear is headed. If I notice a bear feeding towards a certain section of woods, I try to cut him off on the way.”
LOOK FOR COVER
Mowery often uses brush, bushes and trees to get in close. “If bears are feeding in an open meadow, stalking close can be difficult. I usually try to hunt where I know there is a little bit of cover. Even a small rise in a meadow or a low area can be used to slip in close.”
FIND FOOD AND WATER
At the end of the day, it all boils down to finding food. “There are many bears out here and stalking them isn’t extremely difficult. This is a hunt almost any hunter can do, even if they are on a budget. The key is finding the food. Hunters should plan on spending a lot of time hiking and glassing grassy meadows in search of bears. The cool thing is because since they are black or brown, finding them feeding with a pair of binoculars isn’t extremely difficult.”
Are you looking for a hunt full of adventure that doesn’t break the bank? Give black bear hunting this spring or fall. The success rate is often high, the cost is reasonable, and the excitement level is often off the charts.