Shooting to Control Black Bear


Shooting is effective, but often a last resort, in dealing with a problem black bear. Permits are required in most states and provinces to shoot a bear out of season. To increase the probability of removing the problem bear, shooting should be done at the site where damage has occurred. Bears are most easily attracted to baits from dusk to dark. Place baits in the damaged area where there are safe shooting conditions and clear visibility. Use large, well-anchored carcass baits or heavy containers filled with rancid meat scraps, fat drippings, and rotten fruit or vegetables. Establish a stand roughly 100 yards (100 m) downwind from the bait and wait for the bear to appear. Strive for a quick kill, using a rifle of .30 caliber or larger. The animal must be turned over to wildlife authorities in most states and provinces.

Calling bears with a predator call has been reported to offer limited success. If nothing else works, it can be tried. It is best to use two people when calling since the bear may come up in an ugly mood, out of sight of the caller. As with any method of bear control, be cautious and use an adequate-caliber rifle to kill the bear. Call in the vicinity of the damage, taking proper precautions by wearing camouflage clothing, orienting the wind to blow the human scent away from the direction of the bear’s approach, and selecting an area that provides clear visibility for shooting. See Blair (1981) for bear-calling methods. Some states allow the use of dogs to hunt bears. Guides and professional hunters with bear dogs can be called for help. Place the dogs on the track of the problem bear. Often the dogs will be able to track and tree the bear, allowing it to be killed, and thus solving the bear problem quickly.

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