Whitetails are the most widely hunted big game animal. But bear hunting brings ''A Whole Other Feeling''.
To start off with, it is an animal you must respect. There's a real feeling that comes over you when you climb down from your tree stand that first night. It's near or after dark and the animal you are hunting is jet black. Not to mention, bears could kill you with one swipe of their front paw. If your honest, the feeling is a little fear. Especially if you are hunting over bait. Because you literally are sitting over the bears dinner table.
Now the chances of a bear attacking you are very slim, but it has to be in the back of your mind. Though a bear doesn't have to fear you, if he see's or hears you he will be gone in a flash.
This is the feeling that intrigues me the most. When I climb down from a whitetail stand I pick up my gear and go home. Never watching over my shoulder like I do when leaving a bear stand.
As big and strong as a black bear can get, you will not hear them coming. That's unless they want to be heard. Bears will often break a twig or fallen down branch to let other bear know they are coming. Sometimes even breaking down small trees to show how strong they are. Males will do this to show dominance or mark their territory. All this, hoping to scare other bear off.
Bear feel with their front paw before putting it down and then step with their rear foot in the same spot. If you see a bear trail in low soft grass, it will actually look as if a human is walking on the trail.
A bear's sense of smell is second to none. The first time a bear comes in after a stand is set up, he will know it's there. They will investigate the new human scent and find the stand. Sometimes climbing up to check it out.
Their eyesight is a lot better than it gets credit for. When they come in and look up at the stand, and they will. Stay still and you will be fine. They know the stand is there and they are just checking it out. They might even stand up on the steps of the stand to get a better look. But don't panic, they really don't want to come in the stand with you. If they know you are there, they will leave. Probably real quick. Then you will hear them going through the woods.
Their hearing is excellent , and they will hear the slightest of noise. Though they won't jump the string like a whitetail. If you breath too heavy, a bear just might hear it.
Bear Hunting Video ''BEAR DOWN''
When a bear comes in just keep quite. Move slowly and only when the bear is not looking your way. The best time is to wait until the bear is occupied. If you are at a bait station, leave the bear start to eat. If he is chewing he won't hear as well. If a female with cubs comes in don't panic. Be super quite and enjoy watching them. If they stay to dark or after, just stay put until they are gone.
If you are hunting with a guide, stay in the stand and let the guide come in and get you. When the bears hear him coming they will leave.
Bear Hunting Conclusion
Never, never try to scare them off. It could be the worst mistake of your life. I know of one hunter who thought it would be a good idea to scare one of the cubs at his bait site. When it stood up on the ladder of his stand, he said Boo. Well guess what? It worked, and within seconds mom was up the stand snapping at his feet. Lucky for him she just gave a very stern warning.
So do yourself a favor as a hunter and give bear hunting a try.
Believe me when that first bear comes into your shooting zone. It will be ''A Whole Other Feeling.''