By Fred Lutger

Will the big bear be back? Odds are it will. I’ve had hunters encounter big bears in the spring and fall of one year and come back the following year and kill it. And some of the largest bears I’ve ever taken I got by staying put and eventually getting my chance, sometimes many days later.

I find on most bait sites there are several bears and they come and go 24 hours a day. The prime time for hunting is from 4:PM until dark. The last hour of the day more bears are shot by our hunters than all other hours combined.The fall season is different than the spring season. In the fall the breading season is over. In May and June boars are roaming looking for a sow in heat. After breeding is done these boars will establish an area that provides food and shelter and will often winter there.

Scouting cameras are a big help in establishing bear movement. But what a bear does one day doesn’t mean that is what is going to happen the next day. The key is being in the stand and ready when the bear does come.

Recovery of shot game is tricky, sometimes. A broadside, center of body-top to bottom, and tucked in tight to the front leg is the best shot placement on a bear.

Again, ground blind hunting helps guarantee a double lung hit if this shot is taken. A double lug shot bear will usually not travel more than a hundred yards, most times even less. This same shot works from a tree stand. The next best shot is quartering away. Bait hunting offers hunters these shots and the hunter needs to be patient and wait for the best shot. Bears are big animals but will go down fast with the right arrow placement.

I’ve been on the recovery of hundreds of bow shot bears. It really helps if the hunter pinpoints where they last saw the bear as well as the last sound a bear made as it ran off. Often a hunter can get back in his stand and direct me to that area and help me pick up the blood trail.

I trailed bears at night when I was younger but learned over the years that the forests are so thick with blowdowns and vegetation that a bear can be missed when only yards away. It is much easier to spot blood and other bear sign in the daylight.  My hunters work as a group and the more eyes we have the easier the recovery. That gives us more draggers too.

Picture taking is very important for any trophy you harvest. I like pictures on the spot of recovery. Take in wet wash cloths or towels to clean up the bear. A double lunged bear will spill a lot of blood out it’s nose and mouth. Assign a nose cleaner in your recovery crew and everyone will enjoy your pictures a lot better. And remember, before you move your bear or take a picture be sure and tag it.

If this all sounds like a lot of work, it is. But is one of the most enjoyable hunts you will spend in your life. For years myself, Robert Hoague, Donald Duck, Chef Klaus have gone to Ontario to bowhunt bears. What unforgetable times we have had. Bring your fishing tackle to use after you get your bear. The small mouths are line breakers. And Robert favors the Walleyes.

Remember, The best hunt is one that you return safe and sound from. Be careful on your bear hunt. Send me a picture of the big bear you kill.

If you are interested in bear hunting in Ontario, Canada, contact me at fred@freddiebearsports.com or stop by my store Freddie Bear Sports in Tinley Park, Illinois or call me at 708-532-4133.

Don’t forget, “The bears are getting bigger as we speak.”

Good Hunting,

Fred Lutger