If you were like me, and didn’t take a bear on your spring bear hunt, but you still have a tag that just might be useable in the fall.
Since most bear hunting is done in the spring, we don’t think much about a fall bear bowhunt, but such forays have some great advantages.
First, bears fatten up considerably over the summer so a fall bear is going to be a bigger bear. I know of two different Canadian wildlife biologists who trapped and weighed bears in May and retrapped the same bears in September. Both were males and both weighed more than 400 pounds in May (a huge, huge spring bear). But, get this: both boars weighed more than 800 pounds in September. Whoa, those are giant bears!
I’m not speculating that all bears will gain that much weight over a summer. However, if there is no drought and food is good, a big spring bear will be massive come fall.
Baiting In The Fall
Another plus is that bears can be baited in the fall. Check your local regulations to make sure that appplies in the area you hunt. Rob Evans, a bowhunting buddy from Minnesota has had great success with Millers Guide Service out of Silver Bay, Minn. Pat Miller agrees that fall baiting is a great way to get on really good bears. His theory is that bears are feeding heavily in the fall to get ready for a long winter sleep. His successes with fall hunts seem to back that up. It was enough to cause me to apply for a non-resident tag for Minnesota, and I got drawn. I’ll be in Pat’s camp the first week of September that’s for sure.
I took this monster Alberta bear in the spring. Can you imagine how big he would have been in the fall?
Of course Alberta and Saskatchewan, and most Canadian Provinces have great spring hunts, and great fall hunting as well. However, some of the good spring bear guides are busy with whitetail, mule deer, elk, antelope, moose, etc., in the fall, and don’t have time to run bait lines. Thus, for a fall hunt, you have to dig around to find an outfitter, especially in the Western provinces. But with the numbers of good bears found there, the effort may well be worth it.
There is another fall bowhunting option to consider. As you may recall, several years ago Ontario lost their spring bear hunting due to political shenanigans led by animal rights groups out of Toronto. Hope for getting spring bear management back in Ontario is slim, but in the mean time, the cancellation of spring hunting has led to some great fall hunting. No spring hunting means more bears and bigger ones for their fall season. I’ve not been able to try a fall Ontario bow hunt, but several friends tell me that the fall Ontario bear hunts are excellent and worth your consideration.
If you are looking for an early September bowhunt before your deer season gets rolling, or if you have a bear tag left over from an unsuccessful spring hunt, give a fall bear hunt a try. Early September is a down bowhunting time for many of us, and the bears are out there. Give it a try.
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