HAVE SCARES!!! – Montana Hunting and Fishing Information

The bull moose came at the call. My friend was behind me and to my left, about 20 yards away. When Darryl called, I was on one knee with my bow at the ready. I knelt in front of a small pine tree and hid. As the bull approached within 20 yards, Darryl suddenly yelled “BEAR!” When I got to my feet, a large black bear was only a few feet behind me. The Black Bear quickly turned around and ran into the forest.

The bears have learned to go into calls and shots. Both indicate a pile of fresh gut. If she had been hunting alone; the bear would have been close enough to attack. We would both have been surprised and an attack could have occurred. A large black bear can kill or injure a human as quickly as a brown bear.

Avoid bear scares;

don’t hunt alone 4 eyes and ears are better than 2. Hunt with a trusted partner.

hunting in the wind You will smell most bears before you see them. You will also smell guts or carcasses.

search signal A new signal means a bear is nearby. This means droppings, scratching trees, overturned logs, and footprints.

Bring a gun or bear spray. If you’re not hunting but just helping out, a home defense shotgun loaded with buckshot and OO rounds is a good idea. You can remove the plug and carry 5 rounds. This weapon is also an awesome camp protection weapon. Remember that in most cases of Bear Spray, the person who pulls the trigger also gets sprayed.

Consider a revolver over a semi-automatic pistol Revolvers carry 5-6 rounds. They will fire when you pull the trigger and don’t get stuck. If you can fire more than 3 shots at a charging bear, you’re better than me. If you must shoot, you must hit the bear in the head or face. This is a relatively small, moving target for a bear gun or spray. Large clips and gauges mean nothing without precision. Consider a 357 magnum with loads of hot bears. This is more accurate, compact, comfortable to wear, and powerful enough to get the job done. Your friend will also have a weapon. 

Avoid dead corpses Congregations of ravens and birds will also warn of a feeding site. The bears are surely close. Staying away!

If you see the bear, back off. Make yourself look big. Be ready to gun or spray. Make noise and back up slowly. Do not run! Leave the area.

Keep your camp bear-free Bears will enter your camp for food, smell, and curiosity. Have campers distribute human urine around the perimeter of the camp. Put solar lights on the perimeter. Don’t venture onto the perimeter at night. Use a jug to urinate or wait until morning. Cook away from the sleeping area. Dispose of food scraps and attractants properly. Some campers use string and cans as a noise alert. Electric fences are also an option.

Make noise Bears are shy. A noisy camp is not comfortable for them. Smoke from a fire will also keep bears away. Put on a radio and feel free to talk. A quiet campsite may be more curious to bears.

You are in the Bears’ living room. Always be careful. Wear protection and stay alert. If you camp close and quiet to the moose, you are in the buffet line for the bears. Always assume that the bear is at home.

The bears are as scared as you are Almost all bear encounters are by surprise. Wild boars usually run away or at worst swagger, gnash their teeth or hit the ground and then walk away. Sows with pups cause the most attacks. If you are between the mother and the puppies, the chances of an attack are maximum. Mamas will defend and protect the cubs from her. The second worst time if a bear feels competition for food or carcass.

When you return to a place of death a bear is likely nearby. They can smell blood many miles away. My experience is to butcher the creature and move the bagged meat away from the pile of guts and carcass. For a moose this means 6-7 bags of about 100 pounds of meat. Throw the meat in the direction of the camp. Suspend the meat on a tree if you need to go back to do the rest. This way, you won’t have to go near the pile of guts or the area with the corpses again. Caution and alertness remain important. Observe before approaching.

do not run Running mimics wild game and escape. This means that the food is on the move. Old hunters can’t run anyway. Where will you run too? If you drop your bow or gun while running… The chances of falling increase with each step. Stand firm and be ready to defend yourself. 

Climb a tree? This is a good idea if you’re a squirrel, but most hunters are loaded with gear. You won’t have time to remove your backpack and other slings and straps. You can’t outrun the bear, but if you must, run downhill. The larger rear body of a bear tends to bring them down. This can give you some time to climb a tree.

The scare becomes real! Your shots missed, the sprayer is empty, and the bear is on you. Let the bear have your backpack. Turn your back and pull the backpack towards your head. Ultimately, the bear will try to bite off your head or throat. Protect these areas. Get in the fetal position. If the bear continues the attack fight for your life. Use a knife, stone, fists or… Attack the bear’s face, eyes, nose and mouth. 

When do you pull the trigger? Once the bear spray is discharged, it is everywhere. You’ll end up getting the spray too. This means that you become blind. Bear spray at camp becomes an attractant once discharged. Move camp. If the bear is charging head-on and within 20 yards, shoot for the kill. Make the first shot count, no warning shots, especially if it’s a female. Its objective is the face, eyes, throat and mouth. This means a 12-inch target that bounces back and forth. A male can make a bluff charge, but a female with cubs will make contact.

The good news is that bear attacks are rare. Most of the time the bear smells you or sees you first and is gone. Sometimes it’s just a mutual moment of hello and goodbye. Encounters are more likely when food and cubs are the issue, not when you randomly bump into the woods.

Be careful, Beary, Beary!!!

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