Spot-And-Stalk Black Bears — With a Bow

Most bowhunters traveling west think of elk, muleys or pronghorns, but don’t forget about thrilling spot-and-stalk adventures for black bears.

Spot-And-Stalk Black Bears — With a Bow

Does getting bowhunting-close to a predator that can cave in your skull with a single swipe of its paw sound like fun? I think so, and so does big-bear guru, Huntin’ Fool CEO, and Montana native Jerrod Lile (above). When it comes to slipping in close on big black bears by way of spot-and-stalk, few do it better than Lile, and he was more than happy to share his approach, which follows.

 “The hardest thing about spot-and-stalk black bear hunting is finding a bear to go after,” he said. “I won’t commit to a unit unless I know it has a good number of bears, some big bears and some suitable glassing terrain.

“Put yourself not on top of, but close to areas where bears are going to feed. These locales can include acorn patches, bug and insect-rich meadows and areas where wild berries are prevalent.

“Once a good bear is spotted, get to going. Bears move quickly. They can graze a mile in no time at all. A feeding bear really never stops moving. Have a buddy give you hand signals or, where legal, use a radio. Don’t overthink it. I’ve screwed up too many stalks by trying to be too precise on my route. Get them located and get to going.

“Bears don’t have great eyesight. You can get away with some things. I’ve gotten away with some incredible in-the-open stalks. You just can’t ever, ever, ever move when the bear is looking at you. Beyond that, their nose is incredible. If the wind is wrong, your stalk doesn’t have a chance. Their ears are also really good, too, so keep that in mind during your approach.”

Remember these tips from Jerrod Lile, have fun and enjoy! There’s a great deal of fun to be had in the western black bear woods.


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