Video: 6 Key Differences for Spring vs. Fall Black Bear Hunts

Considering a black bear hunt for the first time? Spring or fall? Here are six key differences to consider before booking an adventure.

Video: 6 Key Differences for Spring vs. Fall Black Bear Hunts

In the 11.5-minute YouTube video below, the host of NBWildman (above) discusses the six key differences for spring vs. fall black bear hunts. As the “NB” part of his YouTube channel name suggests, the host uses his home province of New Brunswick as an example when he breaks down these differences.

A quick summary:

  1. Spring bears are leaner, so if you want to shoot the heaviest bear on record, then fall is your best time. That said, because spring bears have less fat, the meat tastes better.
  2. Spring bear hunters must wait to confirm that a solo adult bear isn’t a sow with cubs. As the host explains, spring hunters must spend a few minutes to ensure cubs aren’t hanging back in the shadows. (Check the regulations where you hunt for specific information.)
  3. Hunters must understand that bears have more food choices during fall, including agricultural crops and acorns. Food is far more limited during spring, which makes bait sites more dependable.
  4. Spring is black bear mating season, so mature boars are often on the move searching for a sow-in-heat.
  5. In much of black bear country, the prevailing wind direction during fall is northwest, but during spring it’s southwest. Most bears won’t ignore human odor, so ambush locations must be set up so hunters look into the wind.
  6. Spring bear hunts can be brutal due to biting insects and high heat. Fall hunts are often much more comfortable.

Of course, not much else is open for hunting during spring other than wild turkeys, so if you’re looking to book a bear hunt that doesn’t interfere with other big game pursuits, then spring is the obvious choice.

At the time of this writing, I’m packing for a spring black bear hunt in north-central Manitoba. I made sure to choose an outfitter that also offers fishing in the mornings before the afternoon hunt, because spring is also a great time for shallow-water northern pike. Wish me luck!


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