Black bear hunting can be the ultimate adventure. Bears are impressive, solitary animals whose behavior is different than any other game, making their hunt more involved. A black bear can turn from the hunted to the hunter at any time, adding a level of adventure unlike hunting other big game.
Stalking black bear requires every hunting skill you possess, as they are highly adaptable and savvy animals. Black bears have an extremely sharp sense of smell and remarkable hearing. Their only limited sense is their eyesight, so you’ll need to play the wind and move silently in order to stay undetected. If a black bear does sense you, chances are the bear will never get close to you. But staying focused and alert will improve your chances for a successful black bear hunt.
How Do You See Black Bears When Hunting?
Contrary to their name, black bears can actually vary in color, from jet-black to blond. Cinnamon and brown colors are quite common in the black bear species. The region we hunt in New Mexico is known for producing very large black bears. However, although we’ve seen skull sizes up to 20” in our region, surprisingly, black bears are the smallest bear species in North America behind grizzly and polar bears.
Bear baiting is one method of attracting black bear in dense or inaccessible areas, but some wonder if this practice removes “the hunt” from the hunt. In New Mexico, there is an abundance of black bear so hunters can easily track them in tight cover or glass them as they move across the landscape of their natural habitat without the need for baiting.
What is Black Bear Hunting in the New Mexico Gila Like?
While people hunt black bears on public land throughout North America, guided hunts on private land have the best results. As with all big game hunting, the benefit of a guided black bear hunt is our 30+ years of extensive knowledge and familiarity of this private land. We know the best areas and trails to use to get our hunters in the optimal area for hunting. Plus, there won’t be a constant flow of other hunters coming and going throughout the land. Our guided groups are kept to a small handful of hunters, so you won’t get frustrated by other hunters scaring off the bear you’re tracking.
Our 5-day black bear hunts are scheduled between August and November and see an average success rate of over 80%. Most of our bear hunting is done with strike dogs from on top of their hunting box, or from horseback riding behind a crew of hard-driving hounds. Stand hunting can also be productive in the right situation and is sometimes selected for hunters who are not up to the rigors of hound hunting. Black bear hunting can even be combined with our other big game packages. Contact us to arrange a combination hunt.
The abundance of black bears in New Mexico means permits are readily available over the counter. A New Mexico OTC license vendor list can be found at the New Mexico Game & Fish website.
How Can You Put Your Successful Black Bear Hunt to Use?
Black bears provide a variety of uses after a successful hunt. Many hunters will have the head mounted for their trophy room. Their fat can be used for waterproofing and their hides can be used in clothing, rugs, or simply as a memento of the hunt.
Black bear meat has been a protein tradition since the early western settlers. Roasts and grind are the best uses for their meat. Bear are tough animals, so steaks are a little trickier to perfect, but slow-cooked stew, chili, tacos, burgers and other dishes taste great with black bear meat.
Ready to Hunt Black Bear?
This is the question we’ve been waiting for. If you’re ready to book your black bear hunting trip with us, download our handy form and book your trip today. We’re here to answer any questions you might have about the black bear hunt package, our hunting region, or what it’s like to hunt black bear. Get in touch with any questions. We look forward to having you for an unforgettable hunting experience.