The main thing with handling a bear after a successful hunt is to get the carcass cooled down as quickly as possible. In order to protect the meat and the trophy hide, you'll need to get the skin removed as soon as possible. If you are planning on having the hide rugged or mounted, you'll want to check with your local taxidermist for recommendations on how far he wants you to take the skinning. Generally, they will have you leave the lower legs/paws and head intact so they can skin them out carefully in their shop to their standards. If you have experience skinning you can go ahead and skin out the paws and head yourself.
Depending on how long it will be before you can get your bear hide to your taxidermist, you will either want to roll it up (fur side out) and refridgerate it or freeze it if the time will be extended. The meat needs to be cooled rather quickly also to avoid spoilage. if you don't have a local meat locker/butcher shop near where you hunt that is willing to process the meat, you'll have to quarter the bear and get the sections on ice as soon as possible. In your preparations for hunting, you should check out local supplies of ice for when you need it. Remember, you might be looking for ice late into the evening, so know where to go to get it ahead of time.
The problem with bear hunting (from the meat and hide perspective) is that its early in the season and the weather can still be very warm. If you can't recover your bear within a few hours after shooting it, there is a good chance that some of the meat (whatever is in contact with the ground when the bear dies) will be spoiled. So hold out for that perfect quartering away shot, hold steady on the shot and you should be able to recover your bear within a short distance. Then its time to get him out of the woods and take care of the meat and that trophy hide. Good luck!
In the darkness, the hunter stumbles through the underbrush, making noise and leaving his scent seemingly EVERYWHERE!
Daylight will be here in 30 minutes and he wanted to be in the stand an hour before daylight.
"I know I left that stand RIGHT in this area last night," he mutters under his breath, "but where is it now?"
He traipses back and forth in a zig zag pattern, getting himself overheated and sweaty, but never finding the stand he left there the previous evening – and eventually sits on a...