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Location: Titusvlle, PA
Joined: 10/29/2006
Posts: 2
Black Bear Hunting Question

I live in Venango county PA and I am planning on going black bear hunting this fall. I'm going to be honest I know hardly anything about black bear hunting. I know they like brush. I have two spots near my house were there is some brush (older clearcuts). I also have a lot of eastern hemlocks. Do bears tend to hang out in these or advoid them. I don't have anyone to really go with so a drive is out of the question. What are some tactics I could use? Also what should I look for when scouting? Do they follow a routine? Any tips would be appreiciated.

Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Joined: 10/26/2006
Posts: 357
Black Bear Hunting Question

Hey bud, I'm going out for Bear this fall for the first time as well, there are plenty of members on here that can provide good advice for you, I"m just learning about all the sign to look for such as trails, dung, tracks, and trees that they scratch/tear up while looking for food as well as the mast in the area. I'm sure some of the other guys can provide more insight, good luck!

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Location: Pennsylvania
Joined: 10/28/2003
Posts: 1647
Black Bear Hunting Question

90% of Pa black bears live on 2% of Pa's habitat. That being said you want to concentrait your efforts only in that 2% of land.
To me Pa bear habitat is any of the larger swamps and there are a lot located on public land. A very good method would be to get into one of those swamps. Find a place on your topo map where the swamp narrows down enough to cover it from a tree stand (so you can get a shot from one side of the swamp to the other) and wait. You'll want to be in the middle of all the drive partys so that those guys get the bears up and moving.
When you go in to scout, bring your hip boots. Get into the middle of the swamp and find some high, dry ground and you will find plenty of bear sign. Take a stand covering the main bear trails that you will see once you get in there. Good Luck.

ADKBEAR's picture
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Location: Central NY
Joined: 09/16/2003
Posts: 823
Black Bear Hunting Question

Hunter 777 has some good advice there.
You may also want to explore ridges that have nut trees growing on them. Look for trails between these highlands and swampy areas. The bears are starting to think about the long winter nap here soon so finding food is a priority. What is in season where you are hunting? Acorns, beech nuts, hickory nuts, maple seeds? Look for food and fresh bear poop, find a spot with both and take a stand.

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Location: Titusvlle, PA
Joined: 10/29/2006
Posts: 2
Black Bear Hunting Question

Thanks so far for the help. The acorn harvest this year has been pretty bad. I'll have to check for beech nuts and berry patches. I can't think of any spots were its swampy. I've got a lot of hard woods and Eastern Hemlocks. Also how much do they move around? and do they follow a strict routine?

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Location: Pennsylvania
Joined: 10/28/2003
Posts: 1647
Black Bear Hunting Question

Berry's are about gone this time of year (at least in NE Pa). One key that makes Pa a little different from hunting bear in other states is the fact that the season is so short (3 days in most of the state) and that there are so many hunters (140,000 bear hunters). Yes I think that you could get lucky and catch a bear out feeding but with only 3 days to hunt them and nearly 65% of the bears that are harvested getting killed on the first day of the season I think it would pay to play the odds and be in those swamps (or at least a main bear trail leading into or out of those swamps) on the opening day. Let the "orange army" drive those bears and hope that one moves by you. Remember also that if you do kill a bear in Pa you have really acomplished something. There are 140,000 bear hunters and they usually average about 3,000 bears between all of them. I know guys that have been hunting bears in Pa for 20 years and have not gotten one yet! On the other hand my buddy and I went out last year and on his first bear hunt ever he killed a bear before sunrise!

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