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Everything You Need to Know about Bear Hunting:

Hunting animals is legal in some parts of the United States of America, though laws may vary from state to state. It has become a lifestyle, a sport and a means of living. One of the animals that you can hunt for in America is a bear.

There are many types of bears that you can hunt in the country. In the US and Canada, black bears are classified as a game animal. There are 27 states where you can hunt black bears, but 4 states confer no legal status, giving no protection to such type of bear. A lot of states have no regulations to some of the hunting practices that are considered cruel:

Bear Baiting:

In this kind of bear hunt, the animals are lured to a site with food or other things that will attract them while the hunters wait for them in a blind near the site, making sure that that is within point-blank range. Bear baiting is deemed “unsporting” not only because it does not follow the rules of a fair chase, but also because it encourages unnatural habits in bears, such as developing a liking for human food. Aside from that, it can also increase the number of orphaned cubs because female bears don’t take their cubs when searching for food.

Spring Bear Hunting:

Bears wake up from hibernation during spring. Because they have been asleep for quite some time, they wake up groggy and malnourished, making them an easy target to hunters. Some bears may also have given birth recently, which could orphan a lot of cubs if they are hunted down. Although there are state regulations that prohibit the hunting of nursing bears, it can be difficult to tell the gender of black bear in the wild.

Trading of Bear Parts:

Two of the highest selling bear parts in Asian markets are the gallbladder and paws. However, Asian bear species are imperiled, forcing the market to turn to Canada, America and Russia. With the high price of said bear parts, more and more hunters are motivated to kill these creatures. What’s worse is that they also kill cubs because there no difference in the size of the gallbladders. And since there is no way to distinguish whether an extracted body part is poached or killed with a permit, many hunters get away with it, allowing them to sell more bear body parts. As a result, this could seriously threaten their populations.

Hounding:

This involves dogs to chase bears from their hiding, making the hunt easier. These hounds are equipped with especially made collars that alert the hunters of the bears’ location. This practice can put bears into a lot of stress, which could possibly lead to death from starvation or too much heat in the fall. Hounding can also separate mother
bears from their cubs, leaving the young easy targets for poachers and other predators. This hunting practice is legal in many states though.

History of Bear Hunting:

In Europe, bear hunting was done as a rite of passage for young men. This was practiced by Gothic and Norse tribes who only used knives.

During the late Middle Ages, eating bear meat was considered aristocratic. Meanwhile, in Tyrol and Piedmont, villages need to present a set a number of bear paws to the local lord year after year.

In Northern America, it was a tradition of the Kodiak Natives or Alutiiqs to hunt bears for clothing, tools and food. They used spears and arrows as hunting equipment. However, as a sign of respect to the spirits of the bears they hunted, the Kodiaks would leave the heads in the field. In the 1800s, bear hides were sold for USD10. In 1743, 16,512 furs were sent to the port of Rochelle in France.

As settlers started to move west in search of more lands for ranching, bears were also increasingly considered a threat to livestock, causing them to be hunted down more. In fact, a “War of Extinction” against bears and wolves was declared in Ohio in 1818. From 1850 to 1920, the unregulated killing of these animals became more widespread. And between 1920 and 1970, the population of bears further declined by 52%. Luckily, grizzly bears managed to escape and survive in remote areas.

Other Methods Used in Bear Hunting:

Snaring:

This is practiced in the Russian Far East. It uses a lasso-like rope that’s made into a loop. It is then hung across a place where bears are known to frequent. The end of the rope is then tied to a tree. Once a bear passes the area, the rope catches the bear and the lasso tightens its grip as the animal moves. Eventually, the bear will be trapped and will no longer be able to move. The hunter will then arrive at the spot where the ensnared bear is and kill it.

Calling:

Bears are usually attracted to the sound of an injured prey. But they can have quite a short attention span, so if the sound stops, they’ll also stop in their tracks. This is why, in this method of bear hunting, two callers will be needed to call the bear.

Spearing:

This method uses the bear spear, which is a medieval weapon used for hunting bears and other animals. This tool has a larger head and usually forms a bay leaf. A short  crosspiece can be found under the head. This helps fixing the weapon in the body of a bear.

Poison;

In the western part of America, poison can be used to kill bears, but very rarely as these animals can be harder to poison than other carnivores.

Bear hunting may be legal in many parts of the United States, but it’s still important to find out which laws apply in a particular state. For example, when hunting in Alaska and you’re not a resident, you will need to have a guide present. Meanwhile, in Florida, hunters will need a landowner permission to be able to hunt bears. By familiarizing the laws, you won’t get in trouble with the law.