Tactics for hunting bears solo..... - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-23-2019, 10:44 PM Thread Starter
The Man
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Tactics for hunting bears solo.....

I have fired 12 shots at PA black bears......but I have yet to tag one. None of them were good shots-all running through thick brush or out kinda far. I've hunted with several groups of guys who were putting on drives, and always had a lot of fun, but my desire is to get one while hunting on my own.
I was interested in hearing some tactics info from you guys who hunt alone and have had success. Do you sit in stands on escape routes and wait? Do you track them? Do you still hunt through known areas and walk up on them? Whatever?

I hunted a new area this past season and found a thicket that had no less than 10 sets of bear tracks leading in to it in the snow. I circled the entire thicket and not one set of tracks was coming out. I got on a set and followed it for a while, but only succeeded in pushing out a sow with cubs that another hunter missed.
I never have trouble finding where they are. I just have trouble closing the deal.

What tactics do you use???
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-23-2019, 11:49 PM
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Iíve killed a couple in Pa., and shot at 2 others while hunting alone. I used to watch the edges of standing corn, until I figured out the bears didnít arrive until it was completely dark. Now I try to get close to their bedding area nearer the river, which is about 3/4 from some cornfields up on top. Itís a crapshoot, bears will come up these trails, but thereís a bunch of ways up the hollow. And sometimes they donít break cover and move until dark. I hunt every evening of the season in the hollows now, usually from 3pm till dark.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-24-2019, 08:47 AM
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I never shot at one in pa. This year was the closest i have come. Pulling my bow up and one comes running in and stops 35 yards wide open. Only have my bow about half way up. Every bow season i have bears in range. Only when the season isn't in!
I know a fellow that has shot 6 out of the same treestand in rifle bear season.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-24-2019, 09:07 AM
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tactics vary wildly based on terrain, food sources etc. If hunting ag land, find cornfields that the bear are spending time in and sit all day at the most likely entry/exit routes. If hunting big woods, find the food and focus on food sources close to very thick cover. Also, it helps to focus your time where bear densities are highest, especially if hunting with a bow.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-24-2019, 10:45 AM
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Haven't closed the deal either. I hunt sign & food. Pretty much a crap shoot once typical first day pressure starts. Hoping that the Oct Early ML Bear Season proposal is passed as that's when I seem to see more bear vs any other time of the year.

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-24-2019, 11:28 AM
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Shooting that bear while hunting alone is only a small part of the deal, the deal isn't closed until he is laying on a tailgate.
I never shot one alone but have seen them here in 3D with bear still open the first week of antlered deer. Depending on the situation, unless I had others that I was hunting with around to help with the drag not sure I would even take a shot.
With the State Park and SGL not allowing driving on closed roads or allowing ATVs its a muscle all the way drag out.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-24-2019, 11:36 AM
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Something I think is worth adding to this thread is that the different areas of PA (NW, NC, NE, etc.) all ledge to different habitat types for bear hunting. In NC PA you might be hunting more steep river valleys with lural or 10 year old clear cuts that are stupid thick. In NE PA where I do most of my bear hunting you'll find more bears in swamps. Having permission to hunt a corn field might be more universal across PA than anything else. I find unless the food source is ag a significant amount of mast crop is eaten already by bear season.

I hunt with a large driving party during bear season. However, the past several years I've been really thinking about trying to bear hunt (during the deer season overlap) on my own. I wouldn't give up the comradery of hunting with the crew and it's just so much fun, but after bear season is over everyone does their own thing. I know I hunt very hard and often wonder how successful I would be by myself. Sneaking through a swamp or a thicket to find a bear would be taking inches in hours on a clam day. Depending on how far the bear is in there it could be a day long venture. I know of a few areas that are way back in there. I think this coming season I'm going to try areas where they might be entering and exiting some of the bedding areas or escape routes when pressured.

One thing I've noticed throughout the years of hunting with a driving crew is where the bears come out of the swamps is usually the same spots or general areas year after year and bear after bear. Things get really interesting when the stander doesn't down the bear right away though. I also believe they enter the swamps in the same general area also.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-24-2019, 02:21 PM Thread Starter
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I should add that I hunt the NC part of the state. Ridges and valleys, steep hills, laurel, no agricaulture. etc.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-24-2019, 02:29 PM Thread Starter
The Man
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Originally Posted by Loggy View Post
Hoping that the Oct Early ML Bear Season proposal is passed .
Me too. I am taking ALL of my hunting vacation time in the various bear seasons. Until I put my tag on one, nothing else matters to me.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-24-2019, 02:31 PM
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Hunt the thickest stuff you can find, laurel, clear cut's, briars and swamps. That's where they will be. Or walk until you find fresh tracks and follow them.
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