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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I grabbed a tag this year. Never hunted bear, but see them in the woods around camp. The title may sound like I want to know how to find them, but I'm wanting to learn what to do if I get one, haha. I am aware that they need to be brought to the check station, Jersey Shore is closest that I know of.


The itching questions:
1. Field dressing: is it straight forward enough if you are experienced with dressing a deer? Any big gotchas?
2. Drag considerations: Some of my deer have gotten pretty beat up on the drag to camp, it's as rocky as PA gets where I hunt. I figure I'd want to get a rug or something if I ever get a first bear. Maybe their coat is super tough and not a concern? Separately, God forbid I got a big one, what are the chances I need to call for help?
3. Butchering: I don't butcher my deer, because a relative is a professional butcher, but I've recently gotten interested and am considering it. But, what about a bear? Do butchers even handle them, or is this something you just have to do yourself?


Bottom line, I'm just curious what I'm getting myself into if I ever get a bear. I do not believe anyone at my camp has bear experience. Odds are low, hopes are high, but I want to be prepared!
 

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1.You gut them like a deer.
2.Dragging a bear is harder than dragging a deer pound for pound.If you have snow,deer slide across and bear's stick to it.In rough terrain,we always hang them on a pole and carry them out.Deer carts work well with bear if you have a trail.
3.Most butchers will do bear but like field dressing,it's just like a deer.The big difference is,you want to get the hide off and trim the fat as soon as possible.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
In rough terrain,we always hang them on a pole and carry them out.
I've never seen that done in person, but it was the first thing I thought of. Honestly, wasn't sure if it's something people really do anymore at all.
 

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Several years ago,I was hunting with a big group and we killed three on the first two drives.It was a long,steep,thick drag out and that's what we did until one brain child sent someone back to his truck for a cart.They put 2 160-180lb bears on the cart and tried to push and pull it over rocks and logs.It was actually funny because the guy's who's idea it was refused to throw in the towel.I went with the guys who had the bear still on a pole and we made it out probably two hours before the rest of the crew.The bears were dead by 8:00am and it took those other guys til 3:00 pm to get them out.Last year we killed a 157lb dressed boar at around 8:00am.We finished it off about 100 yards from a rails to trails but it was 1.97 gps miles to the truck.We had about 3-4" of snow and it was miserable with three of us dragging it.Bears don't slide on snow.Snow seems to stick to their hide and dig in.I wish we would have had a cart for that one because it was level.I absolutely hate getting bears out.They seem heavier than they are and they never die in places that are easy to get them out.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
If you have snow, big plastic toboggans work well if the bear fits. Also, have used a 10x10 plastic tarp as sled, worked great too
I recently started carrying a tarp with me, for deer, but haven't been able to try it out yet. Even without snow, it seems like it would help keep the animal from getting caught between every other rock, and keep it clean.
 

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Bear are like huge water balloon. It seems that no matter where you grab hold of them and start lifting or pulling all the weight immediately runs to the other end.

Plastic sled, tarps and carts are all very helpful in moving bears on the ground. Otherwise carrying is the best option.

As Doug said gutting and skinning is about like a deer. The only thing is skinning a bear always seemed harder because you can't pull large sections of the hide without cutting.

It is great meat if properly cared for but you do have to make sure you get all of the fat trimmed off while butchering. The fat makes great lard and keeps forever if rendered down and strained properly.

Dick Bodenhorn
 

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Have friends lined up on standby. Better to have them and not need them - than to need them and not have them.
 

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We've taken a 700lb'der that luckily was on private land we were able to use a quad to get out. Another around 614lbs that thank goodness we had about 20 guys in our group to take turns dragging him out (not to mention he expired in a heavy laurel swamp). Tarps definitely help with the smaller ones.
 

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I’ve used quads, side by sides, Jet Sleds, and poles to get them out. If you use a pole, get enough pole, and keep the bear tied tight so it doesn’t swing.

As far as butchering, I’ve found bear meat grinds much harder than venison in the meat grinder. I also like bear roasts, I think the fat on a bear tastes good, as opposed to venison.

I like to use my rounded beaver knife to skin them. Keep a good sharpening steel handy to keep the edge on the knife. Bear hair dulls a knife fast.
 

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Wether its 20 outside or 60 you need to take the hide off and cool it asap....a bear can rot overnight even in the teens.....all that fat and the hide hold alot of heat....
 

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I’ve talk to several WCO, the rule is the whole bear must come to the check station. It can be in pieces as long as everything comes out minus the guts.The definition for whole is 1) all of; entire 2) in an unbroken state; in one piece. The said 1 would be what they go by.
 
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