Archery hunting for bears seems like it should require specialized equipment but it’s really not much different than elk or deer hunting in many situations. The species and current gear you use has plenty of influence on selecting broadheads and the changes that need to be made. For the average hunter however, your current gear might have you covered.
Archery Bear Hunting Basics
At Table Mountain Outfitters, our black bear hunts use a combination of hound hunting and sitting over strategically-placed bait sites. Both of these scenarios allow us to judge a bear for maturity and sex, and shots are often short range.
Accuracy and the ability to shoot at steep inclines is very helpful for the hunting style. Black bears have plenty of hide and fur to punch through. The same broadheads you would use for elk or large deer are effective for black bear hunters.
Shot Placement for Bear Hunters
Like most game, the best shots are quartering away or directly broadside. You want a clean shot with both lungs exposed and plenty of opportunity to hit organs. Archery hunters benefit from broadside shots because the arrow can do a full pass through and leave better blood trails.
Shot placement is similar to elk and deer, aiming for the lungs behind the shoulder. The shoulder has more mass and curve however and moving the placement back towards the rib cage puts you into the vitals. Aim for mid-body to connect with the lungs rather than the fatty lower hide.
Fixed blade vs. Mechanical Broadheads
This really comes down to preference. Ask 100 archery hunters and there will be a big divide. Fix blade heads are reliable and plenty of bears are taken with 100 or 125-grain broadheads on compound bows. Traditional shooters will go up to 200 grains in many instances as well.
Mechanical blades have mixed reviews on blood trails. Some hunters get excellent blood and others very little. The shot placement will obviously influence this outcome but there are plenty of bears killed with mechanical broadheads. On bigger black bears, opting for a fixed blade is recommended by most experts. Some black bear camps even require fixed blades so check with your outfitter before making any decisions.
Black Bear Hunting with Table Mountain Outfitters
Our Idaho spring black bear hunts are an outstanding experience. This area produces beautiful color phase bears, and hunters may use any weapon, not just archery. For dates, pricing and references, please have a look at our bear hunting page. If you’d like to chat with us about specifics or availability, please send us a message or give us a call at 307-632-6352.