Articles (Tools & Gear)

The Black Bear Hunting Encyclopedia

© By Othmar Vohringer
Posted: May 2009

justin2.jpgI am a whitetail deer and turkey hunter and since moving here to British Columbia eight years ago I have been thinking of taking up bear hunting as well. British Columbia has a bear population of over 170,000 which makes it the bear capitol of North America. In recent years it has come to the point that people can’t avoid running into bears sooner or later in the big cities and in rural communities.

Recently I was given bear meat and surprisingly it tasted very nice. I wanted more bear meat! But rather then having meat given to me I want to hunt it myself.
From a conservationist point of view bear hunting aids in keeping the exploding bear population in a healthy balance with it’s natural habitat.

One way to be successful at bear hunting is to learn more about bears and hunting tactics. I just happen to have read a good book written by someone who knows a thing or two about the subject. A fellow British Columbian, Justin Ott, has just published a book called “The Black Bear Hunting Encyclopedia” and I was lucky to get a copy to review.

The first unique impression about the book is that it comes with a free complementary DVD that visualizes what’s written in the book. This is the first time I have seen a book/ DVD combination and I must admit it is a brilliant idea. Seeing is often very different from just reading and gives a greater understanding

The DVD goes into great detail on how to field dress and skin out a bear. Another segment that I liked very much is the step-by-step procedure of how to prepare and make your own European bear skull mount. These two aspects alone make the DVD well worth having and it will be a great tool for a hunter to refer back to time and again.

The book covers everything a beginning bear hunter needs to know and I am convinced that even advanced and veteran bear hunters will be able to pick a few things up they have never known or need to be reminded of. In 13 chapters the book covers information about the black bear and conservation and then moves on to important things like where and how to find bears. In other chapters different hunting tactics are knowledgeably explained. There are sections on hunting bears with rifles and archery equipment. Hunting bears from the ground, over bait, from treestands and stalking bears is all covered in subsequent chapters.

The book provides unbiased information on different gear and products essential for bear hunters. There are even complete checklists for equipment needed in a base camp, a bivouac camp or a day camp. There are check lists specific to bow hunters and rifle hunters.

The book even contains a chapter on how to take a “trophy” picture and ensure a lasting pleasant memory of the event. Another chapter provides information about taking care of the meat and how to store it properly. There are even a few bear meat recipes included.

The only small complaint I have about the DVD is that I would have liked to see more footage on bear behaviour, the various food sources and bear sign. These things are very well covered in the book with pictures, but still it would be good to see it on video too.

The Black Bear Hunting Encyclopedia is just that; an encyclopedia, covering everything worth knowing about black bears and bear hunting, richly illustrated with photos, lists and charts. Justin Ott has left nothing out and he tells it all in an easy to understand language using professional or hunter jargon only where it is absolutely necessary. Novice bear hunters will appreciate that very much. I know I did.

What makes Justin Ott an expert on bear hunting? How about shooting a bear for himself and then helping three other hunters finding and shooting bears all in one single day for starters. Justin eats, sleeps and I am sure dreams bear hunting. He started hunting bears a few years ago and according to his own admission has been addicted to it ever since. Justin Ott is a man that will go to extraordinary lengths- like renting an airplane to fly over a new hunting area to get a birds eye view of the land and structure before he heads into the area on foot to scout it for weeks. The author hunts bears on foot and from treestands with rifle and bow and is so successful at it that he has been featured in several hunting magazines.

If you have been thinking of taking up black bear hunting or have not quite had the success you wish then you need to read Justin Otts’s “The Black Bear Hunting Encyclopedia”. For more information or to purchase the book visit Black Bear

I am going to apply some of the things I learned from the book in this years spring bear hunting season and I am convinced it will get me a few giant steps closer to a black bear rug for our living room floor and some fresh organic bear meat in the freezer.
I welcome assignments from hunting related media. Send for queries and requests by email.

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