Are you interested in hunting bear? Do you plan to hunt a bear with a gun or bow? Using a bow to hunt bear is one of the most challenging and exhilarating tasks on the planet. No one wants to simply wound an animal when hunting. Not only is it not good hunting practices, but it can ruin your day as well. While wounding and failing to recover any animal is bad news, it’s especially bad when it comes to hunting bears.
No one wants to talk about it but failing to make a good shot when hunting a bear is something that should be avoided for the greater good of the sport. Instead of fretting about whether you’re going to make the best shot, it’s important to learn how to make a good shot every time. Here, we'll tell you exactly where to shoot a bear to ensure you'll get a kill shot.
Not only is it important to learn how to shoot a bear, but it's also important to know why. We already covered the ethics of shooting to kill, but now we need to talk about bear personalities. Bears, especially older bears, are grumpy animals. In addition to short tempers, bears are usually fearless and extremely territorial.
If you get a chance to shoot a bear and you miss or even worse make a bad shot that just wounds the animal, you’re going to be sad. Not just sad that you missed a good opportunity, but sad that you know have a very angry bear on your hands too.
What Equipment Should You Use?
The good news is you can use the same archery equipment to kill a bear that you would use to kill a deer. But, don’t use the same hunting tactics as you do while hunting bear. Why does your mentality have to change? Well, like we discussed above, bears have claws, are extremely strong, and have teeth that could tear a human apart. Unlike most whitetail, bears aren’t afraid of humans. In fact, they usually aren’t even phased by them.
Where to Shoot a Bear with a Bow?
Now, we should discuss where you should hit a bear with a bow and arrow. Unlike other animals the perfect shot for a bear doesn’t exist. Bears are huge, which gives you a ton of body to aim at. Experts advise aiming for the “middle of the middle.” But what does that mean?
First you need to stay away from the shoulder blades, these bones are very dense and hard to get through. If you don’t hit the bear just right, a kill shot is unlikely, which makes it highly unlikely that the bear is going to drop and you’ll recover it easily.
The ribs of a bear are light, but there still not a great place to aim. Bear’s musculature is hard to penetrate. The rib cage extends much further than a deer and protects their vitals from broadheads. This is where the “aim for the middle of the middle” comes in. If you aim towards the back towards the middle of the bear, top to bottom middle, you’ll get a great kill shot that will avoid the bear’s shoulder blades and hit the vital organs.
The biggest mistake bear bowhunters make is aiming too far back. The best opportunity for a kill shot is right above a bear’s front leg. A large “V” shape is made by the humerus and scapula. The inside of the V is the perfect target. But if you aim behind the leg, you’re going to hit the scapula and that means you’ll probably wound the bear, which will require a ton of tracking or a second shot.
Another factor to consider when bear hunting is fur. Bears have 3” to 4” of hair on their bodies. Adding to the difficulty in determining what’s hair and what’s body is the fact that most bears are black. Black fur makes it very difficult to determine the exact anatomy of a bear. All fur and fatty areas of a bear aren’t vital shooting areas. Hunters have to be able to contain the excitement they get when they see the bear and take the time to make a good shot.
Bears actually have very fluid movements. The flexibility of bears makes it even more difficult to choose what angle you should choose. To prepare for this situation, a hunter must know exactly where a bear’s vital organs are – no matter what position a bear is in.
How to Shoot a Bear from a Treestand?
When it comes to hunting bears with a bow, most hunters opt to do this from a treestand. When using bait, hunters have to be even more careful on where they place their treestand. Most hunters will choose a site that’s about 15 yards away from their bait station. However, some believe this is a huge mistake.
As we’ve discussed in great length, shot placement is key in bear hunting. Hunters have to be ready to hit proper placement when standing on a treestand platform. If you struggle with this, choose a spot for your treestand that is at least 20 yards from bear bait. Doing this minimizes the risk of hitting only one lung. You also still want to aim for the middle of the middle. When you’re standing from a treestand, you should aim for the top 1/3 of a bear.
Hunting bears is an exciting excursion that many hunters only get to do once in a lifetime. By taking your time to study the animal’s anatomy, behavior, and travel patterns, you’ll increase your chances of killing a big black bear. Whether you want to shoot a bow or kill a bear with a gun, you can use the tips listed above to help you reach your goal. By doing your research, you can reduce the risk that a black bear will get away from you and you can also protect the ethics of bear hunting by not injuring an animal you can’t find after the arrows fly.