hunters carrying dead turkeys on their backs

Big Green Blog

Hunting Tips for Late Season Bear

12.26.2023 | By Remington Contributor

black bears standing on a field of grass

Did you have trouble hunting Late Season Bears this year? Here are three tips to get you ready for next fall’s bear season!

Early Bird Gets the Worm

Early fall is relatively warm in the middle of the day. This means bears are going to be tucked away in the shade trying to find some relief from the heat and will be motivated to come out and eat when it’s cooler. Early mornings and late afternoons are the sweet spot for hunting fall bears. This means you need to be in your hunting spot before the sun comes up to catch those bears on the move, en route to food or bait. Another good time to punch your bear tag is in the wee hours of the afternoon. Get set up early for a late afternoon arrival and be ready for activity at sunset. As you get closer to winter, and the temperature continues to drop, bears will start to be more active during the day. Hello, all day sit in your tree stand.

wild strawberry surrounded by moss

Bears Like to Eat

When trying to find bears, proximity to their food source is your best bet. They are bulking up for the winter, so odds are, where there is vegetation (or donuts…), there are bears. Unfortunately, fruit plants are not guaranteed to blossom every year. This means you need to scout prior to picking a hunting spot or be ready to pick up and change locations if the plants are not living up to your expectations.

What alternative food sources are in your hunting area? Bears are scavengers - a nice trout stream, coastal washout, elk carcass, or even old campsite can be prime territory for your quarry and prime hunting grounds for you. Remember to be safe. Always exercise caution when on public grounds popular with hikers, campers, and other hunters.

Not all bears are the same. If you are used to hunting bears in the west, then remember that bears in the east have a different food source, and vice versa. A quick google search, or call to the local Game and Fish, will show you exactly what foods are available to the bears in your area. Most bears, however, enjoy munching on:

  • Acorns
  • Berries
  • Roots
  • The occasional carcass or roadkill

Due to temperature, snowfall, food availability and even latitude, bears in different parts of the county also tend to go into hibernation at different times of the year. So, Yogi Bear and co. tend to work hard to pack on the pounds at different times of a given hunting season.

Knowing your bear’s motivation and what kind of food source they’re likely to seek out and when will pay dividends.

hunter walking on a hill with mountains in the background

Location, Location, Location

Bears are stocking up on body fat during this time of the year, that means you’re going to find them where the food is. In the fall that puts them at mid to high elevations before the first snow falls. They will be feeding most of the early mornings and the late afternoons.

After you get your hunting unit all figured out, you need to look at topographical maps to find pinch points of where bear may hang out. Online maps like Google Earth, OnX, HuntStand and others are a good way to feel like you’re hunting from the comfort of your couch. A great place to start IRL is natural drainages. These geographical locations provide everything a cold season bear needs: water, protection, and food. These three factors will ensure not only that bears stick around, but also that they will return to these sites time after time.

Water is the key ingredient of a good bear hunting locale. They cannot get enough of it. From rolling around in it, to cooling off, to getting a quick drink, sitting water to a sure-fire way to nab yourself a cold season bear.

Good luck out there and happy hunting. With a little prep work, you’ll be packaging that chubby fall black bear in no time.

2 hunters kneeling behind a dead black bear