Where to Shoot Black Bear
Where to Shoot Black Bear
If you ask a bear hunter where to shoot a black bear you are going to hear a lot of different answers, instead of asking a hunter I decided to ask some friends who operate several different guide services in Maine where they prefer there sports to shoot black bear. Here’s a summary of those conversations, but first a story of this past black bear hunting season in Maine.
Last September an out of state hunter was hunting black bear when he was fortunate enough to have a bear come in to is bait site, unfortunately for him his first shot did not anchor the bear which proceeded to charge him, before it closed the distance he emptied his gun into it hitting it a total of 3 times. As the bear was mauling his thigh, he was shooting a 30/06. He finally was able to reload and the 4th shot killed the bear. This was an experienced hunter, a professional guide actually. I mention this to illustrate that unlike many other commonly hunted big game animals, a wounded bear can be extremely dangerous both to yourself or worse to an innocent person out enjoying the woods, when you shoot, you must know that you are going to anchor the animal.
There are a few common shots that come up in a conversation on where to shoot a bear. Head, neck or spine, shoulder or heart and lungs. All will prove fatal but some are better than others. The head shot should be avoided because if you happen to get a trophy it will be ineligible for scoring. Likewise it is advisable to avoid the neck spine shot, due to the thick hair and muscle structure of the bear they are unreliable and the end result is a dangerous wounded bear.
The heart and lungs are a reliable stopper, but hitting either does not generally anchor the bear immediately, hitting the lungs or heart is usually fatal, but the bear can usually go quite distance before finally succumbing to the shot. Most guides prefer sports shoot bears in the shoulder. The shoulder shot does several things, first and foremost breaking one or both shoulders will anchor the bear in place, if it doesn’t immediately drop, it is much less mobile. Secondly once penetrating the shoulder, the bullet or at the least bone fragments will continue into the chest cavity, damaging the lungs, heart and major blood vessels.
The guides I spoke to also recommend continuing to fire at the animal until it deceased. They tell their sports to not give the animal to recover its feet once knocked down but to keep shooting until the kill is guaranteed.
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