Home Forums Campfire Forum Book Rec for black bear hunters/lovers

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    • Etter1
      Post count: 831

      If you are as into ursus americanus as I am, you will really appreciate this book. I learned more about the life history of bears from this man than in 18 years of pursuing them with bow and camera. They are absolutely my favorite animal on the planet (aside from possibly walker coonhounds). This book completely contradicts a lot of the long held beliefs of most people about bears. It is mostly about their social structure and how they learn but it disproves a lot of the current trends about bear baiting, cub mortality, etc. this man has absolutely spent more time with black bears than any human on earth.

      It’s called “out on a limb”.

      Another book I recently read and really enjoyed was “grizzly years” by doug peacock.

      Enjoy.

    • Bruce Smithhammer
      Post count: 2514

      Thanks for the “Out on a Limb” rec – I’ll check it out.

      I would definitely love to hear more recommendations, from this particular crowd, about good books on bear natural history. Too many books on the subject that I’ve come across don’t do much for me, one way or another.

      “Grizzly Years” is a classic, from a guy who has really spent a lot of time among them, and speaks from extensive personal experience.

    • James Harvey
      Member
      Post count: 1130

      Etter, I’ve just added it to my reading list. I’ve borne witness to your passion for black bears reading your posts here so very much look forward to reading your recommendation on the subject.

      Jim

    • Etter1
      Post count: 831

      I ordered another peacock book recently called “walking it off”. It largely deals with his rehabilitation by nature after his years in vietnam. Cant wait to get it.

      Out on a limb reminded me a lot of “illumination in the flatwoods”, which is definitely the best and most insightful book ever written on the eastern wild turkey.

      The author (cant remember his name at this moment) raises dozens and dozens of orphaned cubs and essentially acted as their mother. He then returned them to the wild of new hampshire and constantly tracked and reconnected with them throughout their lives.

      I spent a lot of this summer watching bears in north ga. A lot of what I read in his book suddenly made complete sense. It’s remarkable how much misinformation is peddled about black bears. The author constantly fed his bears “human food” in the backcountry and completely disagrees with the idea that baiting bears in the wild causes bears to become “people food” dependent.

      He disagrees with the practice as a whole but has seen no evidence that it causes human interaction. Quite the opposite actually. He proposes supplemental feeding of bears in lean years to prevent human encounters.

    • Etter1
      Post count: 831

      Thanks Jim! I sure wish I was as constantly positive a person as you are!

      Its a strange relationship I feel with bears. I have to hunt them to have hunted them but I feel an immense grief each time I kill one. It is a massively contradictory set of emotions.

      I sure hope that the dnr will plant some good food plots this spring but we should have a massive blackberry crop this year so late summer will be tough pickings for me.

      They are just incredibly near animals. Their social structure (after reading this book) is even more fascinating than I ever could have imagined.

    • Ptaylor
      Member
      Post count: 579

      Hey Etter,

      I just finished that book, the author is Ben Kilham. His previous book, “Among the Bears” is even better.

      Another great recommendation for bears is: “Walking With Bears” by Terry DeBruyn.

      I agree with you, Kilham has likely spent more time watching bears than anyone else on earth, and watching the SAME bears for up to 16 years! Amazing insights into their natural history.

      Keep ’em coming. I’d like to know some other bear books out there folks have enjoyed.

    • Etter1
      Post count: 831

      Thanks. Ill check them both out!

      Over the summer and early fall, I had the oppurtunity to watch 29 different black bears here in N Ga.

      I noticed a lot of things about their size and sex and how they grouped into certain areas. It made no sense to me at the time but after reading the book, it is amazing to see his observations being the same as mine, and now I understand them.

    • Etter1
      Post count: 831

      Ordered both of them. Ill always read anything that is about black bears.

    • Ptaylor
      Member
      Post count: 579

      That’s cool!

      So here’s a question since you’ve been able to watch so many bears: When you see a bear, what do you look at to identify its sex and age?

    • Etter1
      Post count: 831

      Half way through “among the bears”. Unbelievably fascinating for me!

    • Etter1
      Post count: 831

      Ptaylor wrote: That’s cool!

      So here’s a question since you’ve been able to watch so many bears: When you see a bear, what do you look at to identify its sex and age?

      If you can watch one in the open long enough or are below them in a tree, their sex is often readily apparent. Usually down here, boars have darker muzzles and are usually scarred. Most of the sows I saw this year were with cubs. Age is really anybodys guess but obviously bears under 1.5 years old were with their mothers.

      Nothing is 100 percent with bears. In fact, the biggest bear I saw this year was a 400 plus pound sow.

    • Ptaylor
      Member
      Post count: 579

      Etter, good points. Although I’ve not noticed scarring on males before, I’ll have to look for that.

      I was emailing with a biologist in B.C. using remote cameras to monitor grizzlies. She ID sex of bears on camera, and said adult males were broader in the shoulders, adult females wider in the rear quarters, and subadult males resembling females.

      You noticed anything like that in the field?

    • Etter1
      Post count: 831

      That is what is always said to look for but I dont know about down here. The average bear I see in this area probably only weighs a bit over 100 lbs so it is hard to notice body features like that. Certainly, when you see a real brute of a boar, all of those physical characteristics are usually present. But in two summers of scouting hard and hunting in these mountains, Ive probably seen fifty or so bears and only four or five of them would go over 250 lbs, which I think is also when those characteristics become more apparent. Our bear population has only recently grown to these levels so we have a ton of young ones.

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