The Ansel brothers have hunted the rolling hills of Marquette Michigan since 1973. That’s 34 years of knowledge under our collective belts. We started with rifles and switched over to bows many years ago. Even our sons use archery equiptment when they get a permit. I say all that just to let you (the reader) know if you have any questions concerning bear hunting I have a pretty good “well” to draw from.
The advice I’d like to leave you with in this blog is don’t shoot the first bear you see if you are not sure it’s a mature boar or a non lactating sow. That first bear you see in the wild can look like a “monster”, but actually be a yearling (80 pounds!) Be patient! The best way to judge the size of the bear is to wait for multiple bear to be within sight. I realize that doesn’t always happen, so you need to look for the signs of a mature bear. A big bear will have a blocky/stocky look, and his head will be broad with a short looking snout. Younger bear will have more of a sleek longer look, with a narrow head and longer looking nose. A sow with cubs is a no-no, so please don’t make that mistake. Usually a female will let the cubs come into the bait site first, so thats a dead give away, but sometimes she will venture in first. You must be patient!
I’ve hunted bear in Quebec a couple times where the outfitter used 55 gallon drums for his bait. He told me if the bears back stood as tall as the barrel, it was a shooter. It’s illegal to use non biodegradable material at your bait sight in Michigan, so a 55 gallon drum is “out.” If there is a stump close by, or a low hanging limb, you may be able to use that to judge the bears size.
Remember it is a privilege to bear hunt, and it could be a “once in a lifetime” experience for you, so make it a good experience. Don’t make the 150 pound mistake-be patient.