Bear over bait weapon choice

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Bear over bait weapon choice

Unread postby Mnbearbaiter » Fri Apr 26, 2019 2:29 am

I know most of you bowhunt your bears, but I'm already firm on using some sort of firearm this year. Normally use an inline muzzleloader and a heavy projectile for my bear hunting with great success. Plan on bringing a 30-06(never used for bear)for an "extra" gun just in case one of us(other guy is gonna run an inline ml since he's never used before) has an issue which is unlikely. Other option is to use my traditional 54cal roundball muzzleloader. Shoots very well, but I don't know anybody who has ever used a roundball for bear. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. I guess I probably can't go wrong, just always open to suggestions.


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Re: Bear over bait weapon choice

Unread postby dan » Fri Apr 26, 2019 3:16 am

I LOVE BOWHUNTING THEM... Any well placed heavy projectile will work, but if your going down in caliber or using an old fashioned muzzle loader, pick your shot wisely and avoid frontal shots and shoulders. I have shot a couple bears that I found 12 gauge slugs grown into the shoulder meat in a spot that would of probably killed it if it were a 30-06 or bigger rifle.
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Re: Bear over bait weapon choice

Unread postby Mnbearbaiter » Fri Apr 26, 2019 3:37 am

Exactly the reason I started the thread. Only bear we ever lost out of our camp for all those years when we could get tags almost every year was hit with a 1oz foster style slug. A slug basically made for massive shock/expansion and for deer and other thin skinned game. I'm not knocking slugs, but I think any projectile needs to be selected wisely regardless of weapon chose when it comes to bear, and fall bear eapecially? The 30-06 is my elk rifle and I shoot 180gr copper bullets in it so I'm not worried there. Roundball works great on my local whitetails, but never have hunted bear with it. If I were to use it I'd crib bait, but in the past we've shot several bear before they even get to the bait with our inlines shooting something like a 330gr Hardcast, 338gr Powerbelt Platinum, 350gr XTP, etc. Never went below 300gr for bear and that weight with 100gr or so of powder have always done us well? Decisions decisions...
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Re: Bear over bait weapon choice

Unread postby BigHunt » Fri Apr 26, 2019 4:52 am

Bow...with any weapon...shot placement key
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Re: Bear over bait weapon choice

Unread postby Dewey » Fri Apr 26, 2019 5:26 am

Whatever weapon you use is a personal choice so there is no one answer for everybody.

My personal choice is to hunt bear with my bow.

Nothing like a close encounter with a bear using archery equipment. I prefer using my bow no matter what I’m hunting because I live for those close encounters. The two bear I killed died very quickly. Bow or gun whatever your setup is for killing whitetail is perfect for bear.
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Re: Bear over bait weapon choice

Unread postby Mnbearbaiter » Fri Apr 26, 2019 6:52 am

I guess my biggest concern with the roundball is not getting an exit wound. I've recovered .530 roundballs on the far side hide of deer that expanded to near an inch. Now for whitetails that's perfect. All the energy was released into the animal which was dispatched quickly and humanely. With bear I'm worried that with all that fat and hide that I'm almost certain to not get a pass through and it could make tracking very difficult and possibly result in a lost bear that was most likely hit properly.
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Re: Bear over bait weapon choice

Unread postby dan » Fri Apr 26, 2019 7:02 am

Mnbearbaiter wrote:I guess my biggest concern with the roundball is not getting an exit wound. I've recovered .530 roundballs on the far side hide of deer that expanded to near an inch. Now for whitetails that's perfect. All the energy was released into the animal which was dispatched quickly and humanely. With bear I'm worried that with all that fat and hide that I'm almost certain to not get a pass through and it could make tracking very difficult and possibly result in a lost bear that was most likely hit properly.

If your hit goes thru both lungs or the heart, bears go down real fast... If you get guts, one lung, liver, etc. You have a legitimate concern.
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Re: Bear over bait weapon choice

Unread postby Edcyclopedia » Fri Apr 26, 2019 11:58 am

I'm a bow and handgun kind of guy ;)
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Re: Bear over bait weapon choice

Unread postby 218er » Fri Apr 26, 2019 1:58 pm

I like a bow. But if you said 30-06, slug, or muzzle loader. I’d say 06. I’ve heard of tons of bears with slugs in them that had healed over. I read one time of a bear in Alaska that had 2 or 3 12 ga slugs stuck in its forehead that a taxidermist found when working on it. I shot a mule deer with a muzzle loader at 80 yards a few years ago and didn’t get a pass through as the bullet just buried into the other side shoulder. It was a pain to trail what appeared to be a solid shot. As long as you avoid the shoulders you should be good, but with the 06 you have a larger margin for error.
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Re: Bear over bait weapon choice

Unread postby Horizontal Hunter » Sat Apr 27, 2019 5:10 am

Mnbearbaiter wrote:I know most of you bowhunt your bears, but I'm already firm on using some sort of firearm this year. Normally use an inline muzzleloader and a heavy projectile for my bear hunting with great success. Plan on bringing a 30-06(never used for bear)for an "extra" gun just in case one of us(other guy is gonna run an inline ml since he's never used before) has an issue which is unlikely. Other option is to use my traditional 54cal roundball muzzleloader. Shoots very well, but I don't know anybody who has ever used a roundball for bear. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. I guess I probably can't go wrong, just always open to suggestions.


I would not hesitate to use a 54 caliber round ball. PRB’s propelled by black power have been killing bear and deer for a couple of centuries.

But.......

1. As always, shot placement is king.
2. No hunter should be perusing any game with a weapon he isn’t familiar with and comfortable using. This should be resolved well before the hunt.

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Re: Bear over bait weapon choice

Unread postby Ol Split ( ) Toes » Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:44 am

I would make that decision on how far from the bait I would be hunting. Under 40 yrds I would bring the slug gun, over 40 bring the 06. I've seen it a few times where people put bad shot on bears with rifles sitting only 15-20 yrds off a bait.
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Re: Bear over bait weapon choice

Unread postby BassBoysLLP » Sun Apr 28, 2019 3:16 am

Bow. Preferably from the ground if the set works.
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Re: Bear over bait weapon choice

Unread postby Bearman13 » Sun Apr 28, 2019 4:06 pm

Leave the flintlock at home.
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Re: Bear over bait weapon choice

Unread postby Bearman13 » Sun Apr 28, 2019 4:09 pm

With bears you want an exit wound and blood. No blood makes for a tough to non-existent recovery.

180 grain core-lockt hard to beat. As with any weapon shot placement is key. Most hunters especially longtime whitetail hunters are taken aback when a big bear comes lumbering in to a bait site. It’s a different kind of nervousness. Excited/scared. I’ve seen chip shots turn into total misses or dicey track jobs.
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Re: Bear over bait weapon choice

Unread postby dan » Sun Apr 28, 2019 11:07 pm

Great points Jim, Im sure as a guide you see a lot of bears killed with a lot of equipment... One important point that was not brought up which in my opinion is the biggest factor to choose a rifle is "distance from bait" With a bow we have to get right in the zone and often the bears circle down wind (especially the big ones) and often you get scent lingering around or the bear sits back and detects you before you even see him... Can't tell you how many times I have seen a big bear pounding a bait just disappear after the 1st hunt. Bait don't get eaten, logs don't get moved, bear gone. Or the bear gets real smart and/or nocturnal... But, with a rifle you can sit back 100 yards and never get in that zone... Like I said, I prefer bow, but there are some big advantages to a accurate heavy rifle caliber.

The point Jim made about the blood trail is an accurate one too, that brings back memories... I shot a big bear near Jims outfitting camp one year. I shot it quartering away and the arrow entered high and buried in the far shoulder. It was last light right at closing time. Me and Bighunt searched for that bear hard, and found nothing. The next morning we came back and found it, actually not far from the bait. But with Septembers heat, and the guts in it all night we lost the meat. It had gone bad.


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