Best of all from a hunter’s point of view, this is a hunt you can take without drawing a permit — 200 permits are available annually — and without putting your name on a waiting list. The seasons are long, and you can take two bears on your hunt if you wish. We are indebted to subscriber Roger Gregg for sending in the report on a successful hunt he took there this past May, which caused us to sit up and take a closer look at this hunt. We’re putting him on our subscriber Honor Roll and sending him a Hunting Report cap for putting us onto this story. Here’s what we discovered.)
In one of those just-back-from-the-field subscriber reports [see Report ID 7758 in our database) that we love to receive here at The Hunting Report, subscriber Robert Gregg recounts taking a big-bodied, cinnamon-phase black bear which, at 20¾-inches, just missed the Boone & Crockett All-Time record book minimum of 21 inches. He took the bear this past May on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation of the White Mountain Apache Tribe, and reports hunting from natural blinds over bait and seeing bears every day of what he describes as an “excellent and fun hunt.”
All hunts on this reservation are conducted by officially licensed and registered guides. While all the guiding for elk is done by tribal members, all predator hunts, including bears, are conducted by non-tribal guides selected and licensed by the tribe’s Wildlife & Outdoor Recreation Division. (Killing bears is a cultural taboo for tribe members.) All deer hunting on the reservation is reserved for tribal members only; no outside hunters are allowed to take deer.
There are currently seven guides/outfitters licensed to hunt bears and mountain lions on the reservation. The split season runs from April 1 through August 30 then re-opens October 10 through November 30. Bear hunting is closed during September and early October when the trophy elk hunts are conducted on the reservation. The limit is one bear per $300 tag (plus $25 “application fee”), but hunters may purchase two tags. Rifle, shotgun, handgun and archery are all legal.....