Fewer states and provinces offer spring bear hunts than 20 years ago, the direct result of anti-hunting groups lobbying or bullying wildlife agencies or placing bear hunting on ballot initiatives. Fortunately, science and reason have prevailed and spring hunts remain an option in Alaska
. In Canada, spring black bear hunts remain in Alberta
, British Columbia
, New Brunswick
Spring hunts are timed to coincide with bears emerging from their dens. Bear hides have their best hair immediately after emergence, and the boars emerge before the sows, so seasons generally start about the time bears first emerge. The best timing for prime spring pelts is April and May, although years ago, hunting the first week in June on the Jicarilla Apache Reservation
, I took a great bear without a single rubbed spot. Canadian bears generally emerge later than US bears, so hunts there are often timed in May and into June. As you book your hunts, realize that early season hunts may be impacted by weather, while late season bears will likely have rubbed coats.
Canadian hunts are generally bait hunts, with British Columbia being the notable exception. In BC, dogs are legal for spring hunts in some areas, but bait is not legal. BC hunts are typically spot-and-stalk. In most Canadian provinces, bear licenses for nonresident aliens are available only through outfitters, and in all provinces outfitters are required for bear hunting. Be aware that CITES tags are also required by the individual provinces for export of bears, a formality which may require extra time as you prepare to leave the country......