“When a hunter in a stand watches a bear approach, their fear is the bear is tracking them to attack them, when in reality the bear is just tracking this foreign smell in his environment. Don’t confuse curiosity with aggression.”
Maria Davidson, Large Carnivore Program Manager
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Fisheries
Avoid attracting and rewarding a bear with food. All food and beverages, including canned food, garbage, pet food, and scented toiletries are bear attractants. The IGBC list of Bear-Resistant Products is a good place to look for containers that keep bears out, even if you’re not in camp.
When a hunt is successful, the resulting carcasses or gut piles can attract hungry bears trying to build body fat before winter hibernation. Be aware that a bear may occasionally claim a deer carcass before a hunter can recover and transport it out of the woods. If so, let the bear have the meat and leave the area immediately! Do not risk your safety.
Always be aware of bears while hunting and take precautions for your safety.
Hunters have a higher chance than hikers of meeting up with a black bear in the fall or spring. Hunters tend to move through dense timber, along trails, and in other areas frequented by bears. To add to the potential for encounters, hunters move quietly, downwind from game, and often travel during the same early morning and late evening hours when bears are most active.
If you’re up in a tree stand, bears may come by and investigate. Don’t confuse curiosity with aggression. A bear’s inquisitiveness drives it to inspect deer stands, ATVs, trucks, and all manner of equipment.
Don’t let a bear get this close to your tree stand! Bears often follow their noses and aren’t aware of your presence until you make noise or movement. They usually run away when you speak up.
Read your local regulations or contact your state’s fish and game agency before feeding wildlife, especially deer. If supplemental wildlife feeding is legal and you choose to feed deer, you may have the following consequences:
Without deterrents or barriers, bears may investigate your home, cabin or camp, causing damage as they explore. Your other hunting equipment will be at risk.
This clover plot attracts deer without attracting bears.
If supplemental wildlife feeding is allowed in your area, here are recommendations for reducing the attraction for black bears.
Check with your state’s fish and game agency for similar publications.
All 15 SEAFWA states consider regulated hunting an important and beneficial tool in management of black bear populations. However, not all southeastern states have black bear hunting seasons.
Please follow these links to your state’s fish and game agencies for more information about black bear hunting.