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  • Writer's pictureDante Zuniga-West

Winter Reading for Spring Bear Hunters

Updated: Mar 4, 2023




The Pacific Northwest is bear country. If you’re someone who is thinking about chasing adventure into the spring bear woods, there’s a few things you must have in order. It is no easy thing to hunt spring black bears in their native habitat. As with any hunt, that’s what makes a successful harvest so rewarding, but you’re going to need to do your homework. Well, lucky for you, winter is a great time for reading! Below are some solid winter reading picks for beginning spring bear hunters.





Black Bear Hunting: Expert Strategies for Success

By Gary Lewis and Lee Van Tassell

This is my go-to mention for anyone who tells me they want to get into black bear hunting. Lewis and Van Tassell do an excellent job of breaking down the wide world of questions that come to the mind of a beginning bear hunter. How to plan your first bear hunt, how to judge the size of a bear from a distance, how to field dress a bear, use of optics, choice of weapon, all the way down to signal systems used between hunters when stalking is extensively covered in this book. This book is a hardback and full of large, amazing pictures. Gary is a human encyclopedia of hunting information, and Van Tassel is a legitimate bear hunting legend. The only tricky thing about this book is that it’s out of print, so you’ll have to do some hunting of your own to find it…but it’s findable. If you find one, hang on to it.




The Ultimate Guide to Black Bear Hunting

By Douglas Boze

Hailing from the rainy state of Washington, Douglass Boze is an accomplished spot-and-stalk bear hunter. His book does an incredible job of detailing the nuances of bear hunting. All the little details that it takes to get the job done successfully are in these pages. Most impressive are his photographs of bear sign, complete with full explanation of the sign’s relevance regarding season and time of day. His breakdown of the proper gear to hunt black bears in the Pacific Northwest is gold. This book also has the most specific instructional “how-to” segment on field dressing a bear that I’ve ever seen. Boze goes step-by-step and picture by picture. If you want to get into hunting black bears, go buy this book.




A Guide to Canning, Freezing, Curing & Smoking Meat, Fish & Game

By Wilbur F Eastman Jr.

While this isn’t exactly a book about spring black bear hunting, it is equally important. The best part about successfully harvesting a spring black bear is cooking it. It is often a hot topic of debate around campfires full of non-bear hunters whether or not bear tastes good. A lot of times, someone will tell some horror story about “this one time” they tried it and it was just stinkin’ awful. That’s because whoever cooked that bear didn’t know how to do it right. Taking the time to study how to cook and prepare your bruin is key to making the most out of your harvest. As someone who loves pressure canning bear meat as well as making jalapeno bacon bear burgers, I can attest to the power of cooking knowledge when it comes to these amazingly tasty critters. Take the time, do the homework and make the most of your spring bear.




Black Bears: A Natural History

By Dave Taylor

It takes a certain type of person to be a truly successful bear hunter. The most accomplished ones that I know of take the endeavor to an expert level by studying the animal in every way possible. That is why this book should be on your list of must-reads. While portions of this book are an incredibly fascinating history lesson that details the evolution of black bears, a great deal of time, pages and pictures are dedicated to explaining black bear habitat, physical biology, mating habits, feeding habits, and seasonal characteristics. If you really want to know as much as you can about the animal you’re going after this spring, this book should be your new best friend for a bit.


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