Black Bear Hunt With Menominee Tribal Elder

Discussion in 'Hunting & Fishing' started by JGON, Jul 11, 2014.

  1. JGON


    Mar 12, 2010
    Hi All,

    I've recently been presented with what is for me, a potentially life changing opportunity, but I need a little advice before I dive in.

    I'm an enrolled member of the Menominee Tribe of Wisconsin, and when I was visiting with an 81 year old family elder last week, he invited me to hunt Black Bear with him this fall. The season for Black Bear on the reservation is from September 1st-November 30th, and last year he took a 650 pound monster. He said that with their diet consisting of a lot of berries on the reservation during the fall, the meat tastes like a slightly sweet prime rib... The fat is used for cooking, frying, baking, as well as for other traditional uses, and then of course the hide would have a myriad of uses. I'm explaining this, because the Menominee, myself included, are not trophy hunters. This hunt is for subsistence, and every usable piece of the animal will be consumed or put to use.

    My biggest questions are about the rifle, as I'm not sure if my 7mm Rem Mag that I use for whitetail is the best choice for the size of bear I could encounter. 650 pounds is definitely not your average bear, but he says he's been tracking other bears that are close to if not equal size, so I'll need a caliber that can handle that. I was thinking about investing in a rifle that I could use for other big game in north america, such as elk and caribou. I've been considering a .300 win mag, but you also can't really to wrong with a good ol 30.-06. Such a versatile round. I'm open to suggestions from those that have hunted big game like this before. The distances I'm expecting from the bear hunt would realistically be less than 150 meters, although other big game could obviously be much longer distances. I will also be carrying my 10mm glock on the hunt.

    Secondly, what kind of differences are there from a scent control standpoint? Where does the nose of a black bear stand vs a whitetail?

    What else should I be taking into consideration?

    I'm going to get a lot of advice from my family elder as well, but I've grown to have a lot of respect for the wisdom of this community, and I'm looking forward to what advice you all may have before I embark on this hunt...

  2. mete


    Jun 10, 2003
    Black bears are not like a brown.7mmRem Mag will do the job as will a number of others.If wounded most will run.Use a 160 or 175 of heavy construction.
  3. mrk103073


    Oct 21, 2009
    For what its worth the 7 will do nicely with the heavy slugs Nosler Partition, Winchester Fail safe etc all good choices. In the 10 load with Buffalo Bore heavy weights. This is a Huge honor so practice practice with rifle in real world shooting positions and various ranges. Best wishes Please let us know how this goes MK
  4. JGON


    Mar 12, 2010
    Perfect... That saves me some trouble. And I already have and have shot the buffalo bore plenty, so that will work. Not anticipating a need for it, but the traditional hunt doesn't involve baiting, so you never know.

    And yes, I agree about it being a huge honor. This hunt is going to provide important materials to several families, including mine, but it is the spirit of the hunt and the time in the woods with a man that still knows and remembers some of the old ways and language that is going to be the most amazing part. We're going up to do some tracking later this month... He's going to see if the boar he had been tracking earlier in the year is still around. Season opens September 1st, so it'll be a little while until I'll have a hunt update, but I will be sure to keep you all posted. Thanks for the help.

  5. Swampdog

    Swampdog Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 14, 2007
    Good for you JGON, as long as your 7mm Rem Mag is sighted in with the Buffalo Bore heavy ammo, you will be fine.
    You have an excellent attitude about the hunt and I'm sure you will have a great time, best of luck to you!
  6. Smithhammer


    Nov 9, 2012
    Looking forward to the follow-up trip report on this one!

    No, you can't. 30.06 would be my choice (as it is for most things) but any of those calibers is plenty if you put it where it needs to go.

    Bears have extremely good noses (and good hearing, but only average eyesight). I have no idea whether a bear's nose is as good, or better, than a whitetail's, but I certainly wouldn't treat it as any less. Hunt it as you would a whitetail in terms of wind/scent awareness and you should be able to get within rifle range, no problem.
  7. hunterjrg

    hunterjrg Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 4, 2012
    Bear hunting here in Wi usually involves bait hunting over a stand at a distance of 20-30 yards or so. The other method is hunting them with hounds. Again shots should be short. 650 lb bears are not the norm. I heard once the average is around 175lbs. Personally I'd use the 30-06 over the 7mm or the 300. It's my favorite cartridge so I'm a little biased.
    Aim for the front shoulder. They don't bleed very well. A bear I shot a few years ago was taken with my 44 revolver.

    Secret weapon for bears>>>>>>>>>>>>vanilla. Remember this.
  8. SouthernCross


    Jun 25, 2008
    G'day JGON

    And native Nth Americans didn't harvest bears with arrows / spears before Europeans arrived with firearms?

    Since you have a relative who you know has done it, my advise is to seek advise from him on what he used.

    After all, in this way you will know that the advise is from real first hand experience in doing what you are intending to do.
  9. JGON


    Mar 12, 2010
    Many of our ancestors took mammals well in excess of 4,000 pounds before White settlement... ;)

    Yes I asked the question because my Family Elder has no phone or email. I'm a few hours away and at the point of the original post, I wasn't going to see him for a few weeks. I was up there two weekends ago for the annual pow wow, and he shoots a 30.-06. He said 7mm rem mag should be fine, though...
  10. heresthedeal


    Oct 3, 2010

    So did everybody elses ancestors all over the planet....:eek: and it ended at pretty much the same time. ;)

    7MM should work great, have fun, take a lot of pics.
  11. JGON


    Mar 12, 2010
    Haha yes I'm aware. Hence why I said "our ancestors", and not "mine". ;)

    Thanks for all the help everyone, only 2 weeks till the season opens. To say I'm excited is an understatement!
  12. Hard Knocks

    Hard Knocks Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 1, 2012
    Good luck on your hunt, this should be a great experience! I chase a lot of bear out west with hounds, and catch a few of them, ha! I can tell you from trying to get in on many, many bayed bear on the ground, they have a nose that rivals anything on the planet. If you are lucky enough to approach a bear in this circumstance, he almost for sure knows you're there, and just doesn't care. Most will simply move off when you get within a hundred yards or less. It sounds like you will be stand-hunting rather than with hounds, but wanted to point this out as far as how good their noses are.

    You are packing plenty of rifle, but I would still, personally, avoid a full shoulder shot. I would tuck the bullet up nice and tight toward the shoulder, though, just in the line of the crease and try to for a double lung shot if he is broadside. On a quartering shot, it can help to visualize the offside shoulder and shoot for it instead of the nearside, this helps to get your angle right on this type of shot. Congrats man, and good luck!
  13. Hawkeye5

    Hawkeye5 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 6, 2006
    Jgon , Good luck on your hunt . Please take lots of pictures we will love to see how it goes for you.
  14. SouthernCross


    Jun 25, 2008
    G'day JGON

    I'm guessing by this, you already know the answer to your question. :thumbup:

Share This Page