Boddington: Ultimate Bear Hunts

Boddington: Ultimate Bear Hunts

by Craig Boddington


Thanks to the widespread black bear, North America has the lion's share of the world's bear-hunting opportunities, but the bear family is actually widespread, with members occurring in South America and across Eurasia. Many varieties are depleted and properly protected today, so the primary opportunity for bear hunting outside North America lies with Ursus arctos, the good old grizzly bear.



Technically called the Eurasian brown bear, the hump-backed, long-clawed, dish-faced bear is found discontinuously from the Spanish Pyrenees to the great expanse of Russia and Central Asia. Current hunting opportunities are limited across this vast range, but there are some very interesting bear hunts in the Old World.

Perhaps the very best opportunity is in Russia, where bears are widespread and the population is generally healthy. A traditional Russian hunting technique is called "bear in the den," conducted in winter and early spring. In this insane gambit, the hunters find a denned bear, wake him up and take him when, justifiably enraged, he charges out of the den.


In coastal Siberia and especially the Kamchatka Peninsula, the brown bears are similar to Alaskan brown bears. I think the best Alaskan bears grow bigger, but the average in Kamchatka exceeds Alaska. If a guy wanted to take just one "coastal brown bear," I would probably recommend Kamchatka. Hunting with a mixture of cross-country skis and snowshoes, I shot a wonderful bear there when Russia first opened back in 1991. That was a great adventure then; today bear hunting in Kamchatka has developed into a great hunting program that remains well organized and highly successful.


Opportunities are much more limited in Europe, with a small harvest in Scandinavia and scattered permits across Eastern Europe. Without question, the very best opportunity lies in Romania, where the majority of Europe's brown bears reside and have perhaps the most dense population in the world. The traditional technique is driving, but as permits become fewer this is becoming less common because hunting over bait is much more selective.

Recommended for You

These four hunts will test your endurance. North America Big Game

North America's Toughest Black Bear Hunts

Brad Fitzpatrick

These four hunts will test your endurance.

Use these steps to accurately estimate a bruin's size. North America Big Game

How to Field Judge Bears

Jospeh Von Benedikt

Use these steps to accurately estimate a bruin's size.

A record crowd of more than 67,000 people fell upon the halls of the Sands Expo & Convention SHOT Show

HUNTING's Booth Babes of SHOT Show 2014

David Draper - January 21, 2014

A record crowd of more than 67,000 people fell upon the halls of the Sands Expo & Convention

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 12: High Plains Elk

David Draper teams up with Fred Eichler to hunt elk on the high plains of southern Colorado.

Camp Chef at SHOT Show: Elk Venison Slider Burgers Recipe

Camp Chef at SHOT Show: Elk Venison Slider Burgers Recipe

Have a freezer full of ground elk venison from your fall hunting trips? Never fear, the folks at Camp Chef have a great SHOT Show recipe that is lean and mean, easy to prepare, and a crowd-pleasing favorite!

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 11: Wheelgun Buffalo

Host Craig Boddington lays claim to hunting more than 100 Cape Buffalo over the course of his 40 plus year career, but he never took one with a handgun. That changed in South Africa when Craig faced down "black death" with a magnum wheelgun.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Didn't draw? Here are five great places you can make a last-minute mule deer hunt. North America

5 Great Last-Minute Public-land Hunts

Joseph von Benedikt

Didn't draw? Here are five great places you can make a last-minute mule deer hunt.

Looking for a great gun for the young hunter in your family? Here are eight favorites. Guns

8 Great Youth Guns Designed for Growing Hunters

Brad Fitzpatrick - July 18, 2016

Looking for a great gun for the young hunter in your family? Here are eight favorites.

If you're spending time in the outdoors where you might encounter bears, carry one of these guns. Survival

Which Firearm Is Best for Bear Defense?

Larry Case - July 11, 2018

If you're spending time in the outdoors where you might encounter bears, carry one of these...

See More Stories

More North America Big Game

With so many cartridges to consider, which one is best for wapiti? Follow these tips to make the best choice! North America Big Game

Enough Gun: Elk Stopping Power

Craig Boddington

With so many cartridges to consider, which one is best for wapiti? Follow these tips to make...

Shooting a big muley takes time. In fact, if you're looking for a true trophy, you'll need to be okay with holding out and being selective. North America Big Game

Play The Waiting Game to Tag a Giant Mule Deer

Joseph von Benedikt

Shooting a big muley takes time. In fact, if you're looking for a true trophy, you'll need to...

When the woods have gone quiet, follow these tips to locate a late-season bull. North America Big Game

Tips to Tag a Late-Season Bull

Jospeh von Benedikt

When the woods have gone quiet, follow these tips to locate a late-season bull.

See More North America Big Game

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Temporary Price Reduction.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×