Skip to main content

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.

Current Magazine Cover

Don't Miss

The Essentials Gear Box.

Our editors have hand-picked these essential pieces of gear to make you a more successful hunter when you hit the game trails this season.

Learn More

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

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

Kevin Steele treks to the cedar breaks and coulees of north-central Nebraska for a shot at a big prairie whitetail.
Hunting

Cedar Break Bucks

David Draper is with Dory Schoby talking about the benefits of using red dots for hunting and taking a look at the Aimpoint Micro H2.
Gear

Aimpoint Red Dots for Hunting

David Draper is with Nathan Robinson of Winchester talking about the 6.8 Western Cartridge. It offers impressive long-range accuracy, low recoil and staggering knockdown power when you need it for both long-range shooting and hunting.
Gear

Winchester 6.8 Western

Joe Ferronato is joined by Luke Thorkildsen from Weather by to check out the Backcountry 2.0, which builds on the classic steel Mark V action — with some key updates.
Gear

Weatherby Mark V Backcountry 2.0

Nosler has some exciting new products. Mason Payer of Nosler shows our own Joe Ferronato new suppressors, 21 Chassis Rifle and Trophy Grade Ammunition.
Gear

New from Nosler!

Shawn Skipper of Leupold explains their Custom Dial System to Petersen's Hunting's Joe Ferronato.
Gear

Leupold CDS

Kevin Steele gets a chance to test this impressive rifle at Roundtable 2022.
Gear

CZ 600 Range

Petersen's Hunting's Dale Evans is with CJ Johnson of Bushnell checking out their new Elite 4X.
Gear

Bushnell Elite 4500 4X Scope

Tim Herald shares tips on how to best use a ground blind.
Learn

Trijicon Tip: Ground Blinds

Petersen's Hunting Magazine Covers Print and Tablet Versions

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Petersen's Hunting App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

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

Get the top Petersen's Hunting stories delivered right to your inbox.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Petersen's Hunting subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Get a Full Year
of Guns & Ammo
& Digital Access.

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now