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

Boost antler growth on your deer property with these food plot tricks. How-To

How to Supplement Antler Growth with Food Plots

Jeff Johnston

Boost antler growth on your deer property with these food plot tricks.

These are the must-apply units for trophy elk, mule deer, and antelope in the West. North America

The Best Units for Hunting Elk, Mule Deer & Antelope

Chuck Smock

These are the must-apply units for trophy elk, mule deer, and antelope in the West.

Whether you're pursuing black bears, moose or whitetails, Quebec will put you on the right track. North America

Big-Game Adventure Beckons in Quebec

Lynn Burkhead

Whether you're pursuing black bears, moose or whitetails, Quebec will put you on the right...

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.

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 16: Cedar Break Bucks

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

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 10: Snowbound Chamois

Host Brittany Boddington gets more than she bargained for on what turned out to be a grueling, snowbound and extremely physical hunt for chamois in Romania's Carpathian mountains.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

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.

Since the first explorers and pilgrims landed, the inhabitants of this glorious country have been Shooting

7 Favorite Truck Guns

Joseph von Benedikt - May 11, 2015

Since the first explorers and pilgrims landed, the inhabitants of this glorious country have...

A new wave of allergies threatens to turn hunters into vegetarians. News

The Ticks Making Hunters Allergic to Meat

David Hart

A new wave of allergies threatens to turn hunters into vegetarians.

See More Stories

More North America Big Game

Icons of the Mountain West, wapiti are coming home to ALL the lands they once roamed. Conservation

Eastern Elk Conservation Efforts Mean More Hunting Opportunities

David Hart

Icons of the Mountain West, wapiti are coming home to ALL the lands they once roamed.

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.

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...

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.

×