Skip to main content 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.

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

Recommended Articles

Popular Videos

Pheasant Egg Rolls Recipe

Pheasant Egg Rolls Recipe

These egg rolls come together fast, making them a great choice for an afternoon snack, a tailgate appetizer or as a side dish with an Asian-inspired wild-game dinner. No birds in the freezer? Use the same technique with ground venison.

New for 2021: BOG Clandestine and Blood Moon Trail Cameras

New for 2021: BOG Clandestine and Blood Moon Trail Cameras

The BOG Blood Moon and Clandestine are two new trail cameras with some great features.

Fare Game: Venison Heart Kabobs Recipe

Fare Game: Venison Heart Kabobs Recipe

The heart of a deer, elk, antelope or other big-game animal is an underrated cut that often gets left behind in the woods. Next time, save your heart for these amazing appetizers. A hunter's riff on anticuchos de corazón, a popular Peruvian street food you can make easily right on your grill.

See All Videos

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

Buy Digital Single Issues

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