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Maine Black Bear
Maine Black Bear

The unlikely bear hunter

Jesse Phillips had no intention of bear hunting.  He was along for the ride with friend and host of Blood Origins, Robbie Kroger, who was on his annaul bear hunt with Grove Hill Outfitters. Being convinced that he should go hunt, Jesse grabbed the 45-10 and headed into a treestand.  He wore his cowboy boots, jeans and flannel, "the only thing I didn't do was put on deoterant" Jesse laughed.  Climbing up into the stand a little before 2pm, he held no expectations for seeing his first bear in the wild.  He was doing this just to apease the guys in camp. At 4:02, a bear appeared. "He was about 40 yards away," explained Jesse, "and he was just walkeding around, sniffing and eating.  He wasn't interested...

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Another bear, another amazing experience

I watched the crack in my windshield grow slightly as the heater kicked on.  It was still dark and the temperature gauge read 27 degrees.  I took a sip of coffee and exhaled; it was a perfect September morning to go bear hunting. I met Bill Dereszewski, owner of Hollaback Guide Service at the gas station in Princeton.  We drank coffee and planned out the day as we waited for more people to join us.  Bernie was the first to arrive.  A local retired hunter who assisted Bill, his truck was filled with shortbreads and coffee to keep us filled as we chased bears.  Bill Gillespie and his pup Tawny joined the group and finally Matt Mcdonnell and a group of hunters from New York arrived.  They had been...

Keep Reading

Love those bear cubs!

Yearlings run.  That was the caution that Randy Cross told Staci (MyMainelyGirlAdventures) and me as we met with the Maine bear crew to prepare to head into the woods.  This particular den that we were going to had a 16 year old sow, who had had four cubs with her last year when they checked her den.  There was the potential for four yearlings plus Mama in the den.  I was a little giddy with the idea of so many bears! It is easy to brag about the bear crew. Aside from their decades of experience working with Maine’s bear population, they are a study in how team should work.  They know their strengths and weaknesses and support one another to ensure that they have a plan and back up plans for every den...

Keep Reading

The most exciting hunt, you’re not going on

I blame my friend Steve.  I cautiously agreed to go with him and learn how to hunt them so that I could have some first-hand experience when I write.  I would have never guessed that in agreeing to go with him, I would now look at August in a whole new way; it’s bear season! There are roughly 10,000 of us who buy our bear permits every year.  Compared to the 180,000+ deer hunters and we basically have the woods to ourselves to hunt bear. Guess what non-bear hunters?  You are missing out on one of the most exciting hunts you could possibly go on! And that should change.   Why would you want to hunt bears? Easiest reason is management and keeping the population in check with the biological and social...

Keep Reading

Spring Black Bear Management

In Maine, it is easy to brag about our bear biologists.  I did some quick math and with conservative estimates, Maine's bear biologist Randy Cross has spent more than 72,000 hours studying and working with our black bears.  That blows Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000 hour rule out of the water.  I was lucky enough to tag along with Randy and his bear crew, including Lisa Bates, as they started running their trap lines to check the health of our bears.   I met Randy and two of his team mates, Preacher and Roach, as they headed out on day 3 of the 2016 trapping season. Their goal during the six week season is to collar as many females as possible while also getting the stats (weight, length, canine tooth size etc)...

Keep Reading

In the woods: learning from what’s left behind

You can learn a lot by what animals leave behind.  In this case, a bear was able to get a nice chunk of venison.  The size and the amount of hair (you can see the white and tan hairs closest to my foot) tells you that this bear took more than just a nibble at the deer.   Bear are one of the biggest predators of deer; especially deer fawns in the spring.  Clearly there is one less deer in this area then there was before winter started!

Keep Reading

Aging a bear by its skull

When you kill a bear in Maine, you are legally required to submit a tooth to IF&W so that the bear can be aged and logged into the records.  Each tooth is cut, like a tree, and the rings are counted. Biologists can learn about the health of the bear and it's age. Assuming that the tooth gets to where it needs to be. Typically, it takes a year for the data to be published.  The link to the information is usually posted all over social media and eager hunters share how old their bear was.  I couldn't wait to find out how old this guy was. The popular vote was about 8 years old. When the data was posted, I searched.  I looked up my name.  I looked up my guide's name. I looked up the tagging station and the...

Keep Reading

One year later: what happened to the cubs?

Remember this guy?  I was fortunate enough to meet him last March when he was a brand new black bear. I knew that our awesome bear biologist were out checking dens and sent a message to one of them asking if they had gone to King's den yet and if the cubs were there with her.  My timing could not have been more perfect; they were heading to her den the next day! Using the same technology as they did the year before, they found King under a network of cedar blowdowns.  She weighed in at 156lbs - four pounds heavier than she was the year before, and looked totally healthy. Last year, King had given birth to a male and female cub.  Only the male cub was in the den with her this year. While the female cub could have...

Keep Reading

My bear is home!

Lori let me know last week that my bear was done and I could come get him!  When we dropped him off a year ago, there were a lot of problems, namely his head being cut in half.  But, when all was said and done Jim and Lori did the following: 1. Piece the skull back together. 2. Remove the bald patch in the center of his back that the bear got when he was being hauled off the mountain. 3. All paws were removed and turned 180 degrees because the pelt was not cut right when it was butchered. 4. Flaps of skin above his shoulders were removed and sewn back onto his sides were they belonged. 5. All of the normal taxidermy stuff like preparing and working with the pelt, getting the fake head to go into the rug and felting the...

Keep Reading

The unlikely bear hunter

Jesse Phillips had no intention of bear hunting.  He was along for the ride with friend and host of Blood Origins, Robbie Kroger, who was on his annaul bear hunt with Grove Hill Outfitters. Being convinced that he should go hunt, Jesse grabbed the 45-10 and headed into a treestand.  He wore his cowboy boots, jeans and flannel, "the only thing I didn't do was put on deoterant" Jesse laughed.  Climbing up into the stand a little before 2pm, he held no expectations for seeing his first bear in the wild.  He was doing this just to apease the guys in camp. At 4:02, a bear appeared. "He was about 40 yards away," explained Jesse, "and he was just walkeding around, sniffing and eating.  He wasn't interested...

Keep Reading

Another bear, another amazing experience

I watched the crack in my windshield grow slightly as the heater kicked on.  It was still dark and the temperature gauge read 27 degrees.  I took a sip of coffee and exhaled; it was a perfect September morning to go bear hunting. I met Bill Dereszewski, owner of Hollaback Guide Service at the gas station in Princeton.  We drank coffee and planned out the day as we waited for more people to join us.  Bernie was the first to arrive.  A local retired hunter who assisted Bill, his truck was filled with shortbreads and coffee to keep us filled as we chased bears.  Bill Gillespie and his pup Tawny joined the group and finally Matt Mcdonnell and a group of hunters from New York arrived.  They had been...

Keep Reading

Love those bear cubs!

Yearlings run.  That was the caution that Randy Cross told Staci (MyMainelyGirlAdventures) and me as we met with the Maine bear crew to prepare to head into the woods.  This particular den that we were going to had a 16 year old sow, who had had four cubs with her last year when they checked her den.  There was the potential for four yearlings plus Mama in the den.  I was a little giddy with the idea of so many bears! It is easy to brag about the bear crew. Aside from their decades of experience working with Maine’s bear population, they are a study in how team should work.  They know their strengths and weaknesses and support one another to ensure that they have a plan and back up plans for every den...

Keep Reading

The most exciting hunt, you’re not going on

I blame my friend Steve.  I cautiously agreed to go with him and learn how to hunt them so that I could have some first-hand experience when I write.  I would have never guessed that in agreeing to go with him, I would now look at August in a whole new way; it’s bear season! There are roughly 10,000 of us who buy our bear permits every year.  Compared to the 180,000+ deer hunters and we basically have the woods to ourselves to hunt bear. Guess what non-bear hunters?  You are missing out on one of the most exciting hunts you could possibly go on! And that should change.   Why would you want to hunt bears? Easiest reason is management and keeping the population in check with the biological and social...

Keep Reading

Spring Black Bear Management

In Maine, it is easy to brag about our bear biologists.  I did some quick math and with conservative estimates, Maine's bear biologist Randy Cross has spent more than 72,000 hours studying and working with our black bears.  That blows Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000 hour rule out of the water.  I was lucky enough to tag along with Randy and his bear crew, including Lisa Bates, as they started running their trap lines to check the health of our bears.   I met Randy and two of his team mates, Preacher and Roach, as they headed out on day 3 of the 2016 trapping season. Their goal during the six week season is to collar as many females as possible while also getting the stats (weight, length, canine tooth size etc)...

Keep Reading

In the woods: learning from what’s left behind

You can learn a lot by what animals leave behind.  In this case, a bear was able to get a nice chunk of venison.  The size and the amount of hair (you can see the white and tan hairs closest to my foot) tells you that this bear took more than just a nibble at the deer.   Bear are one of the biggest predators of deer; especially deer fawns in the spring.  Clearly there is one less deer in this area then there was before winter started!

Keep Reading

Aging a bear by its skull

When you kill a bear in Maine, you are legally required to submit a tooth to IF&W so that the bear can be aged and logged into the records.  Each tooth is cut, like a tree, and the rings are counted. Biologists can learn about the health of the bear and it's age. Assuming that the tooth gets to where it needs to be. Typically, it takes a year for the data to be published.  The link to the information is usually posted all over social media and eager hunters share how old their bear was.  I couldn't wait to find out how old this guy was. The popular vote was about 8 years old. When the data was posted, I searched.  I looked up my name.  I looked up my guide's name. I looked up the tagging station and the...

Keep Reading

One year later: what happened to the cubs?

Remember this guy?  I was fortunate enough to meet him last March when he was a brand new black bear. I knew that our awesome bear biologist were out checking dens and sent a message to one of them asking if they had gone to King's den yet and if the cubs were there with her.  My timing could not have been more perfect; they were heading to her den the next day! Using the same technology as they did the year before, they found King under a network of cedar blowdowns.  She weighed in at 156lbs - four pounds heavier than she was the year before, and looked totally healthy. Last year, King had given birth to a male and female cub.  Only the male cub was in the den with her this year. While the female cub could have...

Keep Reading

My bear is home!

Lori let me know last week that my bear was done and I could come get him!  When we dropped him off a year ago, there were a lot of problems, namely his head being cut in half.  But, when all was said and done Jim and Lori did the following: 1. Piece the skull back together. 2. Remove the bald patch in the center of his back that the bear got when he was being hauled off the mountain. 3. All paws were removed and turned 180 degrees because the pelt was not cut right when it was butchered. 4. Flaps of skin above his shoulders were removed and sewn back onto his sides were they belonged. 5. All of the normal taxidermy stuff like preparing and working with the pelt, getting the fake head to go into the rug and felting the...

Keep Reading

Enjoy these Maine Black Bear articles

The unlikely bear hunter

Jesse Phillips had no intention of bear hunting.  He was along for the ride with friend and host of Blood Origins, Robbie Kroger, who was on his annaul bear hunt with Grove Hill Outfitters. Being convinced that he should go hunt, Jesse grabbed the 45-10 and headed into a treestand.  He wore his cowboy boots, jeans and flannel, "the only thing I didn't do was put on deoterant" Jesse laughed.  Climbing up into the stand a little before 2pm, he held no expectations for seeing his first bear in the wild.  He was doing this just to apease the guys in camp. At 4:02, a bear appeared. "He was about 40 yards away," explained Jesse, "and he was just walkeding around, sniffing and eating.  He wasn't interested...

Keep Reading

Another bear, another amazing experience

I watched the crack in my windshield grow slightly as the heater kicked on.  It was still dark and the temperature gauge read 27 degrees.  I took a sip of coffee and exhaled; it was a perfect September morning to go bear hunting. I met Bill Dereszewski, owner of Hollaback Guide Service at the gas station in Princeton.  We drank coffee and planned out the day as we waited for more people to join us.  Bernie was the first to arrive.  A local retired hunter who assisted Bill, his truck was filled with shortbreads and coffee to keep us filled as we chased bears.  Bill Gillespie and his pup Tawny joined the group and finally Matt Mcdonnell and a group of hunters from New York arrived.  They had been...

Keep Reading

Love those bear cubs!

Yearlings run.  That was the caution that Randy Cross told Staci (MyMainelyGirlAdventures) and me as we met with the Maine bear crew to prepare to head into the woods.  This particular den that we were going to had a 16 year old sow, who had had four cubs with her last year when they checked her den.  There was the potential for four yearlings plus Mama in the den.  I was a little giddy with the idea of so many bears! It is easy to brag about the bear crew. Aside from their decades of experience working with Maine’s bear population, they are a study in how team should work.  They know their strengths and weaknesses and support one another to ensure that they have a plan and back up plans for every den...

Keep Reading

The most exciting hunt, you’re not going on

I blame my friend Steve.  I cautiously agreed to go with him and learn how to hunt them so that I could have some first-hand experience when I write.  I would have never guessed that in agreeing to go with him, I would now look at August in a whole new way; it’s bear season! There are roughly 10,000 of us who buy our bear permits every year.  Compared to the 180,000+ deer hunters and we basically have the woods to ourselves to hunt bear. Guess what non-bear hunters?  You are missing out on one of the most exciting hunts you could possibly go on! And that should change.   Why would you want to hunt bears? Easiest reason is management and keeping the population in check with the biological and social...

Keep Reading

Spring Black Bear Management

In Maine, it is easy to brag about our bear biologists.  I did some quick math and with conservative estimates, Maine's bear biologist Randy Cross has spent more than 72,000 hours studying and working with our black bears.  That blows Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000 hour rule out of the water.  I was lucky enough to tag along with Randy and his bear crew, including Lisa Bates, as they started running their trap lines to check the health of our bears.   I met Randy and two of his team mates, Preacher and Roach, as they headed out on day 3 of the 2016 trapping season. Their goal during the six week season is to collar as many females as possible while also getting the stats (weight, length, canine tooth size etc)...

Keep Reading

In the woods: learning from what’s left behind

You can learn a lot by what animals leave behind.  In this case, a bear was able to get a nice chunk of venison.  The size and the amount of hair (you can see the white and tan hairs closest to my foot) tells you that this bear took more than just a nibble at the deer.   Bear are one of the biggest predators of deer; especially deer fawns in the spring.  Clearly there is one less deer in this area then there was before winter started!

Keep Reading

Aging a bear by its skull

When you kill a bear in Maine, you are legally required to submit a tooth to IF&W so that the bear can be aged and logged into the records.  Each tooth is cut, like a tree, and the rings are counted. Biologists can learn about the health of the bear and it's age. Assuming that the tooth gets to where it needs to be. Typically, it takes a year for the data to be published.  The link to the information is usually posted all over social media and eager hunters share how old their bear was.  I couldn't wait to find out how old this guy was. The popular vote was about 8 years old. When the data was posted, I searched.  I looked up my name.  I looked up my guide's name. I looked up the tagging station and the...

Keep Reading

One year later: what happened to the cubs?

Remember this guy?  I was fortunate enough to meet him last March when he was a brand new black bear. I knew that our awesome bear biologist were out checking dens and sent a message to one of them asking if they had gone to King's den yet and if the cubs were there with her.  My timing could not have been more perfect; they were heading to her den the next day! Using the same technology as they did the year before, they found King under a network of cedar blowdowns.  She weighed in at 156lbs - four pounds heavier than she was the year before, and looked totally healthy. Last year, King had given birth to a male and female cub.  Only the male cub was in the den with her this year. While the female cub could have...

Keep Reading

My bear is home!

Lori let me know last week that my bear was done and I could come get him!  When we dropped him off a year ago, there were a lot of problems, namely his head being cut in half.  But, when all was said and done Jim and Lori did the following: 1. Piece the skull back together. 2. Remove the bald patch in the center of his back that the bear got when he was being hauled off the mountain. 3. All paws were removed and turned 180 degrees because the pelt was not cut right when it was butchered. 4. Flaps of skin above his shoulders were removed and sewn back onto his sides were they belonged. 5. All of the normal taxidermy stuff like preparing and working with the pelt, getting the fake head to go into the rug and felting the...

Keep Reading