A Treasure of Free Homemade Gold Prospecting Equipment Plans and Commentary: All About Black Bear Hunting in Arizona: Guides, Information, and Trophy Type

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Monday, October 03, 2016

All About Black Bear Hunting in Arizona: Guides, Information, and Trophy Type

Some states have seen local extinction, sometimes called

extirpation, of black bear from the Midwest to the East.

However black bear still live in many U.S. states,

Canadian provinces, and Mexico to the extent that they

are not classified an endangered species anymore. Black

bear are also found in wooded areas in Arizona. The

often big, lumbering black bears seem to locate

themselves south of the Colorado River in Arizona.

Various guiding services in Arizona provide guided hunts

for black bear during specified hunting dates. All

possible dates are as follows (see,

http://www.azgfd.gov/regs/springregs.pdf for

restrictions during this period): 2015 SPRING BEAR

DATES: March 20 - April 30. A hunt in the spring can be

had only by permit through a bonus or draw point system.

The hunt in the fall requires the purchase of tags

(over-the-counter) which do not specify a particular

legal hunting area. That is, if you want to take a bear

in the fall, a non-permit bear tag lets you go to ANY

specified bear area, referred to as a unit (in Arizona)

for the hunting of bear.
As you may see, the permitted season is somewhat

restricted. Harvesting black bear must be carefully

controlled. The Forestry Service monitors the stock and

provides the greatest opportunity possible for sport


Arizona Indian reservations also have a hunting season

on their tribal lands. The White Mountain Apache Tribe

is located in an area in the central east part of

Arizona, and lies 194 miles north and east of Phoenix,

the capitol. The reservation covers three different

Arizona counties: Apache, Gila, and Navajo. The

reservation is an expanse of 1.6 million acres, while it

is the location of its former home on the Fort Apache

Indian Reservation. A hunter does not have to get a

state license to hunt on Apache land. He only needs a

tribal permit which can be purchased on the reservation.

If you want to hunt on Apache land for bear, a guide is

REQUIRED. It has been reported that hunts with guides

can run $1000 a day or more. However, as will be pointed

out again, the success rate is high, and the quality of

bear is top notch.

On the Apache Reservation at San Carlos, black bear are

usually foraging prickly pear fruit, while others are

looking in elm and white oak for acorns, or grazing for

manzanita berries and juniper berries, all of which are

found in the local foothills.

Black bear in Arizona in years of lower rainfall will

gravitate toward the lower desert to munch on prickly

pear cactus fruit. In years of high precipitation,

acorns and berries are plentiful in the higher levels

and they spend more time there. Hunters notice that the

bears still will move to the lower desert floor

searching for cactus fruit, but not nearly as much as in

very dry seasons.  And what's more, realize that the

Apache Nation has its own places within the reservation

divided into areas.

Grizzly bears are often featured seen swatting at the

water fishing for salmon. This is not the behavior of a

black bear in Arizona. Most of the time the black bear

will eat the items listed above. In addition, as they

migrate to the lower desert foraging, they find mesquite

beans a delicacy.

To be acquainted with the Apache protocol call

(928)369-8-5087 or (928)338-4385 ext 228 or connect to

this URL for a map of the area:

http://www.wmatoutdoors.org/ , or write to: White

Mountain Apache Tribe Game & Fish Department P.O. Box

Whiteriver, AZ 85941.

Most of the guided hunts utilize spot and stalk or

predator calling. Rifle and bow hunts are both allowed

in the state of Arizona. These hunts in general are not

highly known for quantity necessarily, but for the

QUALITY of the black bears. Many are fully mature black

bears. Depending on the time of year, they can have

somewhat different colors. I have read of cinnamon,

brown, black, chocolate, and even more variations of

dark color being pointed out by hunters. These bears get

the moniker of cinnamon black bear, etc.

Of the 72 separate areas the Arizona Game and Fish

Department has subdivided the state into for hunting,

some don't allow black bear hunting. As mentioned

earlier, though black bear do come down from the

mountains seeking food during harsh times, the bear

populations flourish in the forested areas. But one

thing that is interesting about bears and Arizona is the

placement of mountains. Though higher altitudes full of

desert growth are referred to as the high desert, it

isn't unusual to see a huge mountain in the middle of a

dry lower desert floor. Rising up 1000's of feet, these

mountains have heavily forested areas where black bear

may live - particularly in southern Arizona. This does

not necessarily mean that it is legal to hunt bear

there. The hunter has to be informed about the units

that allow black bear hunting. When bear move to the

lower levels of  the area it is referred to as the low


At certain times (specific dates determined by the state

authorities) a phone call must be made to decide if the

harvest quota has been met. If it has, that particular

season ends. If not, it continues. These phone calls are

required of each hunter. Reminder note: hunters may hunt

unimpeded up to that specific date when calls need to be

made. It cannot be emphasized enough that the quality of

bear in Arizona is very high. These regulations make

sure that enough quality black bear will populate the

area for the next season. This is hearsay, but what I

have gleaned from articles is that most of your

experienced hunters understand.  To be fair, a phone

call after a specified date is not that restrictive.

Decisions about the hunt dates are made with

consideration to black bear reproduction schedules (once

every 2 years) and the reporting of the taking of a

female bear. The reporting is carefully analyzed through

a eco-evaluation system and a 48 hour required time

period for telephone reporting of the harvesting of a

female. Though I have tried to give exact information,

since this is an article, I recommend calling Arizona

Game and Fish for particulars. I can give you the number

that hunters need to call to make sure the hunt is still

on: 1-800-970-BEAR. Within ten days there is also a

physical inspection of the bear by authorities.

Baiting bears is illegal in Arizona. Covering a food

source area that the bears like is reported as the best

way to hunt black bear. Then, stalk and call is utilized

with the response of the bear highly unpredictable. I

repeat, the bear's reaction is highly unpredictable!

Some will charge, some will act as if curious, some will

wonder off, but the emphasis is on unpredictable! A GOOD

pair of binoculars with a tripod should be a priority,

while a scope for spotting can be useful, too.

For Arizona state regulations go to www.azgfd.gov.

Detailed information about the black bear season in the

Arizona units is available there and at

azgfd.gov/h_f/hunting. For current bear hunt draw

regulations see azgfd.gov/h_f/hunting_rules. This site

also informs of NO HUNT areas in Arizona.

You can hunt near a water hole in Arizona but must be at

least 1/4 mile from a camping/inhabited area.  In the

fall it is generally dry in Arizona. From forum reports,

I have found that there is some common local advice.

Positioning yourself on a hill overlooking a watering

hole can be productive. You have a large range of area

to detect movement, and, of course, in dry weather  (and

any other time for that matter) the black bears come

down to drink. Be cognizant of the fact that rules

change. This information was correct to my best
knowledge as of date of publication.

The three greatest reasons for hunting black bear in

Arizona include record potential, big body size, and

color phase.  Hunting the black makes you work for the

kill, energizes you, and rewards you with a fine

specimen. It also has the possibility of winding up

being the best hunt of a hunter's life!

For additional general information, see


For more bear season information, see


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