It's a Great Year to Hunt Bear, Here's Why

July 10, 2020 at 11:40 am

By Public Relations Specialist Katie Yates

Maine has the highest population of black bears in the eastern United States. The population is currently stable and appropriate for what the landscape can support, but black bears do not have any natural predators in Maine. Unchecked populations could easily grow exponentially, eventually leading to unsustainable numbers of bears. This type of population growth could lead to starvation, disease, death, and increased contact with humans. Maine's bear population is 35, 000 strong but the success rate of hunters is a mere 25-30%.

The 2020 bear hunting season may offer a better opportunity than past seasons. If you've ever considered trying a bear hunt, this is the year to do it!

Due to cycles in natural food sources and the dry weather, the typical foods bears pursue this time of year may not be available in their usual abundance--berries and other soft and hard mast will be few and far between for hungry bears. While this does elevate the likelihood bears will be browsing bird feeders, bee boxes, and dumpsters for their next meal (learn more about how to prevent conflicts in your backyard), it also means bears may check bait sites more frequently. Since almost every method of hunting bear involves baiting, this may increase opportunities for hunters to harvest bear.

Three hunters setting up a game camera. Photo by Chris Bennett

Bear hunting can be a tough sell for hunters. All the various methods can seem time-consuming and challenging. Many would-be bear hunters are deterred by the time commitment and the misconception that bear meat is unpalatable.

But bear hunting, for new and seasoned hunters alike, is a fun and challenging experience that encourages time with family in nature. For those who find late autumn hunts too chilly, the mild temperatures of a bear hunt might be just right. And when cared for properly, bear meat is a delicious way to fill your freezer.

For active deer hunters, adding bear as a species to consider while in the woods is an easy addition to the hunting season. The bear season is earlier in the fall, providing a hunting opportunity that won’t interfere with deer firearm season. Maine resident hunters may also harvest a bear while deer hunting during the deer firearm season (essentially the month of November) without a bear permit.

If you're considering a bear hunt but don't know where to start, Registered Maine Guides are your source for a multitude of outdoor adventures, regardless of your skill level. 65% of bears harvested are by hunters with a guide, so having one by your side is a good idea for your first attempt. Guided experiences can range from fully supervised, mentored hunts to semi-guided hunts for the more experienced hunter. Find a guide by visiting or

With travel plans being canceled and everything occurring a little closer to home, consider a Maine Staycation with a traditional bear hunting experience led by a Registered Maine Guide.