Bear Weapons & Ammo, Best guns for Black Bear

Recommended weapons and ammo

"No matter what you choose for a weapon, it's essential to hit a bear hard and in the right spot. Maine Black Bears are tough. According to a few hunters we've had, (those who have hunted Black Bear in other states) I am told, they are the "toughest Black Bear they ever encountered "!... They can take a good hit and still take off on you. Hunters need to put them down with good shooting ( and as we tell our hunters, " Keep Shooting ") but  the right load also, is very important to keep them down.
A bear’s heart is low and forward in the chest and is protected by a large, hard leg bone. The lungs are large but are often positioned behind an equally large shoulder bone. All of the vitals are underneath a heavy coat of matted hair, a thick pliable hide and a substantial layer of fat. The fat  often clogs up holes just like a cork and can quickly stop blood from seeping out making tracking very difficult. No matter what you choose to use, knock down power is your primary concern.
Putting you on bear with an effective bait/stand setup is our job and we take it very seriously. Getting the job done when your bear shows up is your job, and having the right equipment is crucial." Here's what we recommend to get the job done.
  • Rifles: Definitely the larger calibers. 30 Cal and up... Recommend the heaviest core-lokt bullet your caliber will shoot or ballistic tipped ammo. ( If you have or can find a Winchester Silvertip bullet for your caliber, I personally love this round. I wish Winchester had not discontinued them.)... 7mm mag and .270 with good lead (SST or ballistic tip) is adequate.  Individuals choosing to hunt with lever action rifles should use such suitable selections as the .44 mag,  .45-70,  .32 Winchester Special & .35 Remington

  • Muzzle loaders: A 50 caliber muzzle loader is more than capable of taking down a large Black Bear, the key is bullet weight & shot placement( since you only have one shot) . The heavier the lead the better. There are a lot of good choices on the market for heavy muzzle loader lead. Remember shots are usually  10 - 25 yards so bullet drop is not a concern. Knock down power is. I recommend T/C 300 grain Shock wave bullets.

  • Handguns: Anything from .41 Magnum up to the .500 S&W. I love my .357 magnum, but it does not have the knock down power needed to slam a 400 lb Black Bear down.  As far as the right bullet, there is a lot of conflicting opinions. Some experts  say any big- bore cartridge that throws a solid bullet weighing 200 grains or more at 1000 fps. Others will tell you that a jacketed or solid copper hollow point bullet is best. I have seen both do the job. I think they each have advantages and disadvantages. I feel if a hollow point hits heavy  bone, you're not going to get the penetration that you would from a heavy solid bullet. On the other side, a heavy hollow point that doesn't hit a big bone is going to make a much bigger hole. The key again is heavy... and of course shot placement. This is a good website to look at. You'll see they don't even list the .357 

  • Shotguns: Should be rifled barrel 12 gauge slug guns. Pumps or semi-autos.

  • Bows: Legally... "Arrow heads (including expandable mechanical broad heads) must be at least inch in width".

  • We recommend at min: 100 grain broad heads, preferably 125 grain with a cutting width of at least 1.25”. As far as mechanical broad heads, we like Rage broad heads. All bows whether compound, re-curve or long bow should have a bare minimum draw weight of 50lbs.

  • Crossbows: Legally: .."Only crossbows with a shoulder-type stock may be used; hand-held pistol-type crossbows are prohibited; the draw weight may not be less than 100 pounds nor more than 200 pounds; arrowheads, including mechanical broad heads when open, must be at least inch in width."

      Our recommendations: 

  • Your crossbow shoots  at minimum, 300 fps... 
  • Broad heads: 100 Gr. Minimum. (recommend 125 Gr), 
  • Fixed blade (strongly recommended)
  • Mechanical broad heads are prone to flight issues with crossbows. Because of the short bolt and dynamic release.
  • Scopes:  Whatever weapon you choose, having a low power scope is a good idea ( no more than 4x ). Even though shots are close, the Maine woods get dark long before legal shooting time is up. A scope allows you those precious few extra minutes at  "prime time ".  All scopes should be sighted in for 25 yards. PERIOD! It's a good idea to sight your scope in from an elevated position. most of our stands are 12'  tall. 

  • Here's some interesting info about a Bear's eyesight.