This year Muley Freak is launching a new project called “BEAR WARS”. No this project isn’t a war on the bears themselves, it’s more of a war on lack of education in general about bears and bear hunting. Throughout the year you will see Muley Freak and partners like OnXMaps, Jonas Alaskan Outfitter, and Top Priority Hunting posting on social media about bear ecology, conservation, why we hunt bears and the different methods of hunting them. It’s a project we’ve already begun with a brown bear hunt in Alaska and an Idaho spot-n-stalk hunt. Bear Wars will also be captured on film with a several episode series so stay tuned. The reason we’ve gotten the bear hunting bug so bad is because it’s a hunt anyone can do relatively easy and relatively cheap. If you just want to get out and do it on the cheap there are several western states that offer OTC tags on vast tracts of public land. If you haven’t yet, do yourself a favor and get out on a bear hunt, it’s a great way to break the cabin fever and a hunt anyone can do. Below is a list of states where there is ample opportunity and lots of public land.
Doable and Affordable
Doing a spot-and-stalk bear hunt in the lower 48 states is one of the most doable, affordable and funnest hunts you can do. It’s doable because there are numerous states to walk up and buy an OTC tag like grandpa used to do. It’s affordable for several reasons; 1) There’s a state not to far away from you. 2) You don’t need to hire a guide. 3) Get a couple buddies to split the cost of the trip since they can buy tags and hunt with you. 4) There are vast tracts of public land so no need to pay trespass fees.
Bear Hunting a State Near You
- Although there are some black bear hunts you need to draw in Idaho there is ample opportunity for OTC black bear hunters. There’s opportunity for spring and fall hunts and in some units you can buy a second tag. Idaho is one of our favorite based on opportunity to vast tracts of public land and not far from home.
- Tag Fees: Resident $13.75, Non-resident $186
- Montana is one of the best states for OTC spot-n-stalk black bear hunting. It’s big, it has open hillsides with mixed timber and there are a lot of bears. Montana is one of the most popular state to black bear hunt.
- Tag Fees: Resident $19, Non-resident $350.
- Arizona isn’t usually on the tip of every hunters tongue when asked which state they might bear hunt. Surprisingly Arizona has a lot of OTC opportunity to hunt bears in the spring, fall, and possibly winter. You could be in the ponderosa pine forest or glassing desert rims in search of bears, not your typical bear hunt for sure. Many of the units are on a sow harvest quota so when the sow quota is met the unit is closed.
- Tag Fees: Resident $25, Non-Resident $150
- Oregon offers a spring and fall bear hunting season. A limited number of SW Oregon spring bear tags are sold on a first-come, first-serve basis and usually sell out in early February while the fall hunt is entirely OTC.
- Tag Fees: Resident $16, Non-resident $16. That’s right, the same for residents and non-residents! We didn’t believe it until we called multiple Oregon Wildlife offices to confirm.
- There are spring and fall hunts available OTC. Wyoming runs their black bear hunts on a quota system as well. Once a pre-determined number of females are killed in a unit the hunt is shut down.
- Tag Fees: Resident $47, Non-Resident $373