Bear Hunting on Vancouver Island

Anything you need to know about the best time, places, outfitters, and regulations of Vancouver Island bear hunting, you can find them here. We are ready to help you make a rewarding BC hunting opportunity.

The content is valid until June 30, 2024.

Canada is home to two bear species, black bear and brown bear (grizzly bear). Yukon is the only province where hunting grizzly bears are allowed, but you have chances to watch grizzly bears on Vancouver Island. According to British Columbia Hunting and Trapping Regulations Synopsis, there have been a number of grizzly bears sightings on northern Vancouver Island in recent years. Appropriate safety precautions should be taken, and hunters are reminded that there is no open season for grizzly bears in BC. In contrast, hunters have the opportunity of hunting black bears in different provinces and territories with variable prices, distribution, and hunting methods. Hunting is an integral part of North American culture.
Canada is one of the places on the planet most abundant in black bears. As it is estimated, there are approximately 120,000 black bears in British Columbia and over 7,000 black bears on Vancouver Island. That is why Vancouver Island is one of the densest places in the world for hunting black bears. The hunting success rate is high in springs and falls, especially after hibernations.
Chances for hunting bears in both springs and falls are equal. Hunters might have exceptional chances to break the monotony habit of hunting by harvesting bears. Vancouver Island boasts one of the most popular areas for black bear hunting in BC since it is home to a large population of magnificent black bears.

History of Hunting Bears on Vancouver Island

The remains of the 10,000-year-old skeleton indicate that Vancouver Island black bears have been living separately from their mainland species for a long time. Hunting bears is considered a quarry for most hunters. However, it is not honoured as equal as its value. British Columbia and Vancouver Island are the most abundant places in bear species, making them excellent places for hunters.

Vancouver Island Bear Hunters

In some aspects, black bears are more valuable to chase than other big game species as hoofed animals, including elks and deer. Over the past few years, most hunters have embarked on hunting black bears. For some, these fur-bearing animals are considered novelty species to break up the monotony of deer hunting, which has been going on for too many years. The thing that makes black bear hunting advantageous is that hunters can chase black bears in spring and falls. However, opportunities for hunting other big game and small game animals don't exist. But it is not the only motive for hunters.

Book Your Guided Bear Hunting Trip

Reasons to Hunt Bears on Vancouver Island

* A certain level of hunting pressure is necessary to keep the bear population under control for human safety. One factor that makes this fur-bearing animal precious to chase is its fur. Unlike hollow fur of ungulates such as elks and deer, they have luxurious and beautiful fur. Their fur consists of under hair and outer hair; the outer hair functions as guard hair which the outer guard name can be given. The soft and dense underfur functions as an insulant, while the outer guard fur serves as protection from insects, debris, dirt, and repel water.

* The other factor that makes black bears distinctive among the big game species is their meat, a hybrid of pork and beef, as delicious as deer's flesh. The flesh delicacy is even more significant in two-year-olds whose diet consists of berries more than fish. Vancouver Island black bear is considered one of British Columbia's six subspecies, larger than the mainland bear with a huge skull and darker in colour. Male black bears weigh up to 280 kg (617.2 pounds) and females up to 180 kg (396.8 pounds). Bear meat was eaten not just for culinary but iconic for their thigh and caws as the most important parts. Black bears have delicate meat compared to hoofed mammals such as deer or elks. It is a hybrid of beef and pork as delicious as deer's flesh. Bear's flesh taste depends on what they eat. It becomes better when they feed more on fish and berries, as in two-year-old bears.

* Another factor is the black bears' fat. The black bear's fat fluctuates between liquid and solid at room temperature after it is rendered into oil. The oil rendered from the black bears' fat can also be used in cooking and frying.

* Furthermore, ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) taken from bears' gall bladder might cure poor eyesight, rheumatism, gall stones, cancers, and many other ailments.

Interesting Facts about Black Bears and Bear Hunting on Vancouver Island

* One-quarter of Canadian black bears live in Canada.
* Over 7,000 black bears are on Vancouver Island.
*  It is not unrealistic to shoot a bear of more than 2 m (7 feet).
* Black bears are usually less aggressive than grizzly bears.
* Hunting bears is a kind of sport that requires seeking, pursuing, and killing bears with firearms or bow and arrows.
* Black bears have high-quality skins.
* You would have a significant hunting concession on more than 9065 sq km (3500 sq miles).

Where to Hunt Bears on Vancouver Island?

Black bears are being chased in mountains, prairie, a vast portion of parklands, and foothills. Bears may be spotted in lower elevations near streams and rivers or open areas around clear cuts in berry patches. They may be found on mountain hills and hardwoods, showing their adaptability to survive in higher elevations. Black bears can also be seen lively playing in Tofino, Ucluelet, Campbell River, Telegraph Cove, Port McNeill, Port Hardy, Port Alberni, Nitinat, and many other pristine and semi-isolated locations. For now, the management units (MU) or the hunting areas designated by BC regulation for hunting black bears are 1-1 to 1-15 on the region 1 (Vancouver Island) map. But hunters should be aware of no hunting and shooting areas on Vancouver Island.
Locating black bears' feeding areas can be considered a leading way to hunt bears. Black bears' feeding areas vary, including berry patches, dead livestock, apple orchards, and carrion. They live in woodlands, and conflicts arise when they seek.
Black bears are opportunistic eaters. Their diet mostly consists of roots, grasses, berries, and insects. Fish, mammals, and even carrion are also their favourite food. Since they have a taste of human food or garbage, bears sometimes break into cabins, campsites, or country homes which causes dangerous contact. Since their diet is as mentioned, they might be found around streams and bodies of water, woodlands, cherry farms, and high plateaus.
According to Black Bears in British Columbia, hunting is prohibited in all national parks, ecological reserves, and some provincial parks. Also, it is illegal to shoot any two-year-old or younger bear or any bear in its company, usually its mother.

When to Hunt Bears on Vancouver Island?

Spring is the best time to see bears on Vancouver Island when they start breeding, searching for receptive females. Early April through June are the best black bear hunting months that many states and provinces offer. Hunters can also benefit from chasing black bears in falls to hit a bear while hunting on Vancouver Island for other big game animals. This season provides opportunities to see a black bear at any time throughout the day. Black bears can be best hit in the early morning or late evenings when they are most active and searching for food.

Protected Areas of Vancouver Island, Based on the BC Act

How to Track a Bear on Vancouver Island

The telltale sign is a term used for the traces that let the hunters know if black bears are roaming in the area. They include rotten logs and shredded stumps, overturned rocks under which the bears are looking for food, pawed-up ground, and along spawning streams where fish carcasses are discarded, and bones of carrions scattered or crushed.
Claw and bite marks on trees are among signs of bears' existence, human high-head height. They are usually superficial, but sometimes the incisor bites are so deep that they pull-out pieces of bark. The signs of bite on trees are often horizontal since the canine teeth come together after bite, similar to dots and dashes.
Bears have a habit of rubbing their back, shoulder, and crown against trees which causes clumps of hair to stick to the trunks. Utility poles are their favourite spot for leaning into. They are mostly spotted along trails or travel corridors. Checking utility poles, especially those leaning, is an easy way to know if bears are around.
Another black bear's telltale sign is foot tracks. Bears leave traces when they walk through soft snow or mud; however, they don't leave any tracks since they have soft soles.

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Bear Hunting Methods on Vancouver Island

Millions of people around the world enjoy hunting throughout the year without a defined same way. There are several ways to experience hunting sport. It's important to make sure that you take the most advantage of your hunting trip by learning about hunting methods and options and choosing your best one.

Rifle Hunting

Rifle hunting is considered an easier way of hunting than hunting by a bow. One can easily kill with a bullet with a rifle and be quickly loaded, in contrast with bow hunting. Rifle hunting is accompanied by expert guides and requires more than camping or hiking gear, rifle, ammunition, hunting knife, and appropriate attire. Hunters may also utilize larger rifles to bring down big species such as black bears, elk, and deer.

Spot and Stalk Hunting

The spot and stalk method of hunting needs experienced hunters who can identify animal tracks and signs that help hunters know if there has been an animal recently. Most of the hunters prefer tracking their game instead of waiting for the game to draw to them.
Hunters choosing the bow hunting option are more inclined to track their game than rifle hunters. This is mainly for the bows being quieter and less likely to spook the game in case of the hunter's failure.
Spot and stalk hunters are required to use sparse and lightweight equipment since they should carry everything on their trip. A skilled tracker can almost guarantee to see the game.

Bow Hunting

Bowhunting (or bow hunting) is the preferred option for those who want to taste the true wilderness through simplicity and being in touch with the primal nature of the sport. Bowhunting allows the bagging of several animals since it is quieter and doesn't make other animals run away. Aims and accuracy in this method are much more important than rifle hunting because bowhunting power isn't the same as a rifle.
Bowhunters usually aim at harvesting big species since small ones are hard to shoot and follow. Besides a bow, they should carry a hunting knife, arrows and arrowheads, a rangefinder, and strings in case of breakage.

Hunting with Decoys

What if your hunting skills are low, and you are hunting for meat rather than a trophy? Enjoy hunting using decoys. It increases the success rate since it draws animals to hunters. Hunting using decoys reduces the skill level that a successful hunt requires.
Waterfowl are typically hunted by utilizing decoys. However, big game species can be harvested with the use of decoys. They are set at spots of fowl-enticing calls or scents within sight of camouflaged hunters.

Hunting from a Blind

Some ways of hunting from a blind like blinds treestand or ground blind can be available on request for big game such as black bear. Guides try to keep very close contact with you while you are on the stand.

Bear Hunting Regulations on Vancouver Island

Regulations for BC Bear Hunts | Region 1

Vancouver Island Bear Hunting Cost

Vancouver Island bear hunting may vary in price depending on duration, hunting methods, licence, tags, services, guide, and tax. But the cost may begin at $3,000.

Choose Among the Best Guide Outfitters for Bear Hunting in BC

According to Hunting and Trapping Regulations Synopsis, non-resident and non-resident alien hunters are required to be accompanied by a guide outfitter, assistant guide outfitter or a holder of a permit to accompany at all times when hunting big game, regardless of the type of licence (restricted or unrestricted) they have.

To experience a successful hunting tour:
1- Plan for it in advance.
2- Choose the areas where you intend to hunt for your trophy bear hunts.
3- Apply for and obtain the necessary licence.
4- Select the right outfitter.
An outfitted hunting trip is not only for unskilled hunters. Hiring a professional outfitter or guide helps you access the best bear hunting areas and new vistas of outdoor adventure.

Vancouver Island Bear Hunting Safety Tips

• Don't go hunting alone; however, if you do, make sure anyone is aware of where you are going and when you will probably be back.
• Do not take small kids hunting.
• Bears love the mint smell, so consider it when you go hunting.
• You cannot outrun a bear; they are very fast. Be careful about it.
• Black bears' sense of smell is over 100x compared with a human's.
• Come from the opposite direction of the bear when on the way to your tree stand.
• Research and discover the terrain to stalk the bear easier.

Customize Your Hunting Trip on Vancouver Island

Duck & Goose
Snowshoe Hare
Band-tailed pigeon

Vancouver Island Bear Hunting Common Questions and Answers

Vancouver Island bear hunting may vary in price depending on duration, hunting methods, licence, tags, services, guide, and tax. But the price starts at 3000$.
There are over 7,000 black bears on Vancouver Island. In recent years, some grizzly bears have been seen on northern Vancouver Island while swimming toward the island, but the number is rare. There is no open season for grizzly bears in BC.
Generally, there are 16 subspecies of black bears, but six subspecies exist on Vancouver Island.
Hunting for black bears is legal in Canada except for some protected areas.
Hunting black bears is legal on Vancouver Island except for all national parks, ecological reserves, and some provincial parks.
During the fall, chances are throughout the day. However, it is said that the best time to hunt black bears is when they are looking for food in the morning or early evening.
Spot and stalk on Vancouver Island for bear hunting is a preferred hunting method and an exciting opportunity.
If you consider some safety tips for hunting, your adventure will be exciting.
If you expect a big trophy bear and improve your chance of coming across the bear, it is recommended to avoid smoking during your hunt. The scent of smoke can scare the prey.
Firearms (including Centrefire Rifles and Shotguns) and decoys are permitted. Archery hunting for bears is legal for Crossbow and Compound Crossbow.
Hiking boots, waterproof pants and jacket, socks, hunting pants, short-sleeve shirt, long-sleeve shirt, gloves, hat, layers of clothing
Clothes, camping items, rifle or archery equipment, heavy grain ammunition, binoculars, duffle bags, snacks
No. Baiting is illegal for hunting bears in British Columbia. Try black bear hunting without bait.
Early morning or late evenings are the best time of day for hunting black bears when they are most active and searching for food.

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