Black Bear Hot Spots

Eastern North Carolina: Thanks to thousands of acres of designated bear sanctuaries, this region continues to produce giant bruins up to 700 pounds. Some predict the next world record will come from here. State game lands are plentiful, but they typically consist of jungle-thick, swampy cover, making still or stand-hunting difficult. Most bears are taken with the help of dogs. Contact: North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission; Outfitter Culley Wilson
Northern Maine: Most non-residents hire a guide, but a few manage to stumble into a bear on their own in Aroostook County, which produces the most bears and has the largest amount of land open to public hunting. Maine bear biologist Jennifer Vashon recommends still-hunting beech ridges and open meadows. Contact: North Maine Woods; Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife; Outfitter Doug Teel
Idaho: Open meadows and stream bottoms offer ideal spot-and-stalk hunting opportunities, although baiting and hounds are legal in Idaho as well. Look for large berry patches in early fall. Much of the northern half of the state consists of national forest with parts of the Panhandle region producing the most bears thanks to a generous two-permit per hunter allowance. Contact: Idaho Fish and Game; Outfitter Tom Henderson
Alaska: No state has more black bears or more public land, but bear densities can be light in much of the state. The best areas include the 3,000-mile coast of Prince William Sound, where transport guides can serve as a base camp and shuttle for do-it-yourself hunters. **** Contact: Alaska Department of Fish and Game; Ninilckik Charters