DIY: 3 Tips for a Budget Black Bear Bowhunt

Getting on big boars doesn't require a guide or a high-dollar outfitter if you plan your hunt thoroughly. Start by researching state game and fish websites for potential hotspots. Then hit social networks and hunting chat rooms to talk with other archers. Look into archerytalk.com, bowsite.com, and even Facebook for intel. Ask about units and past hunts. If you're able, get on the ground and scout the old-fashioned way, too. When the season finally rolls around, follow this three-prong plan:

1. Hunt Over Bait

If legal in your state, set up a bait pile. Stop at a grocery store or donut shop on your way in. Most stores will gladly donate a pile of stale, leftover pastries. Dig a small hole deep in the timber. Make a tepee out of logs to cover up those crusty Boston creams. Note the prevailing wind direction and set up your stand accordingly. Give the pile a day or so to molder.

2. Spot and Stalk

While you're waiting for the bait to settle, head for the high country. Gain a good vantage point and put your glass to work. Focus on meadows, logged slopes, and rotted-out timber fields where bears can root for grubs. If you spot a bear, don't rush in. Wait for him to bed down, then get the wind right and ease in after him.

3. Find Water

Drought conditions are common in the Rockies right now, making a water-hole ambush a top tactic west of the Mississippi. Use a topographical map to locate water sources and take time to investigate each one. If you find fresh tracks and scat, set up a blind and nestle in. Brushing in the blind is always good practice, but if it isn't an option, don't fret. Bears typically don't spook at a new pop-up in their area. Sit the water mornings and midday; hit the bait in the evenings.

From the September 2013 issue of Field & Stream