Black Bear as tabel fair

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gerald strine
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Black Bear as tabel fair

Post by gerald strine » Sat Feb 03, 2018 3:25 pm

I have been chasing a bear tag for years hear in Michigan every year I think I will have enough points to get a license and they up the number of points you need, but hear is the thing I am not sure if I want or should kill a bear, I would have to do it over bait which is my least favorite type of hunting and then I am not sure of bear as table fair. How is the meat I do not want to shoot a bear and then find out my family will not enjoy the meat, I have only had some bear sausage many years ago and it was fine as I recall, we eat a lot of Venison have it every week,some wild turkey, squirrel stew and the occasional duck or goose but I do not want to have to eat a whole bear by my self if the rest of the family is not keen on it. I need honest feed back on Bear and how it is as steaks and roast and such as I do not make my own sausage .
I figured my Canadian hunters could enlighten me on this question.
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Re: Black Bear as tabel fair

Post by xcaliber » Sat Feb 03, 2018 4:16 pm

I have only had it a few times, and the hunter friend that I enjoyed it with is a master chef with wild game. We had marinated steaks that were out of this world, and to me the meat was better than venison because it seemed to have a bit more fat in the marbling. i would suggest you PM Big John, Normous, and Belleriverhunter, Jeff. Those guys harvest Black Bear every year.
Good Luck, and hopefully you get a tag soon!
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Re: Black Bear as tabel fair

Post by Deaf jeff » Sat Feb 03, 2018 4:35 pm

i have have not shot one either, my points are up to 8 now. i have eaten it a couple of times both times cooked on the grill, and the first time was terrible and i had to be convinced to try it the second time(bear shot by a different hunter) and the second time was excellent. so i started asking why the huge difference and was told that it makes a big difference to get the bear dressed and cooled ASAP. the second hunter carries bagged ice in a cooler in back of truck every hunt so he has it just in case. and when he shoots a bear he dresses and drags back to the truck he tosses the several bags of ice in the cavity then skins it promptly. he said that cooling is the trick and not letting it hang for longer then necessary. i have no personal experience.

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Re: Black Bear as tabel fair

Post by IronNoggin » Sat Feb 03, 2018 4:59 pm

I don't normally target on bears, but I carry a tag each and every year.
A Just In Case move usually...

This last fall that changed a little for me.
Had a huge boar taking out trail cameras, and had enough of him.
He eventually did make a mistake - story here:

He produced nothing short of INCREDIBLE Smoked Hams, Smokies and Pepperonis.
And, for me the biggest surprise, the few roasts we kept were absolutely Delicious!
And, this was a rather Big Boy... Smaller might have even been better (although I don't know if being any "better" could be possible!)

Helped having him cool down FAST (shot in a snowstorm and dealt with immediately).
Helped even more for this neck of the woods he had never been exposed to salmon!

I'd suggest that your family will find it marvelous eating as long as you get him skinned and cooled asap.

Another has taken that bear's place. He has some problems coming his way when the season opens... :twisted:

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Re: Black Bear as tabel fair

Post by racking up points » Sat Feb 03, 2018 5:37 pm

I was fortunate enough to hunt with some forum members and I took a sub-adult bear and it tasted great. I ground up most of the meat and added 20% pork and it tasted just like venison does. The tenderloins and backstraps were out of this world delicious with just salt and pepper. Don’t be afraid to take a bear if the opportunity presents itself - it is a rush unlike anything you’ll get in the deer woods and the meat is awesome. You’d be surprised how much of a bear’s hulk and mass is comprised of fat and fur - there’s not much meat left when the work is done so I’d hold out for a bigger bear if I ever get the chance to be choosey.
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Re: Black Bear as tabel fair

Post by janesy » Sat Feb 03, 2018 5:40 pm

Ive had black bear burgers recently and they were reallt really good.
We were out in the bush, and they werent cut with anything.
I cant comment on a steak or roast
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Re: Black Bear as tabel fair

Post by ThunderXB » Sat Feb 03, 2018 5:49 pm

I don't know that I could qualify as an "expert", but I've taken 4 black bear between 230 & 410 lbs and ate them all.

Handled, processed and cooked correctly the steaks/loins are excellent, one of my favorite wild game meats.

Bear makes excellent sausage, especially pepperoni. (Just ate a couple pepperoni sticks this afternoon, mmmmmm!)

Cooling the bear as soon as possible is especially important, because of their thick fat layer and insulating hide.

Plan ahead like you are going to get one and be prepared.

When I shot my 310 lbser this fall, from the shot to the meat processing cooler for skinning was probably 4 1/2 hours and they hung and began to skin him as I was leaving the shop.

In my situation our local game processor is open basically 24/7 in the bear season, they even give you a cell number to call if you finally get back out of the woods with your bear in the middle of the night.

Everyone can't get to the processor that fast.

In those cases, skin and/or cool the bear as soon as is practical. KEEP THE CARCASS CLEAN.

In bear season we always have a supply of FROZEN 1/2 gallon to 1 gallon water bottles to put into the body cavity if we can't get to a processor right away.

If you can't skin it right away, stuff the carcass cavity with the frozen bottles. They're better than bags of ice because stay colder longer and they won't leak water everywhere and create a sloppy mess.

Bear steaks/roasts/burgers need to be cooked to at least medium because of the rare potential of trichinosis.

Most sources recommend a cooked internal temperature of 165 degrees F.

Ground bear meat also makes awesome burgers!!
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Re: Black Bear as tabel fair

Post by Normous » Sat Feb 03, 2018 6:05 pm

Black Bear makes very good table fare I have found. How one cares for bear meat like venison, will have effect on taste, as mentioned cooling and cleaning bear meat is important.

If I wanted a good table tasting bear one under 300 pounds is best I hear. The ones I have eaten with pleasure were between 120 and 200 pounds.

Lastly, you are what you eat and I might suggest shooting your bear far from any public garbage dumps.

Good luck!
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Re: Black Bear as tabel fair

Post by XB I GO » Sat Feb 03, 2018 6:12 pm

My Mom won't eat a whitetail deer but likes black bear meat. I like it better than deer but not as much as an elk or antelope.

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Re: Black Bear as tabel fair

Post by Big John » Sat Feb 03, 2018 6:23 pm

I have ate many many Bears! Never had a bad one yet. As I tell everyone at bear camp, get it cleaned properly,
washed, and cooled asap! If you really want good steaks and roasts stick with Bears around 300 lbs and under. The smaller ones melt in your mouth!!!
Please please, field dress properly! That is the first key to flavour. Then cooling asap. Then de-boning and pacakaging.
Remove all hair, and fat, and sinue. I place Bear above Moose and below Venison (deer).
Wild bears away from dumps, eating wild food, supplemented with your Bear bait, equals Mighty Tastey!!!
Come on Bear season!! I'm waiting already. :)

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Re: Black Bear as tabel fair

Post by SEW » Sat Feb 03, 2018 6:27 pm

It is like a hog: heats up from the inside and spoils quickly. When I bear hunt, I have a large ice chest of ice in my utv. I start gutting where it falls. Try to wash it out ASAP , and get ice into it right after. Where I bear hunt, there is no cell service. My hunting partner and I hunt about 1 1/2 miles apart . Our signal of an archery hit bear is 3 shots 2 sec apart. 357 mag (not a real bear gun -have bear spray. It works!).

Our bear season is the last week of Sept here in N AR. It’s usually 90 degrees. I usually wait until it stops moving before I start gutting it.

Bear meat is fatty, not healthful and wonderful. It’s our favorite. Nothing like bear cheeseburgers!

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Re: Black Bear as tabel fair

Post by gerald strine » Sat Feb 03, 2018 6:59 pm

All the replies are great stuff and very encouraging to hear as far as cooling and butchering is concerned I have processed all my deer for over 30 years and would do my bear also at home, cooling will have to be dealt with as my bear hunting spot is 3 hours from home and our bear season is in September when the temps are still very warm could be anything between 80 degrees and 30 most days between 65F and 45F degrees .
Sounds like skinning is a priority ,I normally do not skin a deer until I get it hung in the garage how would you handle bear that was shot under the temps described I am thinking quarter it up pack it in coolers ice on bottom separating layer to keep meat dry and a mad dash home to butcher the next day .
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Re: Black Bear as tabel fair

Post by munch » Sat Feb 03, 2018 7:10 pm

We shoot bear every year and my buddy saves blackstrap but he rest all goes into pepperoni 1 third bear 1 third venison and 1 third pork , I've yet to have anyone not like it
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Re: Black Bear as tabel fair

Post by Species8472 » Sat Feb 03, 2018 7:37 pm

If you get a small or medium sized bear that has not been eating garbage or too much fish it is the best tasting meat there is IMO. We do bear roasts every year at both Thanksgiving and Christmas alongside the turkey and ham. Without exception the bear gets eaten first. The people doing the eating are my extended family from the "city" who don't typically eat game and they love it. Side by side tests of venison roast, sausage and pepperettes against the bear equivalents and the bear always wins.

Most important part of the equation is fast recovery, cooling and processing of the meat.

My bear haul this past fall:


That's a 185lb sow, a 250 lb boar and a 105 lb boar.
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Re: Black Bear as tabel fair

Post by elkaholic » Sat Feb 03, 2018 10:52 pm

Out west - taste is basically 2 things

1- if they are eating anything that includes - dead carcasses or trash/garbage - the meat is terrible

2- if they have been gorging on ripening prickly pear bulbs - it's the best tasting meat around

we try to shoot'm in the acorn thickets or out on the prickly pear patches

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