November 28, 2023

Black Bear Sense of Smell Tips the Odds in Hide and Seek Hunting Games

Ignorant environmentalists and animal rights supporters are trying to convince voters in Maine that there is no need for any harvest tactics for hunting black bears other than hide and seek…..well, the sissies call it “spot and stalk.” A coalition of misguided fringe groups and individuals, i.e. the Humane Society of the United States and the Wildlife Alliance of Maine, are spreading lies about black bears and black bear management faster than Barack Obama can create division and strife among Americans and the rest of the world. So, do any of these uninformed groups have any idea about wildlife in general and black bears specifically? I don’t think so.

“Spot and stalk” hunting, or more accurately should be called hide and seek (and never find), is generally referred to by real hunters as still hunting. Still hunting is a tactic used by some hunters in which they move at excruciatingly slow speed, employing as much stealth as possible, utilizing scent covers, wind and terrain to their advantage, all the while hoping to sneak up on their prey. The odds are extremely slim regardless of the prey being sought.

While some would call this “fair chase” hunting, by one’s perspective it can be but it does very little to help in reducing a game specie population where needed. For this reason, wildlife managers adjust rules for hunting according to what is necessary to control populations with serious consideration given to public and hunter safety.

This misguided coalition, called the Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting (MFBH), intend to strip the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) of all the tools that are needed to try to keep black bear numbers at desired levels. Baiting bears is the only tactic that even comes close providing MDIFW the means to keep bear populations at healthy levels and MFBH wants a referendum to ask voters to outlaw all forms of bear hunting, with the only exception being still hunting, or in this case it more accurately would resemble hide, seek and never find, which of course is the intent of the environmental extremists in the first place.

So, if these whackos are successful in shutting down bear management as we know it today, what are the odds that, first, a sufficient number of hunters will “spot and stalk” black bears? And, secondly, what are the odds of being successful at bagging a black bear?

Bear hunting is not nearly as popular a hunt as say deer or elk. Even in Maine, where black bear populations are at perhaps their highest ever, it is difficult to get hunters to take up bear hunting. It doesn’t take too many brains to understand that if you take away hunters’ tactics and reduce their odds to basically zero, nobody is going to want to spend the money for a license and bear tag. The result would be no bear hunters and no bear hunting. And as I’ve already said, this is the real agenda of these perverted groups like the Humane Society of the United States and the Wildlife Alliance of Maine.

What happens to the odds of a successful hunt if all that is left is still hunting? With still hunting, a hunter has to get close enough to a bear to get off a killing shot. Even though an experienced still hunter is very quiet, by human standards, they still make noise and are creating movement, both easily detected by a bear. In addition there is the sense of smell of a black bear. I doubt very seriously that any of these brain dead liars of the MFBH have any clue as to the sense of smell possessed by a black bear.

According to The American Bear Association, a black bear has a sense of smell 7 times greater than a bloodhound.

There is perhaps no other animal with a keener sense of smell. Bears rely on their sense of smell to locate mates, detect and avoid danger in the form of other bears and humans, identify cubs, and FIND FOOD. Although the region of the brain devoted to the sense of smell is average in size, the area of nasal mucous membrane in a bear’s head is one hundred times larger than in a human’s. This gives a bear a sense of smell that is 7 times greater than a bloodhound’s. In addition, they have an organ called a Jacobson’s organ, in the roof of the mouth, that further enhances their sense of smell.

To help put that in an enhanced perspective to better understand what that means, let’s look at what Wikipedia (yeah I know) has to say about a bloodhound’s sense of smell.

The Bloodhound’s physical characteristics account for its ability to follow a scent trail left several days in the past. Under optimal conditions, a Bloodhound can detect as few as one or two cells. The Bloodhound’s nasal chambers (where scents are identified) are larger than those of most other breeds. The number of olfactory receptor cells are 4 billion in a bloodhound, compared to just 5 million in a human and 100 million in a rabbit[42] The surface area of bloodhound olfactory epithelium is 59 compared to human’s 1.55 (10

Hunting conditions would have to be perfectly in favor of the “spot and stalk” bear hunter in order that that hunter would have even a remote opportunity to get close enough to even see a bear, let alone have a chance at a killing shot. (And again isn’t this the intent of the whackos?)

Maine’s black bear population is too big, by some people’s estimates. While the carrying capacity for bears may not be met or exceeded in many places, the fact that bears are seriously contributing to the demise of the whitetail deer herd, is problematic. I have been calling for an increase in bear harvest in order to reduce deer fawn mortality while the state tries to figure out how it is going to rebuild a dismal herd. If idiots take away MDIFW’s ability to do this, then the MFBH and all those who would vote in favor of this outright bear hunting ban, would be responsible for the further depletion of the whitetail deer and in some places in the state, threatening extirpation.

It should be understood that this proposed citizens’ initiative, due to come up for a vote in 2014, would seriously hamper the MDIFW’s ability to responsibly manage black bear populations. That, in and of itself, would be a real crime.