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10 Days & Counting Down


DirtTime
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4 hours ago, Daveboone said:

The problem with bears is they always die in the most godforsaken impossible to get to locations, and are a rolling flopping blob to get out of the woods. A tarp makes it much easier...

I have also heard that they are not really worth eating, if they are much over 200 pounds field-dressed.   Hopefully, I can find a little one.   They also have a terrible percentage of usable meat, with most of their weight made up of fat, hide, bone, and guts.   A 400 pound live weight bear would only have about 40 pounds of edible on it.

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Bear meat is OK at best. I've now had it 7-8 times, and only 5 are worth remembering. It has to be cooked properly. Stew as good, straps weren't bad, and a couple times steaks were good. The rest was extremely forgettable.

 

My #1 reason for not targeting them as a goal is I know I can take or leave eating the meat so I know my wife will not care for it.

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6 hours ago, DirtTime said:

Bear meat is OK at best. I've now had it 7-8 times, and only 5 are worth remembering. It has to be cooked properly. Stew as good, straps weren't bad, and a couple times steaks were good. The rest was extremely forgettable.

 

My #1 reason for not targeting them as a goal is I know I can take or leave eating the meat so I know my wife will not care for it.

I have had it twice.  The first time was at a game dinner and it was not spectacular, reminding me of dry, semi-tasteless pork.

The second time was a roast in the crockpot from a smaller bear (175 pound field dressed) and it was pretty good.

My father in law really wants a rug, so I am going to shoot one if I get a chance.   If it is a tough spot to recover and big, I will take the hide and head on my first trip and go back for some hind quarter roasts and the back straps only.  
 

The last time I got a doe up there during early ML season at daybreak,  the temperature reached 80 degrees in the afternoon.  I ran the carcass down to Nolts on Lowville for processing.  I will never forget the sight of a belly up bear there, next to a pile of deer, and lots of flies.   They did a great job on that doe, getting it packaged and ready for pickup in 5 days for $ 48. For that price, it ain’t worth bringing it home and dealing with the tics.  The buck I brought home from there, after Thanksgiving that year, was loaded with those.

Edited by wolc123
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I beg to differ. I have shot and kept the meat from five bears, and everyone I have served it to has liked it. The problem usually lies in the field prep. Few hunters treat bear meat ...or the bear, as they would venison. The black coat soaks up sun quickly, and can affect the meat. Just like with venison, very promptly field dress and cool the meat, keeping it as as cool as you can and out of the sun...skin it quickly. Lots of dingbats leave the bear hanging to show it off, which is a horrible idea. 

Trim as much of the fat as you can. Bears can carry trichinosis, so you want to serve it well, like pork. For that reason most  bear meat goes into sausage or roasts, but we get ribs, chops, and burger too. And I have to admit...I have cheated a few times and kept some nice steaks, cooking them as I would venison...serving a nice medium rare. Delicious. Luckily, no trichinosis for me....but I had to try it.

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10 minutes ago, Daveboone said:

I beg to differ. I have shot and kept the meat from five bears, and everyone I have served it to has liked it. The problem usually lies in the field prep. Few hunters treat bear meat ...or the bear, as they would venison. The black coat soaks up sun quickly, and can affect the meat. Just like with venison, very promptly field dress and cool the meat, keeping it as as cool as you can and out of the sun...skin it quickly. Lots of dingbats leave the bear hanging to show it off, which is a horrible idea. 

Trim as much of the fat as you can. Bears can carry trichinosis, so you want to serve it well, like pork. For that reason most  bear meat goes into sausage or roasts, but we get ribs, chops, and burger too. And I have to admit...I have cheated a few times and kept some nice steaks, cooking them as I would venison...serving a nice medium rare. Delicious. Luckily, no trichinosis for me....but I had to try it.

That makes sense.  Similarly, I bet 90% or more of the complaints of venison being “gamely” or tough is due to how it is handled after it is killed.  

How big were those good tasting bears, and have you noted that the smaller ones taste any better ?  My buddy shot a very large one, up in Newfoundland on a combo moose hunt a few years ago, and the outfitters recommended leaving the whole carcass in the bush.  They said that it would not even be fit for dog food.

If I get one of any size, I will take a quick picture, then skin it asap.  Even a big one has so little lean meat on it, that it should all fit easily in my in-laws beer fridge, and a medium sized cooler to take home.

is aging the bear meat important like it is with red meat like venison ?  I would probably chunk it up and keep it in the fridge thru the week, then grind the scraps and vacuum seal that and the roasts when I get home.   
 

I will try a roast before freezing it.  If I don’t like it, maybe the coyotes will.  There is always room on my butcher waste pile.  Worst case, more coyote bait and father in law gets his rug.  I was am particularly looking forward to some bearburgers.   

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2 hours ago, wolc123 said:

I have had it twice.  The first time was at a game dinner and it was not spectacular, reminding me of dry, semi-tasteless pork.

The second time was a roast in the crockpot from a smaller bear (175 pound field dressed) and it was pretty good.

My father in law really wants a rug, so I am going to shoot one if I get a chance.   If it is a tough spot to recover and big, I will take the hide and head on my first trip and go back for some hind quarter roasts and the back straps only.  
 

The last time I got a doe up there during early ML season at daybreak,  the temperature reached 80 degrees in the afternoon.  I ran the carcass down to Nolts on Lowville for processing.  I will never forget the sight of a belly up bear there, next to a pile of deer, and lots of flies.   They did a great job on that doe, getting it packaged and ready for pickup in 5 days for $ 48. For that price, it ain’t worth bringing it home and dealing with the tics.  The buck I brought home from there, after Thanksgiving that year, was loaded with those.

You mentioned that processor to me before, that's over two hours from where I'll be. No processors around Indian Lake ( that I have found anyway ) so I'll be cutting it up on the picnic table outside the cabin.

1 hour ago, Daveboone said:

I beg to differ. I have shot and kept the meat from five bears, and everyone I have served it to has liked it. The problem usually lies in the field prep. Few hunters treat bear meat ...or the bear, as they would venison. The black coat soaks up sun quickly, and can affect the meat. Just like with venison, very promptly field dress and cool the meat, keeping it as as cool as you can and out of the sun...skin it quickly. Lots of dingbats leave the bear hanging to show it off, which is a horrible idea. 

Trim as much of the fat as you can. Bears can carry trichinosis, so you want to serve it well, like pork. For that reason most  bear meat goes into sausage or roasts, but we get ribs, chops, and burger too. And I have to admit...I have cheated a few times and kept some nice steaks, cooking them as I would venison...serving a nice medium rare. Delicious. Luckily, no trichinosis for me....but I had to try it.

I can see what you mean on this one. I would imagine the black fur would be like a black shirt or jacket and draw in the heat.

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2 minutes ago, DirtTime said:

You mentioned that processor to me before, that's over two hours from where I'll be. No processors around Indian Lake ( that I have found anyway ) so I'll be cutting it up on the picnic table outside the cabin.

They are about an hour, almost straight to the south on good roads, from where I will be.  I doubt I will be using them again because one of my mother in laws new friends in town (Harrisvlle) does deer processing.  
 

I think they are a little more expensive than Nolts, and I am not sure if they have a cooler. The 15 minute drive saves me an hour and a half and the temperatures don’t look too warm over the next week.  

Her friends in town do bears also, but after reading Dave’s posts, I think I will just cut one of those up myself if need be.  Hopefully, they won’t have ticks as bad as that buck I cut up from up there a few years ago.  Do bears get them as bad as deer ?

 I never heard of a bear tick, so I will take my chances. I will wear one of the three pairs of camouflaged pants that I treated with Sawyers a couple nights ago.

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7 minutes ago, wolc123 said:

They are about an hour, almost straight to the south on good roads, from where I will be.  I doubt I will be using them again because one of my mother in laws new friends in town (Harrisvlle) does deer processing.  
 

I think they are a little more expensive than Nolts, and I am not sure if they have a cooler. The 15 minute drive saves me an hour and a half and the temperatures don’t look too warm over the next week.  

Her friends in town do bears also, but after reading Dave’s posts, I think I will just cut one of those up myself if need be.  Hopefully, they won’t have ticks as bad as that buck I cut up from up there a few years ago.  Do bears get them as bad as deer ?

 I never heard of a bear tick, so I will take my chances. I will wear one of the three pairs of camouflaged pants that I treated with Sawyers a couple nights ago.

I didn't realize you were hunting that far north. Have you made it over to Greenwood Creek  state forest by Pitcairn?

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20 minutes ago, ncountry said:

I didn't realize you were hunting that far north. Have you made it over to Greenwood Creek  state forest by Pitcairn?

I did couple of times in the past,  but will probably hit it a little harder this year, because doe will be legal with the ML on that side of rt 3 this year.   Rumor has it, that is a preferred spot for the DEC to release “problem” bears that they have trapped.  
 

Have you hunted there much ? 

Edited by wolc123
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3 minutes ago, wolc123 said:

I did couple of times in the past,  but will probably hit it a little harder this year, because doe will be legal with the ML.   
 

Have you hunted that ? 

Spent a lot time there 30-35 years ago. Friend had a camp on the right not long after crossing the creek. I don't believe I ever deer hunted there. I didn't start deer hunti g until I was 20..

We would go through a brick or 2 of .22 shells every weekend plinking

.  Repelling down cliffs. Fishing , and just being kids..lol... a lot of good memories there when we were teenagers..

I cut a few 100 cord of firewood there during the ice storm of 98 as well.

 

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11 hours ago, wolc123 said:

That makes sense.  Similarly, I bet 90% or more of the complaints of venison being “gamely” or tough is due to how it is handled after it is killed.  

How big were those good tasting bears, and have you noted that the smaller ones taste any better ?  My buddy shot a very large one, up in Newfoundland on a combo moose hunt a few years ago, and the outfitters recommended leaving the whole carcass in the bush.  They said that it would not even be fit for dog food.

If I get one of any size, I will take a quick picture, then skin it asap.  Even a big one has so little lean meat on it, that it should all fit easily in my in-laws beer fridge, and a medium sized cooler to take home.

is aging the bear meat important like it is with red meat like venison ?  I would probably chunk it up and keep it in the fridge thru the week, then grind the scraps and vacuum seal that and the roasts when I get home.   
 

I will try a roast before freezing it.  If I don’t like it, maybe the coyotes will.  There is always room on my butcher waste pile.  Worst case, more coyote bait and father in law gets his rug.  I was am particularly looking forward to some bearburgers.   

I have never aged it, doing all my butchering myself. My biggest bears were 275-300 lbs. I didnt notice any difference in the quality of the meat. The recipes that both we and friends like the most cook it like a pot roast. Texture is identical, I put a cup of beef broth in with it. Treat it like any slow cooked beef /pork and you are good.

A former hunting partner (sadly now departed) and his wife both loved thier bear. Every spring and fall they went on bear hunts (New Brunswick), both expecting to get one, and they usually did. Meat hunters. They had more rugs than a rug merchant. They went crazy for bear burger, and preferred them medium rare.

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5 hours ago, Daveboone said:

I have never aged it, doing all my butchering myself. My biggest bears were 275-300 lbs. I didnt notice any difference in the quality of the meat. The recipes that both we and friends like the most cook it like a pot roast. Texture is identical, I put a cup of beef broth in with it. Treat it like any slow cooked beef /pork and you are good.

A former hunting partner (sadly now departed) and his wife both loved thier bear. Every spring and fall they went on bear hunts (New Brunswick), both expecting to get one, and they usually did. Meat hunters. They had more rugs than a rug merchant. They went crazy for bear burger, and preferred them medium rare.

I definitely prefer venison and beef rare to medium rare but I will likely slow cook the bear a long time in the crock pot to ward off triconisis.  Got to get one first though. 
 

 Maybe hot apple cider attracts bears.  I have had pretty good luck with that attracting deer at home in WNY.  I picked up a couple of gallons today and will  soon be giving it a try up there.   It didn’t work for me last year, but I was not on the “bear side” of route 3 at all.

Does were off limits there, during ML week I last year, but they are legal this year.  My primary goal on this trip is always to get me a mature doe. I never waste hunting time where they can’t be killed.  Bears are mostly just a target of opportunity, but my father in law really wants a rug and I would really like to try some of that meat again, when I know it is properly handled.

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I started getting some things packed up today. It seemed really odd to take my arm guard and release out of my pack, along with the bow string wax and spare broad heads. I have taken one of the rifles up the past two years to be out there for the regular season opener, but my bow was my compadre for these trips. I guess it's the start of a new era.

 

I always try and not get to stoked up for these trips, or at least as far as even seeing a deer. It's the ADK's and public land. No tree stands, no blinds, no apple orchards or food plots- hell two of the areas there isn't all that much in the line of nuts as mast either, and no major goals except to be out there. Still not feeling even close to 100%, so my plan has already had to change to probably trying to sit more then I walk around. I'll be out there Monday having a look around and see if there's any sign in the areas I feel sitting might be productive. If I have to stay this route the whole week at least those areas do have food, water, and some think nasty stuff that could be bedding.

 

Over all it is what it is and will be, I'm going to enjoy each hunt watching the sun come up in the ADK's.

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