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Updated: Jan 19, 2023

In the dense Maine forest, black bear can be difficult to track. Hound dogs are an excellent choice for bear hunting because of their ability to pick up a bear’s scent and to find them, even in terrain that is difficult to navigate. With a pack of hound dogs on your team, the experience of hunting for black bear is taken to another level, as explained by Libby's Lodge & Canty's client Roger Helms.

Four hunting dogs with a black bear
Hunting dogs outfitted with GPS collars surround a Maine black bear

Hunting With Hounds is an Exercise in Teamwork

Roger Helms is a former military man who enjoys hunting for black bear in Maine. He drives seventeen hours from Indiana to hunt with Master Maine Guide Travis Libby, something he's done for over ten years. "We've become friends, so it's more like visiting my extended family."

Regarding hunting for bear over bait or with the use of hunting dogs, Helms explained, "Hunting with hounds is a completely different experience. It's a nice hunt, there's a lot of teamwork. I was thirty years military, so whenever people come together and work as a team it just adds to the ambiance of the hunt."

Man with a black bear
Hunter Roger Helms after a successful black bear hunt at Libby's Lodge & Canty's in Mt. Chase, Maine

How Dogs are Used to Hunt for Black Bear

"The hounds use GPS collars. And what we do is, we go in and we have cameras set up at the bait sites, and we look for a good bear on camera," explained Helms. "Once we find a good bear that is worthy of the hunt, you can turn the dogs loose and the dogs will pick up that scent and they'll start to run that animal. During the day the bear will kind of go lay down. They're more nocturnal. Then the dogs will do their part and hopefully get it treed, and you basically follow the dogs in once they start to tree the animal, and look for the opportunity to take them."

Black Bear in the forest
Game cam image of a Maine black bear

The Teamwork Continues

After a successful hunt, the bear is weighed and field-dressed before the long hike out of the woods. Members of the hunting party take turns, either dragging the bear out on a sled, or carrying it on their back, strapped to a harness. The video below shows Travis Libby transporting a bear taken by hunter Keith Peiffer.

The Reward is Worth the Effort

Hunting black bear with hounds is physically demanding, according to Helms. "There's a lot of walking involved, but there's also a lot of adrenaline when a bear is actually treed, and that moment comes where you take the bear." Just like any other animal, bears can be unpredictable, but you know, once the hounds do their job, It's nice to know that you've worked hard all day to get the animal that you were after."

Are You Eligible for a Maine Grand Slam?

If your name was drawn in the Maine Moose Lottery, you have an opportunity to achieve Maine's Hunting Grand Slam by taking a moose, a deer, a black bear and a turkey. The season to hunt for black bear ends on October 28th. Libby's Lodge & Canty's offers hunting packages with accommodations, meals, guide service and more. Book your hunt online, or call 207-528-2485.

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