Most bowhunters who hunt black bears hunt over bait. Although there is nothing wrong with that, spot and stalk black bear hunting is more difficult and more fun. The nose of a black bear is second to none, which makes outsmarting a bear challenging. No one knows that better than Shane Mowery from Bone Maniacs. Shane calls Idaho home but hunts black bears in multiple states every year. One of his favorite ways to hunt black bears is by glassing them with binoculars and slipping within bow range. This requires a lot of patience. “A successful stalk can take hours,” said Mowery. “One mistake I see many hunters make is trying to rush and they end up being busted by the bear.”
Spot and stalk bear hunting requires patience and attention to detail. “One detail I never ignore when bear hunting is the wind direction,” Mowery explained. “I think many hunters don’t give bears enough credit. The reality is their nose is far superior to the nose of a whitetail and a little bit of human odor will cause a bear to run away. I always hunt the wind if possible.”
Out west, the wind is constantly swirling and it isn’t always possible to hunt with the wind in your face. To lower his odds of being winded by a bear, Mowery uses a Wyndscent unit and an Ozonics machine. “The vapor from a Wyndscent unit travels hundreds of yards and does a great job of providing a cover scent for me. The Donut Shop scent smells like donuts and we all know that bears love to eat donuts. I know that the Wyndscent isn’t going to completely overpower human odor, but it can cover up my scent enough to possibly confuse a bear. I use an Ozonics machine when I am hunting which helps eliminate my odor. Between the Wyndscent and the Ozonics, I am able to greatly reduce my odds of being winded on a spot and stalk hunt and increase my odds of success.”
Recently Mowery was hunting in Washington state and was able to kill an amazing black bear while bowhunting. “In the fall, I love hunting black bears in old fruit orchards because bears spend a lot of time in orchards this time of year. They will feed on fruit for hours at a time, bed nearby and get up again later in the day and feed again. A hunter who is willing to play the waiting game with a bear will often succeed. The bear I killed recently was eating in an apple tree and wasn’t paying attention to me as I slipped within shooting range. I had my Wyndscent mini and my Ozonics running. With my odor destroyed and the bear distracted by apples, I was able to easily slip within range and make a great shot on the bear.”
The big bear was a sow that didn’t have any cubs. The bear could be a new world record for a sow killed with a bow. “She was a giant,” Mowery said. “Killing a big bear like this requires effort and a little bit of luck. I am glad I was able to make it happen.”
Each year Mowery kills over a dozen big game animals with his bow. Regular practice with his bow, attention to detail, and hard work allows him to consistently fill the freezer.