Bear meat

badkneesbro

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Im now interested in bear hunting. Black bears to be exact. Once you kill one, & its boned out, can you hang it in the cool shade for a couple a days like you may hang venison? Or does it need to be processed & frozen imediately? What about the hide? Is it easy to make a rug without spending a butload a money on a taxidermist?
 

Becca

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To my knowledge, care of black bear meat in the field is pretty much the same as other game meats. Keep it cool with good air circulation, in game bags to keep the bugs off and it should be ok for at least a few days, and probably up to a week if the temps aren't too warm. The big difference with bear meat is that it MUST be cooked to 160 degrees internally before you eat it, due to the rare but very real chance of trichinosis. Just today, our local paper published an article about a local guy who got trichinosis this season after eating under cooked bear meat. Bear is great eating, but I don't much like messing around with a meat thermometer. I usually have most of our black bears (when we get lucky enough to tip them over) made into cooked/cured sausage at our local meat processor. Hands down the very best pepperoni and teriyaki sticks we have ever had, and zero risk of getting sick...double win!

If you are looking for lower cost ways to preserve the hide, you might consider just having it tanned. It's much less expensive than a rug or shoulder mount, and still looks pretty nice hanging on the wall. If you decide you want to do more with it than that, you have a year or two after its tanned to have it mounted or rugged before it gets too stiff and brittle to work with. I haven't done any of my own taxidermy work yet, but I have several friend who have. There are a lot of good resources online if you want to try doing it yourself...
 

hodgeman

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You can send your bear hide to a tannery (I use Moyles) to receive a "garment tan" - it will remain flexible and soft for years. I have several 5 or 6 years old and they're still soft.

Cooking it well is not to be underestimated... 90% of all Trichinosis cases involve black bear meat. Which is amazing given that relatively few people ever eat bear meat.

Bear meat can withstand hanging cool a couple of days but unlike other game meat it doesn't really benefit much from it. I'd process as soon as you can.
 
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badkneesbro

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Another question. Lets say Ive packed into the wilderness to get my bear, & I cant get the hide to any salt or ice for 2 days; Will this negatively effect my efforts to have a nice tanned hide?
 

Sawfish

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Another question. Lets say Ive packed into the wilderness to get my bear, & I cant get the hide to any salt or ice for 2 days; Will this negatively effect my efforts to have a nice tanned hide?

That depends on the outside temperatures. If it is quite warm, possibly so, but you can lessen the chance by removing as much fat as you can. The old style metal spreaders for linoleum cement were great for removing the fat from a bear hide. The new ones are plastic. They will work, but not as well. I have heard that a curry comb is a good tool for this purpose, but I have not tried one, and they are heavy to pack. Of course, you can always use your knife, if you are very careful. If not, your taxidermist has lots of needles and thread. Most important is to be sure the hide has completely cooled before folding it for packing. If you can leave it open to cool overnight, so much the better. You can cool it in a stream, but a wet hide is awfully heavy to pack. Use a burlap, or other porous bag for the hide. Avoid plastic, which will retain heat, and promote spoilage. Good luck.

First post for me on this site!
 
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badkneesbro

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That depends on the outside temperatures. If it is quite warm, possibly so, but you can lessen the chance by removing as much fat as you can. The old style metal spreaders for linoleum cement were great for removing the fat from a bear hide. The new ones are plastic. They will work, but not as well. I have heard that a curry comb is a good tool for this purpose, but I have not tried one, and they are heavy to pack. Of course, you can always use your knife, if you are very careful. If not, your taxidermist has lots of needles and thread. Most important is to be sure the hide has completely cooled before folding it for packing. If you can leave it open to cool overnight, so much the better. You can cool it in a stream, but a wet hide is awfully heavy to pack. Use a burlap, or other porous bag for the hide. Avoid plastic, which will retain heat, and promote spoilage. Good luck.

First post for me on this site!
Thanx Sawfish! All that makes perfect sence. Hope u post more often.
 

Sawfish

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Thanks. A couple of more things you might want to think about. You did not mention whether you were skinning out the head, or leaving it on the hide. I recommend that you skin out the head to retard spoilage. This takes a bit of practice not to bugger up the hide. Having a post or sharp stake to work from makes this job easier. As an old taxidermist once told me, remember to always cut down when skinning out the head around the eyes and nose. Not sure, but there is probably a how to video on U-Tube. Be sure to work the salt into the eyelids, nose cavity, and lips. You should flesh out the skull as much as possible to reduce weight and retard spoilage. This one, you can cool in the creek. Take an onion sack for that purpose. Cools beer real nice too.

After you have packed the hide out to your truck, what next? You should have ample salt 15-25 lbs., and a cooler large enough for the hide and the head, otherwise your preservation work will be worth nothing. Salt alone will not protect the hide in warm weather, it must be refrigerated/frozen. Freeze 4-5 gallon water jugs, and leave them in the cooler. If you have one of the new 5 day type coolers, you should still have some ice left when you return, or enough to keep everything cool until you can get to town. If you have never salted a hide before, fold hide against hide, and hair against hair. This will leave you with a fairly leak free packet. You will have to drain and re-salt it at least once before you get to the taxidermist. I am sure U-Tube also has a how to on salting hides.
Sorry this is so long, but you do not get a "do-over" on a spoiled hide.

Knives are your most important tool after your bear is on the ground. Bear hide and hair quickly separate the boutique knives from the workhorses. A good knife should be sharp, and easily re-sharpened. It should be good quality but not overly expensive. You will most likely lose one, or more knives in your bear hunting endeavors. You are working on the ground, and most likely in the leaves. [I have started carrying a painter's throw away drop cloth to keep the meat and hide as clean as possible. lightweight and cheap.] If you drop, or misplace a knife, you may not find it again. All of my bear hunting knives have Blaze Orange handles for that reason. Some of my favorites are from Camillus, Western, Schrade, etc., and Cutco. The Cutco is not inexpensive, but retains its edge better than anything I have found. I am speaking of the Blaze Orange Drop Point with Double-D Edge (Cutco #5718H $87, $70 on sale). A bear hunting guide friend in Alaska turned me on to this knife over ten years ago. He claimed that he could skin 6 bears before the knife had to be returned for re-sharpening. I never tried that, but the blade will saw through deer ribs and brisket, and keep cutting. Enough about bears!

I was in your part of the country when I hunted X-10 a couple of weeks ago, and was there during the snow storm. It made some good snow, but did not last very long. Damned cold in the tent though. Did not see any deer, due to the huge influx of motocross bikers. I think they ran every deer out of that country. There were no tracks after the snow! Pretty conclusive. I will PM you about some bear sightings up there.
 

Schroedes13

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Cutco!

All of my bear hunting knives have Blaze Orange handles for that reason. Some of my favorites are from Camillus, Western, Schrade, etc., and Cutco. The Cutco is not inexpensive, but retains its edge better than anything I have found. I am speaking of the Blaze Orange Drop Point with Double-D Edge (Cutco #5718H $87, $70 on sale). A bear hunting guide friend in Alaska turned me on to this knife over ten years ago. He claimed that he could skin 6 bears before the knife had to be returned for re-sharpening. I never tried that, but the blade will saw through deer ribs and brisket, and keep cutting. Enough about bears!

I love Cutco. I worked for them for a summer and they are the best knives I've ever used. The drop point hunting knife is amazing and this weekend, I just lost my folding cutco knife and I almost cried. It's the only knife my brother said has helped field dress a moose fully and never needed to be sharpened.

Back unto bears, I just got my first black bear this weekend. I love this thread because it has helped me a lot in my quest to keep the hide and meat in good condition. Just wanted to say thanks to y'all.
 

Takeem406

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I've only had a little bit of the meat off my bear. A copy weeks ago I cooked some backstrap. By far the best meat I've ever tasted. Better than deer. It was like a fillet migno. But a lot better. The breakfast sausage is out of this world. Good thing I know where another bear is for next year if he survives till next fall.
 

tugrivercopper

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It will spoil much faster than a whitetail deer if you leave the hide on the meat. Especially so if it's any bit warm outside. All of the above posts are good advice.

Bear meat is pretty good don't let anyone tell you any different, I don't know about out west where most of everyone is from on here but I am from virginia and hunt virginia and west virginia for bear. Have killed 3. I have had grilled backstraps and they are just as tasty as deer's. Bear steaks and bear jerky as well. The bears out here have a naturaly sweet taste to them, when conjuring up recipes, go with that and try not to fight it. One time i put some cajun seasoning on some bear meat and it just didn't go well.

My favorite for bear meat is to grill it on a grill, then right before it's done brush on some of Pepper Palace's Sweet Bourbon Sauce, it's awesome
 

Bar

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No matter how well you take care of the meat it taste like crap. My dog gets all the bear meat, and i'll eat the elk meat. Works out just right.
 

Mtnboy

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No matter how well you take care of the meat it taste like crap. My dog gets all the bear meat, and i'll eat the elk meat. Works out just right.

That has not been my experience. Thanksgiving breakfast at our house is going to be Black Bear Sausage Biscuits and Gravy actually.
 

Bar

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It's been mine, and the reason the dog eats it. We all have different taste. Some like liver and onions. It gags others.

If you like it by all means eat it. I prefer elk.
 

Mtnboy

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charvey9

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I've loved every ounce of my bear meat. The backstrap marinated in some lemon and garlic is second to none. I've made bear meatloaf, bear spaghetti sauce, and straight up bear burgers with 100% ground bear meat. Made many roasts in the crock pot, and you'd swear it was venison. The meat can be a little tough for steaks since you have to cook them well, but slow and low is the key. Last year for Christmas I used Rinella's recipe off meateater and even made some bear bacon. The entire family loved it.
 

AK Shane

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Like most animals a bear is what it eats. If it's eating fish or trash it's going to taste terrible. Shoot a bear off a hill full of blue berries and you'll have some of the best wildgame out there. In fact I just ground 19 packages of black bear breakfast sausage last night. It was from a bear a shot last fall but ran out of time getting it all processed so I mass froze some gallon zip locks full until I could get back to it. I ran out of breakfast sausage last month so it was time to resupply.
 
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