Book Reviews

Ask The Black Bear Guides by J. Y. Jones

Hardcover, 186 pages, dust jacket and black-and-white photos. Safari Press books are not sole in bookstores, and must be ordered directly from the publisher.

The author claims that nearly 1 million black bears are found on the North American continent, ranging from Mexico north through most states and into Alaska and across the broad expanse of Canada and most of the states.

Although deer may be more prolific, the black bear is an animal of abundance. Hunting them is heart-pounding excitement.

The author, an expert hunter, draws on the knowledge of 12 top black bear guides and he asks straight-to-the-point questions and gets the answers that bear hunters want to know.

Jones offers information on which firearms and calibers make the best firearms for black bears, and based on my experiences after personally taking 28 bruins during my hunting career, this book has much to offer sportsmen.

Among the bear guides mentioned are

  1. Joe Jakab of Pittsburg, PA
  2. Horace Lane of Lewisporte, NL
  3. Don Lind of High Prairie, AB
  4. Wayne Bosowicz of Sebec, ME
  5. Wade Lemon of Holden, UT
  6. Jerry Nykanen of Turtle Lake, WI
  7. Darren DeLuca of Port Alberni, BC
  8. Mark Galla of Wrangell, AK
  9. Kevin Olmstead of Fort St. John, BC
  10. Jimmy Rosenbruch of Gustavus, AK

Some of the basic questions answered in this book include:

  • What should a hunter look for when seeking a black bear outfitter/guide?
  • What are the most important single characteristic and the worst possible deficiency in a bear guide?
  • What is your favorite type of hunter based on several factors?
  • What is the most dangerous thing a client can do while hunting black bears over bait?
  • What is your favorite rifle caliber for black bears?
  • Tell us your method of field judging black bears for size?
  • What is the most reliable way to determine sex when no cubs are present?
  • What is your choice as a backup weapon when guiding for black bears?

Dozens of other great questions are answered.

This book is best suited for the beginning bear hunter. Granted, some individual answers from the guides may seem elementary but when dealing with a hunter who has never hunted black bears before, everything is new to them.

Having said that, there are tips of wisdom for the more advanced and experienced bear hunter.

Sizing up a bruin isn’t easy, and it requires plenty of practice or hunting with a guide that does know how to look at an animal and rapidly determine just how big it is.

I found the numerous mentions, and methods of determining head size, to be very informative and on target for new or veteran hunters. Jim Shockey, one of my favorite Victoria Island (British Columbia) bear guides, wrote the foreword for this book.

He praises the book and calls it Bear Hunting 101. It is a great title and filled with solid information, and covers bear hunting from all angles. It’s a keeper!


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