Arizona Bear Guides and Outfitters
Spot and Stalk Trophy Black Bear Hunts
We are pleased to offer a unique fall season bear hunting experience in southern Arizona! When searching for black bear hunts, many people would not ever think to look to Arizona. But, from recent experiences and publicity, more and more hunters are coming to realize that this State can provide some of the best trophy black bear hunting in the West. A glance at recent entries in the record books will show that Arizona has produced many "book" black bears. It is considered a top choice for record-class bear hunting. Though the quantity of black bears in Arizona is not high by anyone's standards, the quality of the bears (whether it be color, body size, or record book potential) is why many hunters choose Arizona for their bear hunt.
The Arizona black bear comes in all color varieties (commonly referred to as "color phases"). Colors range from blonde, cinnamon, chocolate, to coal black. Seventy-five percent of the bears we have harvested over the past couple decades have been colored with chocolate brown being dominant. Arizona black bears live in the thick timber at higher elevations most of the year, but during the months of August through October (our typical hunting season) some bears come out of the high country in search of fat-building food sources. Bears have a very large home range and have been known to travel as far as 100 miles to find isolated pockets of food. This always keeps us "on our toes" trying to locate them before hunting season. Some Arizona black bears travel to the lower desert elevations of their mountain ranges looking for prickly pear cactus fruit, which is very sweet and high in calories. This phenomenon is often called "Bears in the Pears." Southern Arizona bears are typically in the pears during our August Archery-Only season. Bears may also travel to areas with a high concentration of acorns, juniper berries, mesquite beans, or manzanita berries during times when they are not eating pears, which is typically during the October General season (General = any legal weapons for bear). What the bears are feeding on dictates where and how we hunt.
About Our Fall Bear Hunts
Our bear hunts are "fair chase" in the purist form! Although every one of our big game hunts can be considered challenging, this is considered the most challenging hunt that we offer. Dogs or bait are not used on this hunt. We use two main techniques to harvest our bears, the spot-and-stalk method and the calling method. As a primary hunting technique, we hike to a good vantage point where a few square miles of terrain can be seen at one time. When a bear is amongst the sparse vegetation, it can be observed at very long distances using high-powered binoculars. We occasionally spot bears up to 2 miles away since it is such a vast area. Once a good bear is spotted, we plan our stalk. Rifle shots can sometimes be across big canyons, so a Harris bipod, good high-power riflescope, and a big, flat-shooting caliber is recommended. Lightweight rifles are also needed in this very rough terrain. Since bears are such tough animals, we prefer that hunters use the larger 7mm to .30 caliber cartridges, such as 7mm magnums, .30-06, or .300 magnums. Rifles should be topped with high power variable scopes, like 3-18X, 4.5-14X, or 6.5-20X. Boat tail bullets from 160g to 190g are perfect for this type of bear hunting. Rifle shots average 300 yards, but be prepared for any distance (longer or shorter) if the need arrises. If you are a bowhunter, this spot and stalk bear hunt is the ultimate challenge. Stalking within bow range of a big Arizona bear can be a very thrilling experience! Bow shots average 35 yards, but be prepared for closer or further distances if the need arises. Bowhunters should bring a spare set of nerves!
As a secondary technique, we use calling. Sometimes black bears prefer to stay in the mesquite, manzanita, oak and juniper slopes where they eat the beans, berries or acorns. These areas have thick vegetation and allow for limited glassing. If this is where the bears are located at the time of your hunt, we may use limited glassing and a predator call. This technique is an exciting way to pull a bear out of the brush and within shooting distance. Some hunters have shot their bears after they came charging to less than 9 steps!
Arizona bears typically live in rough, remote, mountainous terrain. This gives our hunters the potential to hunt older and larger bears. Many of the bears we have taken were aged between 10 and 20 years old! Arizona bears do not need to carry much bodyfat, so a big, old trophy male will typically look very long and lean. Our typical mature male bear rug will measure 6 to 7 feet in length from head to tail. We have taken a couple exceptional bears that measured 7.5 feet! Fat doesn't count in the record books, but big-boned bears do. There have been occasions when our bear hunters have taken large, fat males up to 450 pounds though! As mentioned earlier, Arizona bears have great record book potential. For example, the Outfitter, Pat Feldt, has personally taken the former #8 SCI World Record Bear (21-11/16") with a rifle and has taken a few P & Y record-class bears with a bow, spot n' stalk style. His personal best archery bear measured 21-0/16 inches! He and his guides have assisted several clients in taking bears that would measure in the top 50. If you fill your bear tag, the potential for it being an exceptional trophy is very good.
Our Track Record: Over the past 20+ years, our Fall Bear hunters have experienced a high shot opportunity and a good success rate. The "rate of opportunity" for our rifle (general) season hunters has averaged around 75%. Even more impressive, the "rate of opportunity" for our hunters during the archery-only bear season has been near 100%. Our archery-only season is during a time when bears can be encountered in more open areas, whereas, rifle (general) season is when bears have moved to a new food source, typically into thicker areas. Several of our rifle and/or archery camps have experienced a 100% success rate! But unfortunately, due to the nature of bear hunting, success during some years has been lower. Bear hunt success can fluctuate from year to year due to many factors. Bad weather, drought, high food availability (causing bears to be spread out or hard to locate), the hunter's physical fitness level, or just "plain missing" are usually the limiting factors for the unfortunate bear hunters. Putting all statistics aside, you can "rest-assured" that we will do our best and will work very hard to ensure that you have an enjoyable hunting experience! We do not just cycle a multitude of hunters through our camps. But rather, we keep camp sizes to a minimum to ensure the utmost quality of the hunt. Please feel free to contact our references and view testimonials.
Accommodations: Our complimentary accommodations are basic southwestern style outfitter tent camps which are often located many miles from civilization. Sleeping quarters for big game hunts are typically in deluxe outfitter tents, unless noted otherwise. A trailer often serves as the kitchen/mess hall where hunters gather to eat. If you are looking for a hunt with fancy lodges, this is NOT the hunt for you! Tent camps are used because we stay in remote areas. The deluxe tents consist of either large outfitter Kodiak canvas or Alaknak tents. The size of our tents are tall and spacious inside; typically 10X10, 10X14, or 12x12 and stand 6.5-9 feet tall. The tents are equipped with heaters during the colder months. Cots with thick pads are provided, but all hunters must bring their own sleeping bags. For those that own a camping trailer and would like to bring it to camp to stay in are more than welcome to do so, but we cannot discount the hunt any. It must be high enough for ground clearance on rough dirt roads. Please ask for road conditions before bringing one. Video of our typical camp.
Hunters should note that Arizona bears live in the rugged mountains. Hunters are encouraged to condition themselves to the best of their ability in order to increase their odds for success. We do not use or own horses and pack animals. If you are looking for a horseback hunt, this is NOT the hunt for you.
Licenses and Tags: There is NO DRAW. Arizona fall black bear tags are over-the-counter (non-residents will purchase them by mail before arrival). Tag fee for non-residents: $165.00 and hunting license for non-residents is $160.00.
Fall Season Dates
Archery-Only Season Dates: August 21 - Sept 10, 2020
General Season Dates: Oct. 2-15, 2020
This is a high demand hunt. Spaces are very limited. We usually only accommodate up to four bear hunters in camp at a time, so book early. Contact us as soon as possible to reserve your spot.
Fully Guided & Outfitted Fall Bear Hunts
|Bear Hunt Options||# Days||Rate|
|Bear Hunt (1-on-1)||5*||$4,000.00/person|
|Bear Hunt (2-on-1)||5*||$3,000.00/person|
Choose a "Hunter to Guide Ratio" of either 1-on-1 or 2-on-1. The 1 on 1 rate means one hunter per guide. The 2 on 1 rate means two hunters per guide (share a guide). If choosing 2 on 1, you must bring the other hunter to share the guide with. Archery Season bear hunters are guided 1-on-1 only to increase odds of harvesting.
* Arrive to camp the day prior to hunting. Depart camp about noon on the last day of hunting. So, it's best if flying non-resident hunters arrive in Arizona the evening prior to meeting us (two days before hunting), rent a car from the airport, get a hotel room and we will meet the next day about noon in the hunt unit about 2 hours from Tucson or 3 to 4 hours from Phoenix. Flying nonresident hunters can follow us to camp with their rental car. Flights should depart the morning after the hunt, since travel time from camp to the city could be lengthy. More details on the general info page.
Description of Our Fall Bear Hunt
Bear Hunt Includes: Complimentary accommodations (tent camps), complimentary meals, transportation in field while hunting only, packing out of animal, a guide and up to *5 days of hunting.
A minimum 50% non-refundable deposit is required to book a hunt. The remaining balance is due at least 21 days prior to the hunt. We recommend cancellation insurance for all of our guests. Visit our policy page for more details.
For those that own a camping trailer and would like to bring it to camp to sleep in are more than welcome to do so, but we cannot discount the bear hunt any. It must be high enough to be pulled on rough dirt roads. Please ask for road conditions prior to bringing one.
Non-Hunter Fee: Some hunters like to bring along a buddy to camp and share the experience while they hunt. Invite your partner as a non-hunter or observer while on your guided bear hunt for a fee of $750.00. Non-hunter space is limited. Based upon availability.
Other Costs and Considerations that are the hunter's responsibility: Licenses and tags, optional rental car, taking your bear to the AZGFD for mandatory inspection, butchering, shipping or transporting your meat/hide/trophy to home, taxidermy, hotel stay before/after the hunt (if flying) are some other things to consider and are the hunter's responsibility. Gratuity for your guide is gladly accepted and is customary (15% is typical).
Please note: If you are successful, you will need to take your bear head/hide to the AZ Game Department office for a mandatory physical inspection. They will extract a small tooth to determine its age, as well as take other samples.
* Hunters must arrive in camp the day prior to hunting. Your hunting ends around noon on the last day of the hunt. Hunters pack up and depart shortly thereafter. So, it's best if flying hunters arrive in Arizona the evening prior to meeting us (two days before hunting), rent a car, get a hotel room and we will meet the next day about noon in the hunt area about 2 hours from Tucson or 3 to 4 hours from Phoenix. Flying hunters can follow us to camp in their rental car. Flights should depart the morning after the hunt, since travel time from camp to the city could be lengthy.
Watch our Bear Hunt Videos for more feel of our hunts.
Be sure you visit our general info page.
Also, read our bear stories.
Arizona Black Bear Hunt Photos
Tarran shot this behemoth southern Arizona brown colored bear. It was his first big game animal!
Pat shot this 13-year-old Arizona bear with his PSE bow. The skull measures 21.0 inches! Video of hunt
Josh came from Kentucky to hunt southern Arizona bear and shot this one with his 300 mag
Ed from CA shot this giant 17-year-old, nearly 7 feet long, southern Arizona black bear
JJ from CA shot this beautiful, nearly blonde colored southern Arizona bear
Denton shot this big Arizona orange-cinnamon colored bear with his PSE bow at 38 yards.
Sam shot this big 6'8" long Arizona brown colored bear with a Hoyt bow at 34 yards video
Pat stalked this wet bear to 12 yards before releasing the arrow with a Rage Trypan broadhead out of his PSE bow
Jordan (2nd from right) from Texas shot this giant, 7-foot Arizona cinnamon bear
Richard from Texas stalked this Giant 7-foot Arizona bear and shot him at 30 yards! Video of his hunt
Seventy-one year-old Jimmy from TX shot this big brown phased bear with his 300 Ultra Mag.
Pat was able to spot and stalk this giant bear to 28 yards with a bow! 20-14/16" skull. Video
Chuck with guide Pat Feldt. This giant Arizona bear was stalked to within 47 yards and shot with a bow! Video
Rachel and Courtney from Illinois with Arizona bear guide Pat Feldt. This big bear has golden highlights on a chocolate base coat.
JJ from CA shot this brown colored bear at 300 yards with his 7mm mag.
Chris from Hawaii and guide Randy with a nice chocolate brown Arizona bear. The shot was 370 yards.
Lee from Georgia and guide Pat Feldt with a silky jet black bear. The shot was 200 yards