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Bear Hunting Dogs - An Important Investment For Bear Hunters

Sep 4, 2007
Dogs used for bear hunting vary by breed and type. Some range from AKC registered hounds, to a primitive breed known as the Karelian Bear Dog of Finland. This dog has an extensive history which began more than 2,000 years ago. Just as water dogs and terriers have different purposes within their group, so do the hounds.

Each of the different types of hounds have been bred for years for a specific set of skills. Some are bred for stamina, a characteristic that is very important, but even more valued in a bear dog is one that can pick up a scent and stay with it. Sight is also an important trait to have, and often the greatest bear dogs have a combination of these traits.

Hounds are the most popular group used to hunt bear because of their stamina, sight and ability to smell. The Irish Wolfhound and Norwegian Elk hounds are used for big game, such as elk and moose, while the Rhodesian Ridgeback is known for bear, deer, and elk and moose. More often in the United States Plott or Walker hounds are used on bear, or even a combination of a few different breeds.

Bear trapping and the use of bear dogs for hunting has become a controversial topic in some areas. Trappers and hunters view this form of intrusion as a personal attack on their historical and traditional way of life. They see the groups using the issue as a form of political control that is slowly chipping away at the citizen's rights. Hunters argue that trapping and hunting with bear dogs is an effective way of controlling the bear population, the alternative is overpopulation with bears in backyards threatening the safety of citizens.

A bill was passed in Maine outlawing the recreational use of bear traps, but allowing bears to be trapped, using the very same traps, for scientific research and animal control. There has also been legislature what would remove two more types of bear hunting, bait and hounds.

Popular places for bear hunting are Alaska, Colorado, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, and North Carolina. Guides are available in all of the states to help you find your trophy bear. Some will require you use your own dogs, while others use their dogs to hunt with.

Licenses are required, and some states will require tags. The price for a five day hunt will usually start at $1,250 and go up from there. The state of Colorado alone brings in $180 million in business annually from hunting.
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