Bear Meat?

Vitals

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So I have been tossing around the idea of getting a bear tag for my California B6 hunt this year. I have never taken a bear before, nor have I ever seen one in the wild which contributes to my reservations of smoking the first one I get a chance to see haha.
From what I gather, the country I will be hunting holds a lot of them and the chances are more than likely that I will come across one or more. I don't believe in killing something I am not going to eat, unless it intends to eat me. So I feel fairly naive asking this, especially when I have validated over 50 harvested bear, but how good is the eating and what tends to be the better portions of the animal?

I will be spending a week at Shasta Lake starting Monday so maybe I will catch a glimpse of one to get rid of my reservations of smoking the first bear I ever see in the wild haha.

Any and all opinions are appreciated, thanks...
 

endorice

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I'll be interested in everyone's experiences as well.

I had a buddy take a black bear during archery season in Colorado. I had heard that bear meat wasn't that good. Despite having to pack it out in conditions much warmer than I wanted, the meat was exceptional (IMO). We were all very surprised how good it was.
 

trk3263

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I had my bear made into pepperoni and summer sausage and it was great. I have heard slow cooked roasts are really good too.
 

dbaker

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cook well and enjoy. there was a thread awhille ago on here and it got a little heated. to each his own. for me i thoroughly cook it and realy enjoy it. breakfast sausage is really good and the steaks are good as well.
 

actionshooter

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I do peperoni, breakfast sausage, lunchmeat,. Not real big on streaks, but a roast every now and then is pretty good.
I think it really depends on what the bears have been into.
 
OP
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Vitals

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Great feedback guys thanks. What parts of the bear do you take with you? All for quarters and back straps?
 

Hunt'nFish

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What parts to take???? All of it!
Leaving any behind is wanton-waste and extremely unethical IMO.
Besides, I want all that burger meat. I love stuffed bear burgers & meat loaf as well...and like said, it makes awesome sausage.

Just to be safe though I don't jerk any of it and cook it all well.
My favorite use though is to can it up in quarts w/ S&P, a few pearl onions and a couple garlic cloves. I use the canned meat mainly in stews but you can use it for other things as well. Enchilada's for example. Tastes like pot roast right out of the jar. A couple stiff drinks around the campfire and jar of canned bear meat and it's lights out for me. The cool part about canned meat is it so tender it falls apart in your mouth. In fact we had bear stew for dinner last night. Supper fast to make, no waiting for meat to tenderize slow cooking. A can of veggie broth a can of beef broth, carrots, taters, celery & onion, a garlic clove, couple bay leaves and when the carrots are starting to soften, I dump in the canned bear meat. 30min max start to finish. Yum.
Happy hunting.
Hunt'nFish

 

JNDEER

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the bears I have gotten in N. CA I have usually ground them up (the whole thing) and mixed them with some ground venison. Use it for summer sausage, breakfast sausage, burger, etc.

If just bear I prefer it ground and made into breakfast sausage.

I tried bear backstrap and it was a little to marbley and fatty for my liking.
 

7mag.

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I agree with Hunt'nFish, pressure canned meat is outstanding. I drain the fluid and mix it with mayo, just like tuna, and make great sandwiches. Throw in some chopped dill pickles, so good. I do it with elk and deer as well.
 
OP
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Vitals

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I completely agree and wouldn't leave any of it. I just felt like some guys take the head, the pelt, the gall blatter, and maybe a back strap from what I have seen packed out. Boy..... you guys are making it sound and look oftly worth getting the tag.

What parts to take???? All of it!
Leaving any behind is wanton-waste and extremely unethical IMO.
Besides, I want all that burger meat. I love stuffed bear burgers & meat loaf as well...and like said, it makes awesome sausage.

Just to be safe though I don't jerk any of it and cook it all well.
My favorite use though is to can it up in quarts w/ S&P, a few pearl onions and a couple garlic cloves. I use the canned meat mainly in stews but you can use it for other things as well. Enchilada's for example. Tastes like pot roast right out of the jar. A couple stiff drinks around the campfire and jar of canned bear meat and it's lights out for me. The cool part about canned meat is it so tender it falls apart in your mouth. In fact we had bear stew for dinner last night. Supper fast to make, no waiting for meat to tenderize slow cooking. A can of veggie broth a can of beef broth, carrots, taters, celery & onion, a garlic clove, couple bay leaves and when the carrots are starting to soften, I dump in the canned bear meat. 30min max start to finish. Yum.
Happy hunting.
Hunt'nFish

 

Justin Crossley

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Bear breakfast sausage is one of my families favorites. My wife puts it in other dishes as well and it is awesome. I think it really depends on what they have been eating though. I've had bear summer sausage that I had to spit out before.
 

Becca

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As others have said, black bear makes phenomenal sausage. I prefer Blackbear pepperoni and teriyaki sticks to caribou or moose hands down, and I bet it makes awesome summer sausage too. I prefer to have it made into cooked sausage, since it eliminates the (real though rare) risk of trichinosis. Pressure canning is also an excellent way to ensure its cooked well done, but still tender. We haul out the same parts you would with any other animal...all four quarters, Backstraps and tenderloins. The Backstraps are pretty good grilled as steaks, but I am not so much a fan of steak well done (to 160 degrees via meat thermometer) so sausage is the usual in our household....
 
OP
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Vitals

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I need to look into how pressure canning works. Have you and Luke had any of that Grizz he shot a little while ago? I'm thinking these Bear should taste good since the area is abundant with good edible vegetation that probably make up most of its diet.

As others have said, black bear makes phenomenal sausage. I prefer Blackbear pepperoni and teriyaki sticks to caribou or moose hands down, and I bet it makes awesome summer sausage too. I prefer to have it made into cooked sausage, since it eliminates the (real though rare) risk of trichinosis. Pressure canning is also an excellent way to ensure its cooked well done, but still tender. We haul out the same parts you would with any other animal...all four quarters, Backstraps and tenderloins. The Backstraps are pretty good grilled as steaks, but I am not so much a fan of steak well done (to 160 degrees via meat thermometer) so sausage is the usual in our household....
 
OP
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Vitals

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I have heard that with bear meat, it is crucial to get it cooled down and on top of some ice promptly. More so than with venison or pork that is....
Would a bear shot on day one of a 4-5 day hunt, with roughly 20-35 degree night time temps cut the hunt short?
 
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