As a dedicated meat hunter, that has never hunted bears, I think if I were to take a bear, to harvest meat, fall season should be best, right ?
& conversely, if hunting for a trophy "rug", spring would be my huckleberry ?
New 2 99s;
Top of the morning to you sir, I trust the holiday season has been treating you and your fine family acceptably well.
The topic of bear meat flavor is a hotly debated one here in the mountains to the west of you good folks.
We've only sampled a handful of bears and then over the years processed another double handful - so maybe 2 dozen or so in total - and all were local BC bears. As well a good friend used to guide for black bears up on the north coast and I don't believe he was in on any less than 5-6 dozen being shot. So based on that here's what we think.
Bear meat varies in flavor more than the local ungulates and that makes sense because their diet varies so much more. While a mulie on this side of the mountain may eat less sagebrush and more Saskatoon branches, it's still primarily a cellulose based diet.
Bears will eat anything almost - so Bighorn lambs, moose calves, rotting fish, mulie fawns, clover and in summer mountain berries will all be on the menu.
We had a few names for bear size - "pocket bears" - self explanatory, then circus bears which would be the sub adult size and then the "popcan" models which left droppings popcan diameter....
The absolute best flavored bear meat we've had the pleasure of eating was a pocket bear who was shot as a favor to the vineyard owner by a contractor buddy who was working on a job there.
We boned out the entire back leg, wrapped it, applied the correct dry rub spices, seared it in a pan and then placed it in a turkey roaster. Honestly it smelled like we'd marinaded it in grape juice.... you could cut it with a fork and we still talk about it.
However on the other side, buddy from the north country said one should never, ever, even on a bet for large sums of money attempt to consume a rotten salmon eating bear....
I quit spring bear hunting after I shot one that must have been minutes - or days - out of hibernation and was rail thin. He just tasted "wrong" for lack of a better term, although we did give the meat to a trapper we knew then and he said it was acceptable table fare.
We were always a bit suspicious that Stan was part coyote however....
The fall bears are very much more marbled with fat that's true.
The fat does however render into some of the finest lard you'd want to see. Another good friend's wife proclaimed it the best pastry lard she'd used - which was good because they ended up with two coffee cans of it from one "popcan" sized boar.
Hopefully that was of some use to you sir. Please do shoot bears in your home province and if you're so inclined then by all means come here to BC and take two - we've got plenty to spare.
Happy New Year and all the best to you and your family in 2016.