What weapon?

  • bla
    Posts: 22

    My 13 year old son received his WI bear permit for this year. He is smaller for his age so he normally shoots a .243 or crossbow for deer. Any recommendations – what weapon to use for bear hunting over bait?

    Harris, Somewhere in VNP
    Posts: 1056

    I killed a couple bears with a .243 and a couple with a 20 gauge slug gun as a kid. Making a good shot is far more important than the caliber.
    Crossbow would be fine as well. Just so you know though, Bears are known for poor blood trails when using archery equipment due to the amount of fat they normally have. Imo either option work just fine if he’s well practiced.

    Randy Wieland
    Lebanon. WI
    Posts: 13224

    243 with Barnes TSX bullet and well placed shot. That solid copper bullet will transfer more energy for damage and penetration. There is no way I would want a fragmenting bullet on a bear.

    Otherwise I would step him up to a 270win. For that little extra footpounds of energy

    Posts: 1809

    1st bear firearm, second one bow, that’s my 2 pennies

    craig s
    Posts: 242

    Crossbow with a rage btoadhead. You’ll have plenty of blood.

    Posts: 797

    Range is typically not long with bears. I reduced recoil 270 load would be bad medicine I would think.

    St. Paul, MN
    Posts: 10410

    Use the 243. He’s comfortable with it and it’s more than enough for black bear.

    There’s absolutely no reason to mess with success here. Why introduce an unnecessary wild card? With everybody going gaga with the current fad for 6 and 6.5 MM chamberings, it astonishes me there are still some who don’t think the ORIGINAL 6MM is good enough for a medium sized game animal like deer and bears.

    Personally, I would use the 243 to launch a 95 grain Nosler Partition. No bear is going to walk away from an old school thumping from a Partition. I like tough, reliable, proven bullets for bears and the pedigree of the Partition speaks for itself.

    There is also the obvious advantage of a faster follow up shot with the rifle. A bear coming in at first or last light, a shot connects but how well? Just practice follow up shots and make sure your son knows not to stop shooting as long as the bear is moving. Assume a miss or poor hit and fire again.


    Posts: 22

    Thanks for the input. So far he has leaned to the .243 – more comfortable. Exciting to think about the fall

    Randy Wieland
    Lebanon. WI
    Posts: 13224

    Exciting to think about the fall

    You bet!! I have been having so much fun the last few years with the mentored deer hunts. Hard to describe the success I feel when I see the kids having success and learning so much.

    Given he is hunting over bait, he’ll get a nice close shot and can usually wait for the perfect shot. He may be getting a lesson in patience this fall. Good luck

    eyota, mn
    Posts: 597

    243 will do an excellent job. If he has not shot the gun too many times get a black bear silhouette target as well and have him shoot if a few times to ensure he gets the vitals and is prepared. Make sure you save the bear ribs for the smoker! )

    Western Wi.
    Posts: 1147

    I shot my bear with a bow and rage broad head it went 60 yards and bled like a pig, but I had my treestand set up at 18 yards, more range with a rifle but still need to make a good shot

    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1583

    I’d make my consideration with stand distance as the biggest concern. I’m a big fan at under 50 yards as being a shotgun slug… watched my excited brother (17 bucks killed) poke a hole in one at 25 yards with a 30-06 and I’ve a beautiful trail cam pic of the bear’s reaction to the pass through, but no bear as an end result. It’s always the hunters call, but with him being a first timer…

    Jim in Wisconsin
    Posts: 64

    I took my first bear with a 30-06 at about 35 yards using Nosler Partitions. Hit broadside just behind the shoulder he immediately ran towards me and my partner. We hit him good four more times and he dropped about 15′ away. I had another shot at a different bear at dusk that apparently missed but ethics still required me to follow up to be sure I missed. By then it was mostly dark. Doing a follow-up on a bear in the dark is most exciting. I killed a second bear twenty years later, over bait, with a 35 Whelen head shot. I knew I did NOT want to follow up on another bear in the dark. Let me add that if you kill a bear in September You best have your ice handy or you will start to lose meat immediately.

    Farmington, MN
    Posts: 3334

    For a 13-year-old, adult depends. He will need them when he sees the bear.
    Congratulations and I hope your son gets a nice one.

    Tom Sawvell
    Posts: 9559

    At 13 and his first bear I’d say the rifle and the .243 is plenty for a bear. Make sure he studies diagrams of a bear’s anatomy because the heart is situated a bit different from a deer, a bit further back. Most hits with a bullet in the kitchen will dispatch a bear inside of 30 yards.

    A 20 gauge slug is plenty for a bear too. Magnum anything is not needed.

    Brad Dimond
    Posts: 1210

    More on board with Grouse than Randy on bullet. The Barnes is a great bullet but heavy for caliber bullets don’t stabilize well out of faster twist barrels. The Partition is denser than the Barnes, you get a heavier bullet out of the same overall length cartridge. In either case, the .243 should suffice.

    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts: 39

    If you can find one, a Ruger rifle (auto) in 44 Mag. Very little recoil. Use hollow point bullets only as others do not expand correctly in bear.

    Good luck

    Posts: 8722

    FYI, this post is 2 years old.

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