Bear Hunting Magazine
Bear Biology with biologist Wade Nolan Image Credit: Bear Hunting Magazine
Bear Biology with biologist Wade Nolan Image Credit: Bear Hunting Magazine

Bear Biology with biologist Wade Nolan

Hear you, smell you, see you.

It is bear season this week in Pennsylvania and bears are the talk of most hunters. The most amazing part of this “bear talk” is that much of it is hearsay, and wives’ tales. Black bears have been part of this landscape for as long as there has been wildlife biologists and researchers. Therefore, there are solid answers to many of the common topics bantered about a bear’s ability to hear, see and smell you. I’m about to bring you up to date. 0016- These are the tools that a bear uses to keep track of his surroundings. That gives him an advantage over us with his nose, eyes and ears.

Smell You

A black bears nose power is estimated to be as much as five times greater than the nose of a bloodhound. This is remarkable as we know that a bloodhound can detect a seven-day old fingerprint. Mammals have olfactory receptors in the nasal mucosa and few animals rival the density of receptors of a bear. Many biologists believe that a bear may have the keenest nose on the continent.

Most researchers believe that a bear can smell a food source when one to three miles away. I have some personal observation concerning a bear’s nose. I’ve run dozens of bait stations in Alaska which has a very stable and robust bear population. I’ve set up baits using a bucket of “bear call.” I make this smelly concoction out of salmon and halibut heads, plus some rotten red meat. After a couple of weeks in th


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