4 Ways to Maximize Your Black Bear Harvest

Chelsea Hansler // December 6

Black bears are a unique big game animal due to the many ways they can be utilized. From their fat to their meat, very little goes to waste, making them a highly valuable and unique game. Over the years, I have set out to learn how to utilize as much of the animal as possible no matter the species. Black bear specifically has been a fun endeavor and one with many opportunities to learn. 

Black Bear

Ways to Use Black Bear


The most obvious commodity is, of course, meat. With trichinosis, many hunters are hesitant to try black bears. However, prepared properly it is both nutritious as well as delicious. Throughout the year we eat a lot of ground bear and substitute nearly every meal that calls for beef. 


Bear hide rugs are an obvious infatuation that many outdoorsmen and adventurers value. The incredible thing is that most bear hides are tanned into rugs making them used more than any other big game animal. 

{Read More: How to Field Judge a Black Bear}

Bear Fat

Historically, bear fat was always highly valued among the first frontiersmen. They would use it for trading and it was highly sought after for cooking, baking, and much more. Personally, I have just started rendering bear fat in an attempt to use as much of the bear as possible. The beautiful amber oil is surprisingly odorless as well as tasteless. I love that I can render many jars of bear oil that will last on the shelf for up to a year. 

Claws and Teeth

Black bear claws and teeth are often sought after by primitive crafters and indigenous cultures. They also make an additional keepsake to cherish the memory of your hunt. I have used them to make necklaces as well as other crafts.

In what other ways do you use black bear?

Interested in an opinion piece on whether to use the term harvest or kill? Read it here.

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About the Author

Chelsea Hansler

Hunter, mother, wife, artist, gardener, homesteader; these are a few of the titles that best describe Chelsea. She is a wife and a mother to two beautiful 4- and 5-year-old “babies”. After serving time in the Canadian Armed Forces, she moved to a tiny home in Northern Ontario, Canada. They are surrounded by thousands of acres of crown land and closer to home you will find her abundance of chickens, a mini horse, 2 cows, and their hounds. They strive to live a simple country life, hunting, gathering, and growing their own food. Everything her family does revolves around the outdoors and living this lifestyle. Chelsea is an artist, creating one-of-a-kind pieces focused mainly on this lifestyle.