You hunt bears in either the spring or the fall, depending on where you go. Bears and the meat they produce, fall into two categories: spring bear or fall bear. From my experience, there is a difference. A spring bear is often less fatty—although it still has large amounts of fat—because it most likely has been in some form of hibernation for the last several months and has not been out rummaging for food. Even if the bear did not go into full hibernation mode, chances are the amount of time it spent foraging for food was less and what food he may have found was neither at its peak nor in abundance.
The staples in bears’ diet in the early spring are typically grasses, starchy roots, insects, berries and, if they can find it, meat. This diet is reflected in the way the meat tastes and often results in leaner, less fatty meat when compared to fall bear meat.
The diet of a bear harvested in the fall season, especially in late fall, tends to be fattier and greasier and may require a little more creativity to make it pleasing to the palate. Because bears are preparing for upcoming hibernation, they begin gorging themselves with proteins and carbohydrates such as fish, carrion, fall berries, grasses, roots and other animals and can pack on 25 to 30 pounds per week until they go into hibernation. Therefore, it is easy to understand why the meat may taste differently in the fall.
Bear meat should ALWAYS BE THROUGHLY AND COMPLETELY COOKED because, like pork, it can contain Trichinella spiralis and Toxoplasma gondii. Pay attention to the cooking times and make sure there is no pink meat and the juices run clear.
- 15 lbs. ground bear meat
- 6 lbs. ground pork butt
- 1.5 lbs. slab bacon, ground
- 7 tsp. garlic salt
- 3 tsp. red pepper
- 4 tsp. pepper
- Combine all ingredients and mix well.
- Fry in pan and serve as breakfast sausage or use a pizza topping.
Instead of frying, you can also make meatballs and then cook thoroughly on the stovetop or bake in the oven.
BBQ Bear Roast
- 3 lbs. bear roast
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed
- Salt and pepper
- 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp. paprika
- 1 tsp. dry mustard
- 1/4 tsp. chili powder
- 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup vinegar
- 1 cup tomato juice
- 1/4 cup catsup
- 1/2 cup water
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Place roast in small roasting pan.
- Season roast to taste with salt and pepper, and rub with garlic.
- Bake roast at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until well done and juices run clear.
- In a heavy skillet, combine 1 teaspoon salt and remaining ingredients and simmer for 15 minutes.
- While sauce is simmering, cut roast into thin slices.
- Add meat; simmer for 1 hour or until roast is tender.
Some folks love bear meat and claim it tastes amazing while others think it is downright disgusting. As with any wild game meat, it usually comes down to how the animal was harvested, butchered, aged and prepared.
Have you ever eaten bear? What is your favorite bear recipe? Share your experiences and recipes with us in the comment section.