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Thread: Tips on Butchering Black Bear

  1. #1

    Default Tips on Butchering Black Bear

    I plan on doing my first spring blackie hunt here pretty shortly. Any tips on field processing and final butchering would be appreciated. I plan on making mostly roasts, if I get lucky. Also, who do you recommend for butchering, should I decide to have someone esle do it? Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    The best PWS black bear meat I have had came from my first bear which I knocked down by a VERY cold mountain stream. After we quartered it, we laid the quarters in the running water and let them cool for 20 minutes or so. This cooled the meat very rapidly and allowed for us to keep all the hair and blood off the outside of the meat. We then bagged it up and hung it to dry.

    I'm not sure how much affect this rapid cooling had on the quality of meat, but it was delicious. I have done this process with one moose as well and it also turned out great. Unfortunately, there isn't always a cold, CLEAN stream nearby.

    As far as a processor goes, that kind of depends on where you are. If you are in the valley, you can't go wrong with Mat-Valley meats on the Palmer-Wasilla hwy. They do good work and you will get YOUR meat back.
    AKmud
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    The porcupine is a peacful animal yet God still thought it necessary to give him quills....

  3. #3
    Member fullkurl's Avatar
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    Default one tip...

    I 've done a couple of bears.
    My time is limited so I'll add one tip, others will probably add more:
    WEAR GLOVES!
    The finger/hand you save may be your own.

    Frank

  4. #4

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    Thanks for the tips.


    If you dont mind me asking, how did you prepare/process your bear? What would you do again? What would you do different?

  5. #5

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    AKmud

    The cooling of the bear in the stream had a hugh affect on the quality of the meat.

    The problem with black bears is the fat and how quickly it will go rancid and if it goes rancid, it gives the meat a tangy tast.

    If the fat starts to liquify (get slimy) then it is starting to turn and will greatly affect the quality of the meat.

    In the old days bear fat was used a lot for baking bread because when renderd properly, it makes a fine oil but it is the worst if it goes rancid.

    At 40 degrees you have to get a bear to a cooler within 12 hours and at 60 degrees you have about 3 hours (at near freezing you can keep it for several days). There is probably some leeway to those times but I don't like to take any chances and stick to them fairly closley

    If you can not get the bear cooled down quickly then strip the hid off and cut every piece of fat off that you can find, even if you have to cut into the meat a little. You will loose a little meat and a little more when you have to discard the crust that forms but it is better than a hole lot of poor quality meat.

    When we go for black bear, we bring an old freezer and a generator so we do not have to rush it to a cooler.

    When I package the meat, I never leave any bear fat on the meat, as I believe it affects the taste when cooking it.

    As for the meat, bear steaks are not the best since you have to cook them through, same as you would pork and they end up dry and tough. Hamburger and stew are my favorite.

  6. #6
    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Thanks for the insight Bob!

    As far as preparing the meat goes, we usually do hamburger. We were leary of the first one and only used the hamburger in dishes that we could camoflauge like tacos and enchiladas.

    Finally, one day I decided to throw them on the grill for burgers. I mixed in a package of Liptons Onion soup mix (dry) and worked in a little barbeque sauce then threw them on the grill. I have to say, they were the BEST burgers I have had in a LONG time. Now, whenever we get spring bear meat, it is ground (10% beef suet added) and saved for the grill and we use the moose for tacos and enchiladas!
    AKmud
    http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j96/AKmud/213700RMK1-1.jpg


    The porcupine is a peacful animal yet God still thought it necessary to give him quills....

  7. #7

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    AKmud

    Every year I try and have a couple of wild game BBQ's. Usually most non hunters and some hunters (deer hunters) would not even consider trying bear but once they tried it they were hooked. They could not believe how plain regular beef burgers are or how much better it is than deer.

    Try it without all the additives you put in, you might be pleasently surprised but make sure you cook it slow and right through.

    Darn I am making myself hungry.

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