Idaho has an excellent reputation for black bear hunting and rightfully so. Bear numbers meet or exceed target expectations in several key areas of the state, most notably anywhere near the Bitterroot Mountains.
Another positive factor is the high percentage of color phase black bear. These bears live in diverse terrain ranging from heavily wooded forest to sparsely covered south facing hillsides. Typically bears that live in on the edge of these two different habitats have the greatest opportunity at being a different color phase than black. It’s basically a natural selection thing. More open territory equals lighter colored bears that are harder to see than black ones. It then creates hundreds of years of genetic bloodlines that produce colored bears of all sorts.
The three most effective ways to hunt bear in Idaho is over bait, with hounds, or spot and stalk. Typically the spring and early fall season are more laid back with excellent weather and plenty of bear activity. The evening is typically more active, so ask your outfitter or guide about the possibilities of turkey hunting or fishing while you’re on your Idaho black bear hunt.
Personally I prefer to hunt bears with a 30 caliber rifle. The 300 wsm is a favorite of mine, but any weapon in this class with high velocity and bullet weight capabilities of over 150 grains will do the trick. Black bear are tough and it would be a shame to save up and plan for a hunt that didn’t turn out because you are underpowered. Archery hunting is also an option, but again give yourself the best opportunity to take a bear by using heavier broadheads with large cutting diameter. Please take note that mechanical broadheads are not yet legal in Idaho so plan accordingly.