Bears are large mammals in the order Carnivora. Although there are only eight living species of bear, they are widespread, appearing in a wide variety of habitats throughout the Northern Hemisphere and partially in the Southern Hemisphere. The IUCN lists six bear species as vulnerable or endangered, and even “least concern” species such as the brown bear are at risk of extirpation in certain countries. The poaching and international trade of these most threatened populations is prohibited but still going on.
Bears have the ability to dramatically lower their heart rate when hibernating and will readily do so if injured, as a defense mechanism against blood loss. Hunters carrying firearms tend to favour calibres large enough to inflict as much tissue and bone damage as possible, as Grizzly and Brown Bears can generally withstand a number of direct shots to the limbs or torso without ceasing their attack. To successfully subdue a bear by firearm, one may have to shoot it several times, so as to leave wounds that will cause the bear to hemorrhage to death as quickly as possible. Hunters pursuing the animal deliberately might use a caliber larger than they would for the deer that commonly co-inhabit the same area. If they intend to keep the hide, and to ensure a quick and humane kill, they may prefer to use a large bullet that will break the bear’s shoulder and continue through the vital organs, ideally leaving an exit wound large enough to leave a blood trail to assist locating the downed animal. For these reasons, bears are hard to hunt, as they generally live in dense forests or thick brush. They are however easy to trap.
Once a general area is identified, a bear hunt usually begins by looking for claw marks on trees. Scores in bear hunts are based on the width and length of the skull.
In Finland, 136 bear hunting permits were made available for the 2012-2013 season