I've read that fall bear were preferred in the "old days" because of the high fat content. Plentiful fat is very rare in wild game and supposedly bear fat was highly regarded for baking, in the absence of domestic sources (pigs). Of course, none of that speaks to the meat quality of fall bears. I'm pretty sure that bears that have been eating grass and berries taste much better than bears that have been eating salmon, etc., but I've never eaten bear myself.
Yup. we outfit for black bear. For us fall is better. They have been feasting all summer on alfalfa, oats, canola, clover, usual wild feed and then the fall berry crop. Each to their own, but I have always found that animals on the gain are better eating than something that has been losing weight....... bodies under stress. Our sessions of trying spring bear meat always lead us back to fall bear when we want something to eat. Added bonus is all the fat. My wife renders it down for lard. Makes incredible pastry......... pie crusts are amazing.
The bear lard is also good for softening leather, dry skin salve. My wife gets dry skin patches in the winter when it is really cold and low humidity.......... swears by the "bear grease". Natives think it has medicinal properties and elders like to rub it on arthritic joints........ ya I know, just saying what they believe.
Anyways, lots of uses............ did I mention pastry?
The meat is mild tasting and I have hunting clients who usually say it tastes like beef to them when we cook a roast for them or some backstrap. Young bear is good of course, but we have had clients shoot 600+ boars and the meat was just fine. Thing is that unless you live in bear country and can shoot them every year, guys going on a guided hunt don't usually want to shoot a "boo-boo" and the meat is a by-product to the trophy. Fear not, you can take a nice big bear and till have some good eating.