So everyone wants to know what the HOT bait is?!
What it really boils down to is what does the bear you’re after like to eat to pack on the pounds for hibernation? Bears are just like humans. They eat what they like when multiple options are presented to them. I can’t tell you how many times I have put stuff out and none of them eat it.Then one big male comes along and eats everything like dad at a restaurant cleaning all the kids plates.
They are pretty funny creatures. My advice to you is to start out with foods that will not deteriorate with rain or humidity like dog food or bread. Unless you are certain it is going to be dry out. Apples and other vegetables are going to keep in these conditions, but are just a filler. Not the desired fattener for winter. The guy who sets up shop second weekend across the street that found your bait site right off the side of a forest road has sugary treats. The bears are going to think “Screw that pile of apples!” you put out.
When starting your bait use stinky fish fryer or the local watering hole bar grease. You should be able to get this for free. Pour it at your bait site for the bear to lap up and step in (Read : Back Trackers article). Once you place all your goodies out, spray the area with molasses. Get it on the bait logs, on tree trunks and up in the leave canopy. You really want to get this wafting in the air for the bears to smell. The number one hot bait is something that will keep in the elements and will put on the most fat in a short period of time.
I believe in two schools of thought when it comes to baiting. You can place one massive amount of bait at a site until hunting starts or you can schedule your baiting. Both tactics work great. They both have their drawbacks as well.
Massive dumps provide a safe environment for the bears to come and go. There is no human scent. They can come and go with no real threat in the daylight or in the darkness. Their food will always be there. The problem here is that when you go to sit in the stand for the first time your scent will be new to the bears and you might be S.O.L. The other bad part is that the bear may have never been trained to come in during daylight hours. The great part is that the bait site may be vary remote or you do not have the time to bait it. So making one trip may be the ticket. You might even have a bear that you have been after for a long while and are trying to leave this sensitive area alone.
Scheduling your baiting in small amounts is another tactic. There are two points to this: missed meals and scent. You might have some greedy bears that are eating everything. The big night bear finally figures out to come earlier after a number of missed meals. He can smell the goodies were there and now he decides it is time to put the other bears in their place and come in during daylight hours. When you are the baiter you get to see what the bears are interested in, just like in fishing. You can keep changing up the bait until you get it right to keep them coming. You are leaving scent in the area and if you keep your timing consistent you are not disrupting the bears behavior. Keeping them consistent as well. They do not know if you are there now, have been there, or just left. Human scent is a risk verses reward for the bear. Once it is time to get up into the stand and you have put your scent killer on you will still be wafting human scent into the area. He will think you were there recently and put his face into the bait, but completely unaware he has a bow sight with the number two pin just behind his arm pit. Low risk to the bear for the reward of the best foods in the world not available anywhere else in the woods. They have such great noses that it is impossible for them not to smell you. Being the baiter is a huge bonus as your scent is acclimated to the bears. However; if the hunter is not the baiter, her scent might put the bears off.
The moral is that it is good to be the Master Baiter. You get your scent out there and you also get to get the bear!
Here is an old schedule I ran one year:
Castle Creek Outfitters : Baiting Schedule
There are many instances when a hunter should reconsider taking the shot at their prey. You aren’t comfortable with the shot, can’t catch your breath, there is brush in the way, etc. When bear hunting you should be aware that there are some shots that should be avoided.
Bears have a very large shoulder blade and humerus (upper arm bone). These act as shields to bullets and arrows. Their heart is well protected behind these if the front leg is back along the body.
The best shot on a black bear is a quartering away shot with the front leg extended forward along the side you intend to shoot. The vitals are all exposed for a proper kill shot.
Quartering Away Shot:
Red Arrows Are Kill Shots (Black Bad Shot):
Take this into consideration before you pull the trigger or let that arrow fly. Nobody likes to chase after a wounded bear at one in the morning in the darkness unless your buddy likes getting his ankle bit just so he can shoot one with his glock handgun.
So I was driving along in my truck last friday late afternoon with my boat heading to Mille Lacs Lake in Minnesota near my house and off in a soy bean field I see a good sized black bear running across the field. He must have just crossed the road coming from the river. It is pretty rare to see a bear in my area in the daylight if EVER! This is only the second bear I have personnaly seen near my house. I stopped dead in the road and tried to get the iPhone out as fast as I could knowing it would be too far to see. Oh well. Here is the video.
When you are baiting your sites – try to make some noise. First of all so you don’t startle the bear(s) and find yourself in a situation. Secondly – so they get trained to the dinner bell. I personally whistle as I walk down the trails and always with the same stride. Some bears tend to stay nearby in bedding areas or just beyond the bait sight waiting for their next meal. I have seen a number of them come in on camera just a few minutes after I finish resetting the sight and leave. Some have even given me a hard time to get out of there so they can come in to eat. I find it safer to have a routine – so we both know what to expect.
Like most manmade creations – I find it unethical to utilize them to trigger a reaction in the bears much like Pavlov’s dogs. Baiting with your ATV makes sense in rural areas, but at least turn off the machine and walk in a significant distance with the bait. Taking the muffler off your old truck and driving through the woods is just plain lazy and you should get nailed to the wall by the DNR.