This Years Hot Bear Bait

23 Aug

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.

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Master Baiter

17 Aug

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

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Black Bear Shot Placement

9 Aug

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.

Bad Shot:

Good Shot:

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.

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2011 Minnesota Black Bear Surplus Tags

4 Aug

Well if you were not on the ball yesterday about getting a surplus tag you are out of luck. Tags not purchased by lottery applicants were made available to unsuccessful applicants August 3rd. There was only Zone 22 in the Boundary Waters left as of 12:30 Thursday afternoon. There is always no-quota. Sales started June 1st.

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What kind of bait do you use?

1 Aug

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Once upon a time…

26 Jul

Night bears got you down? You ask: “What can I do to get them to come in during light hours?”. My first response would be to take the food away each night when you leave the hunting site. Leave some molasses sprayed in a high location for the wind to waft around or at least make the bait appear to have been freshened, but eaten. You want this bear to think he has to get there earlier to get his meal before someone else takes it. Also note the temperature. If it is extremely hot out – the bears are not likely to come in the heat of the day. Try hunting in the morning getting to the stand a good deal of time before sunrise. Let things settle. It is cooler then and it only takes him that one time to slip up to make your day. If you just brought the bait in and he is around to smell it in the cool morning – that might be the golden ticket. Another tactic would be being consistent in the timing of your baiting and then changing it one time. That might trigger a response you want. You can also agitate him by collecting some droppings possibly from another bait sight and placing them at the sight you are hunting. He might come in hot headed, but at least he’s there! Of course trail cameras are going to tell the real story of when to hunt. Even though you have the data – that doesn’t mean you have the whole story. A new bear can come in anytime to change the ending.

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Princeton Black Bear

22 Jul

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.

 

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Have you ever black bear hunted?

21 Jul

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Big Brown Hairy Beavers

21 Jul

In Minnesota the success rate of a black bear hunter is 25%. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MN DNR) does not say anything further about that. That is just whether the tag was filled out and reported or not. In 2008 the odds of being drawn were 11 out of 16 (68.7%) and the year before it was 12 out of 16 (75%). That is just how the MN DNR does it. A total of 7,050 licenses are available in 11 permit areas for 2011. In 2010, bear hunters purchased 7,086 of the 9,500 licenses available and harvested 2,699 bears. That was a 38.1% success rate. That is really good. The MN DNR decreased the number of available tags this year. That should help keep the pressure off your bait sites from other hunters. I believe this to be the intention. I have spoken with the National Forest Service and DNR a number of times about guides with high number of bait sites. Hopefully they will restrict the number of baits a hunter or guide will be able to put out very soon. There are still a number of other variables that may affect your baits: food availability, heat, dryness, activity in your area, etc. This year is turning out to be very wet and this summer is very hot. Food should be growing like crazy in the woods. Some spots will not be accessible to bait. Those bears have it made this year. I suggest bringing out the big guns and present them with your best baits. Black bears like big brown hairy beavers. I have seen them used by stringing them on a line near bait sites in Canada. Sure seems to turn them on.

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The Dinner Bell

21 Jul

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.

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