This information is as of 09-15-2011
A few more bears were registered this week.
(218) 444-BAIT (2248)
Bear hunters are reporting more activity at night on their baits and a “bear or two” is registered each day.
Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094
Bear reports have been favorable.
Redding Sports and Spirits (218) 763-2191
Bearhunters report a bumper crop of acorns and not much activity at baits.
Swanson’s Bait and Tackle (218) 675-6176
Bear hunters continue to experience good success, but many are stating that they are becoming most active at night.
Dr. Tackle Sports (218) 647-8657
Mort’s Dock (218) 647-8128
It always seems to me that it is very hot on the Minnesota Black Bear Opener. I thought it would be interesting to see if it actually was. Here is some data from the Farmers Almanac for Grand Rapids (Zone 26), MN. I understand that the temperature is very different in other parts of Minnesota, but here is a frame of reference.
Heat Vs Harvest
The average high temperature is 75.7°F, a low of 53.8°F with an average harvest of 291.5 bears from Zone 26 each year since the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MN DNR) started recording data.
So it is not all that hot and it is reasonably cool in the evenings. You can review the numbers and come to your own conclusions. I see that hot years have fewer bears harvested and in cooler years higher success. You have to take into account the entire summer and food available. Best scenario is little food with a cool opening day.
It is going to be interesting this year to see the harvest numbers since there are fewer hunters and the number of bait sites allowed has been reduced to three per hunter. As most bear hunters know the opening success rate drops exponentially after the first day. If you are lucky enough to be in an area that there is little pressure you should have little to worry about.
A change in baiting regulations is causing confusion among many of Minnesota’s 6,000 bear hunters just as the season gets underway.
The change this year prohibits hunters from placing more than three bait stations in the woods at one time. Previously, they could put out an unlimited number of bait stations.
“A lot of bear hunters aren’t aware of the change,” said Capt. Ken Soring of the Department of Natural Resources in Grand Rapids. He said the misunderstanding is widespread.
The bear hunting season opened Thursday.
Bear hunters must send the DNR the locations of their bait registration stations, and many are sending in more than three locations — unaware they are violating the law, Soring said.
“We’re calling them,” Soring said. “They have to abandon some of their bear-bait sites. It’s only fair for other hunters who are following the regulations.”
Soring said the DNR reduced the number of bait stations to three to reduce hunter conflicts and competition over sites.
“We were getting complaints from bear hunters — some hunters were placing baits in a pre-emptive manner,” Soring said. “This still gives hunters a chance to hunt three different areas.”
Hunters still can establish different bait stations if they remove one of their old ones. And each licensed bear hunting outfitter may establish up to three bait stations in addition to three bait stations placed for licensed hunters.
Soring said conservation officers are trying to give hunters a break, but those knowingly violating the law face citations, he said.
Doug Smith • email@example.com
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.