Well it’s that time again. Time to start getting ready for black bear hunting in Minnesota. Lottery applicants can check to see if they were drawn online at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources since early June.
Bear lottery winners must purchase their license by August 1, 2012. Unsold licenses will then become available for purchase by anyone starting August 6, 2012 at 12:00PM.
At this time of year I start thinking about where I am going to get my bait from. Craigslist sometimes has items for free, then there is freezing your leftovers or you could always buy bait.
When buying bait I would suggest bait that does not spoil quickly exposed to the elements like doughnuts, bread and dog food. Simple cracked corn and grease works just fine. I prefer – if I can get my hands on it – dried expired fruits packed in sugar. Easier said than done. I also like peanuts and trail mix if there aren’t too many crackers in it. I have never really had too much luck with fresh fruits like apples. Every bear seems to have their own likes and dislikes, so try a number of different baits.
A good place to just buy bait is Lucky 7 Bear Bait in Cambridge, MN. Their inventory changes so visit their website frequently. I believe they may even ship throughout the US.
It doesn’t hurt to go to your bakery or gas station for bait. Don’t forget to go to the local watering hole for the tastey bar grease! Bring a bucket and a way to scoup it out. Don’t get it on you vehicle cause once the sun hits it – you aren’t every going to get it off.
This year my group intends to use bait barrels chained and / or bolted to trees. Should be interesting.
Baiting may not begin prior to August 17, 2012.
I am sure some of you have heard of wolves being shot and the collars thrown on a train. I heard it on the radio this morning and thought maybe someone has done this with a bear radio collar? The joke this morning was that in Roseau, MN someone shot a wolf and put the collar on his sheep. The other was that the wolf was going 70 miles per hour (the train). Let me know your thoughts or if you have ever heard of this with a collard bear or other tracked animal…maybe a Minnesota Moose?
Bears can smell anything and everything. I have seen a grizzly bear find a chicken wing across a valley two miles away. What does that say about you at the bait sight? You are basically you know what. There are however a few things you can do and be aware of. First of all – whoever is doing the baiting has an upper leg on anyone else in your hunting party. The baiters scent is familiar to the bear by the time hunting starts. You might actually want to do some hard work and get off your fat ass if you want to be more successful. Depending on the wind – the baiter’s scent is always there. The bear just doesn’t know if he is there now, just left or was there hours ago. He will have to figure out if it is safe to enter the sight. It is nice that he has been acclimated to your scent.
Another tactic I like to use are scents. I like to place skunk scent between me and the bait. Maybe a little closer to me. Be warned I have been charged by bears a few times thinking I was a skunk eating his food. They do not tolerate skunks in their food and chase them out. It is funny to watch them try to get out from under the bait with a huge bear hanging over them.
Get as much food scent up in the air as possible. Bring a water bottle of molasses and fling the molasses out of the bottle up into the tree leaves or needles. The higher the better. You can get 5 gallon buckets of it from your local feed mill. You can also bring your own buckets for them to fill. Don’t bring the molasses up into the stand with you for obvious reasons.
Putting bar grease (that’s right – the stuff they cook your food in) in the bottom of your bait for the first few times baiting and over the logs – you can even mix it into your corn / bread mixture. The bears like the taste, but most of all they get it on their paws from moving the logs or digging in the bait. This is important because when they leave they are leaving a scent trail into the woods for other bears to come across to follow back to the bait. The more back tracking bears to the bait the better!
Scent is going to be your biggest ally and also your biggest foe. Try to reduce your scent. Use scent killer, wash your clothes in scent products, don’t smoke, try to mask your breath and don’t touch evey single thing you come across in the woods.