Contributors to this thread:
Bear and moon phases
what if any affect does moon phases have on bear activity during daylight hours? We are hunting the second week of Sept.(Minnesota) and that will be in the dark of the moon. Do any of you guys have a preference of full or dark of the moon?
dark moon for sure, but im booked for sept 1st alberta just got to go and hunt hard. fall bears are on the move all the time to bulk up for winter i shot my fall bear last year at 1 in the afternoon. you week will be great have fun!!
I'll second the trail timer. An almost indispensible item for bears that start hitting at other than regular hours. Just do your darndest to bear proof the thing.
I would rather have a new moon for any hunting
I would guess that moon phases for bear could be a very intresting subject !
However ! I have just finnished my forty fourth year at guiding and hunting this animal (see was this the last one) I am no bioligest but I see no corolation with moon phase and bear movement ! I have cameras that show moon phases, and I saw no diffrence in the feeding pattern , when there was a quarter moon, half moon, or three quarters moon.
In my estimation the determining factor for activity at the bait comes down to these factors !
#1, availability of food, (natural) If it's scarse in the bush, you will have bear on the bait .
#2, The peck system of bear, over anything else. This is very strong among bear ! The bigger , the meaner, and I'm going to get mine first !
#3, How many are there on a bait !
#4, The personanity of each bear. They are just like us humans.
I'm from Minnesota , and what I found out this year was, I thought there were a lot of acorns. We saw them all over, but today they still have not fallen . Where did they go ??
Normaly you figure the big bear feed at night ! Not always so ! My cameras showed several large bear were daytime feeders, forcing the smaller bear to feed at nite. Very intresting !
The type of bait one uses may be a factor, and how much you use at each bait ! At any rate I believe camers are way better than the timers because timers tell you when one bear or other critter was there. The cameras do a much better job !
The bottom line is that you have to be on the stand to kill the bear ! Patience is a big vertue here !
It seems like a good bear year here in Minnesota and I wish you luck durring your hunt ! bearman,
this weekend should be great for bear hunting....cold front moved through and the weather is cool..in my past MN experiences cool weather helps a bunch....but like....Bearman said....natural food is the number one factor in weather a bear will come to the your bait...
Thanks for the info. We leave tonight for MN and will be hunting Sunday. I'm really looking forward to the hunt especially now that the cool weather is moving through. Good luck to all.
I'm sure moon phases can affect a bears behaviour. During the fall hunt a full moon is often associated with clear, cool weather which makes an animal very aware and cautious of its surroundings. This awareness is translated to caution when you are on a stand and I can't be convinced that most bears don't know you're there. Compare how careful a deer is on those clear cold mornings as to how they are almost indifferent to your presence on dull, drizzly days. Same with grouse, same with bears, same with certain fish species. Bearman, I'm sorry but I don't agree with some of your observations. Or perhaps I should say instead that I've experienced other behaviour. While the pecking order of bears is important, its often the cubs that come bootin it into a bait first followed by the sow. A dominant male will often sit back and show himself later when it appears all is safe. Cubs are nothing more than cannon fodder to them. Its a rare occasion when food is scarce for a bear as its main diet can be 80 percent vegetation. While you may have a dismal berry crop they always have their spots for choice alternate foods. The trick to baiting is giving them food that they need prior to denning. Sweets are a great attractant but not a necessity. As for your acorns, you have great years for mast and poor years, often the result of a particular stand of oak aging and not producing every year. You may well be looking at a poor crop this time around simply because the acorns didn't fully develop. And while I agree the cameras offer a far better record of whats hitting a baitsite, I've just never been able to bear-proof the darn things and they'e just too expensive to have destroyed. Along with timers (which also get pounded) I've always tried to use other signs to figure out whats hanging around. Scats, paw prints, territorial markings and claw marks where cubs have been sent up a tree are all great indications of whats hanging around an area. The one and only thing that remains constant in interpreting bear behaviour is that they have no consistency in their behaviour.
Hey KEN ! Like I said, I'm no bioligest , so does the moon effect the movement of the bear I really don't know ! From looking at the cameras pictures , I can't see that it does . This year we baited in the full moon, and it carried into the hunt ! I as a human wondered about the moon , but I don't think the bear cared as the pictures showed activity twenty four hours a day ! As far as the temps, it was hot ! The temps varied from 86 degrees to 93 degrees day time temps to seventy's and high sixty's for night time temps ! Bear movement was very good ! Your right about caution thats for sure. Bear are always cautious around a bait and I believe like you that they know we are there despite what we try to cover our scent !
It's just fine that we disagree on certain things, What you experience in Ontario can be diffrent from where I'm at in Minnesota ! For instance , the pecking order ! I have always been aware of this, but diffrent baits with diffrent camers show that every bait , the bear do act diffrently ! One bait with a huge male on it who was all nocturnal, only showed him in the dark , you can see him looking out into the bush and you know he is watching other bear ! When he was gone all the rest would feed, When the sows with cubs came in, all other bear were gone ! When my buddy hunted that bait A big sow with two cubs came in early, and she sat out from the bait and watched her cubs feed. I guess that was fun ! But a little later when a two hundred pound male came down the trail , mom and the cubs took off ! My buddy shot the male ! To me this was all typical bear !
The bait I hunted , was according to the camera , dominated durring the day time by this huge male! True to what the camera told me he showed durring the day time hours (6:55, PM) I choose not to shoot him ! No other bear showed while I was hunting and the camera showed no other bear around while he was at the bait ! But it did show others when he was gone ! Again there was a sow and cubs there and she and the cubs were always alone ! I believe the peck system was shown here very strongly , at both of those baits.
I had five big bear at the baits this year, and all showed up in daytime hours except for one !
I have to disagree with your thoughts on available food ! Even our bear bioligest is conserned for the bear in an off food year ! His worries are that they won't have enought fat to carry them through the winter and he tells us , some bear do die from lack of fat reserves !
Last year the acorn crop was huge ! They fell two weeks before bear season and baiting was tough , a hit and miss deal ! We had drought conditions that were bad , but we had acorns ! Not a whole lot more ! This year we again had drought conditions, and there were acorns on the trees , BUT , they haven't effected the bear hunting ! There are always the berries, but they are few and far between, I've seen lots of wild plumbs but it takes an awful lot of everything to feed all the animals in the forest ! Yes ! bear are big vegitarians and eat a tremendous amount of grass, however I don't know the neutrition value in it in the fall when there has been a drought and it's brown and in poor shape, and yes those bear know where every berry bush and oak tree in the country are ! But when there isn't any berry or acorn crop , they can't provide food for the bear ! Now they rely on other food sources such as baits , Even then the bear is no push over, simply because of him knowing we are there !
From coming out of hibernation till the time he goes back into hibernation , with the exception of the breeding season , a bears main goal is to get fat so he can hibernate again !
With this in mind , and what the cameras show me , and it's only my opion , I really don't think bear worry about moon phases !
I did bear proof my camers this year ! A man showed me how to use an electrical switch box, put the camera inside , cut some holes in it so camera would work ! The whole thing worked great , but was a pain in the back side to get pictures from the camera. So many screws to take out and put in every time ! But I have all my cameras ! bearman,
I asked our guide this year the same questions as we were hunting during a full moon. Our guide, like bearman, has over 30 years experience and a cumulative success rate of 90+%. I asked if the moon affected the bears feeding pattern? His answer was "not when he is baiting", it is his baiting that affects their feeding pattern not the moon phase. I think it makes perfect sense. Now on a non-baited hunt I have no clue as I didnt ask that question. He also said the only time they are affected by waether is during rain, as they will seldom come to bait due to both their smell and hearing senses being affected. I tend to put alot of weight into experience and success.
As I tried to explain earlier, I don't disagree with either of you gents. Your observations are what they are. So I'll put it another way, its not moon phases but the associated weather that often accompanies a moon phase that affects them. Full moon usually brings clear cold calm evenings. And that brings more caution. It doesn't affect a bears interest in a bait because they still have to eat but it brings more caution to the site. But I do disagree on the rain part. A day-long soft rain doesnt bother a bear but a downpour with blustery winds will stop all movement--just as it does with deer, moose, grouse or whatever. My last point is that we should never base our interpretations on what happens at one baitsite with one group of bears. You have to observe multiple sites with different family groups to get a handle on whats going on in their heads. And thats why I say they are unpredictable with no set rules of behaviour. As for whether you are a biologist or not, well I give more credence to a fur trapper who has the ability to interpret sign over a university educated biologist who gets his information from a book. We can agree to disagree but I dont think either of us is wrong.
Ken ! The way you just said it , I have to agree with you ! I agree on the rain part also ! But unless your shooting a rifle , I don't like to see guy's hunting , simply because of the rain washing away the blood ! A rifle hunter can and should either drop them or have them die with in sight ! I also agree with the trapper bit ! It's hard to fool a guy who spends so much time in the bush ! I think we have it right now ! bearman,
i hunted sept 1 to 7th it was the back side of the full moon and the bears were VERY active its only my 7th guided bear hunt but i always ask the outfitter about moon times ALL of them prefer to hunt baits on a dark moon. i have also noticed slow bear activity on full moon nights. (btw i killed 2 bears last week)
I have an opinion to offer (humbly). I agree with Ken, and I think I hunt near him (Sudbury Ontario area). I personally have taken 7 bears in 8 years. I have no use for a full moon. I avoid it like the plague when bear hunting as I do deer hunting. Regards from Canada. Canuck.