Contributors to this thread:
Bear baiting,tips an tricks
Just wandering what all you bear hunters tips and tricks were.
make the bait setup so the bear is facing straight away for the shot. do a search on "over the hip" shots, or otc
My only tip is this hunt them smart keeping in mind the wind currents and or actual stand placement. You definately want to stay downwind of the trails or bait, conceal the stand as much as possible and hunt the area smart. Don't be fooled by the concept of "easy hunting" over bait, to shoot a mature boar takes just as much effort and patience as shooting a mature whitetail buck. I keep my scent concealed to a min at all my baits, try to stay as odor free as possible.
here is a link I found for you to get started
good luck to you.... :)
Here is a tip: Don't lose any sleep over which way the wind is blowing! Virtually any bear that comes in and especially the big ones, are going to know that you are there anyway.
Better that you try and convince them that your presence is not a threat to them.
I do this by hosing down the bait site at each visit with whatever "flavor" of bug dope I am currently using. They get accustomed to smelling that bug dope, whether it is sprayed on the drum or sprayed on ME. Works for me; probably would work on southern bears too!
Here is a technique I like to use and I am sure there are others who might do the same. I just have never read about anyone else doing it. If you are baiting find an old large stump and hollow it out. (Idaho has many from logging.) Then make only a small hole at the bottom for bears to smell the bait but still have a hard time reaching in. Now here is the trick to it....
Pick a stump that is about five to six feet tall and some what wide. Even a big fat boar can and will climb to the top and pull the sticks and logs out you block the top of stump off with. This seems to be a natural thing I have found most bears will do to get at the bait. Because of this I cut places in the stump at the top where they can place there feet flat in a position that gives me a broadside size shot. So what you have is a bear higher up and off the ground and more level with you in your tree stand giving you a broadside shot. I have also found the stump keeps the bait fresher and I no longer use barrels. Plus you can use the same stump year after year.
I still do the regular things like hang a stink bag up to bring them in. I also like to put marshmallows on branches around the stump so I can tell if the stump has been hit from a distance. I make my stumps a glory hole for them by also pouring syrup and other such things on the stump at first to get them to come in and start to use the stump as a bait station. If you give this a try let me know how it turns out!
I have to agree with Pete. I think they will generally know you are there, no matter how much you try to work the wind to your advantage. Its a matter of convincing them that the human smell is just something they have to deal with if they want the food. Most of the bears I see approach from downwind of the bait, and often circle the site before coming in. They will smell you. Leaving an old sweaty shirt at the site, touching branches in the area, bug spray, etc. just lets them know that there is another set of smells at the site, that go along with the food in the barrel.
Dr. Ken Norberg talks a lot about this in his book about bear hunting and baiting.
Jay R, Pete and bullelk are 100% right, forget the wind just hunt !!!! Like shooting fish in a barrel, it's easy.
good luck to you !!!!
you will never beat the nose of a bear, best to learn that in the beginning. not fish in a barrel, just that the scent capabilities of a bear are way beyond anyone's ability to cover that scent. you might as well try to find a way to make yourself invisible too, but it ain't gonna happen, so use camo instead. the bears know what a bait is, they know human scent, so don't kid yourself on this one. just hunt smart, and know the body language of the bear so you know when the shot presents itself. look for adult boar sign and don't wate your time on stands that don't show good boar sign. if there is good sign, hunt it even if you don't see the boar, he is there. no one else left that sign. good luck
How do you hunt smart if scent doesn't matter? There are situations where bears do not circle downwind. If you are hunting in farm country it is quite easy to do. Or if you are by a lake or river.
There are exceptions to every rule. Hunters will continue to kill mature boars with out playing the wind. But those that do it year after year know that wind is crucial. I am talking about the guys who kill bears over 19" every year. You know who you are.
Your absoulutely right interlake, I can't understand how anyone thinks controlled scent isn't or shouldn't be a #1 factor in ANY big game animal they pursue. The one and only time a big boar will let his guard down is during the rut, and if you compare that to a mature whitetail buck you will see the simularities.
I never once said that anyone will beat a bears nose, but if your scent is eliminated to a dregree where the bear cannot distinguish the strength (fresh vs old) he may feel confortable that nobody is around and committ to the bait site.
Although Pete is true Alaskan-sourdough,woodsman and a gentleman besides, he's dead wrong on this one.
We had this discussion on another thread, but the mature old boars will not tolerate you being at a bait. Where I hunt them, to kill older bears you need to fool their nose and manage sent to the utmost. At Prince of Whales Island, it’s been my experience; you get one chance to kill an old mature boar. Mess it up and generally you will not see that same old boar at the same bait during daylight hours again. He'll come to the bait alright, but not when you are there.
You'll see plenty of youngsters around the bait, but I don't want to kill a youngster, I want to kill a booner and booner's don’t get that big until they get old.
One of my methods is to place my barrel around 30 yards from my stand and make sure the stand is downwind from the bait barrel. Have the area between the bait and the stand mostly open, a stream with a meadow on either side is perfect. That way the wind direction will generally be fairly consistent and steady in the same direction. When you hunt the bait, place a bucket of the most alluring bait at a distance you feel comfortable shooting the bear at. For me, that is around 20 yards. It works for me. I actually like Pete’s idea about using plenty of cover scent and leaving plenty of human scent at the bait barrel is good too. The bears do indeed get used to the human scent being there. But, there is a big difference between that lingering scent around the barrel and the bear getting a fresh snoot full of you when he comes in. He’ll know your there and he will not relax and give you a shot.
Man, I can feel the passion in everyone's posts! Best of luck to everyone this spring...Ryan
Want to concur with the comments on grizzlies and letting baits "get going good". I agree with these comments and have found the same thing to be true.
I've come to call letting my baits "get going good" "seasoning" them. I try to "season" a bait for 3 or 4 days after they've been hit hard before I hunt them. Sometimes you can’t do that because of limited time, but I think its best. I used to only have a week or ten days to hunt. After watching Big Dan kill so many bears, in my old age I've started scheduling 3 weeks to a month for my spring bear hunts.
I think there probably is something to bears acting differently in different places, but it’s just as easy to find a good place to set your stand up downwind as up wind.
Dang Bob, you've let the white secondary bucket trick out of the hat. My only concern when we did that was that a bear would grab the bucket and run off with it.
Good luck up there this year and please let me know how it goes one way or the other.
There's room if you’re interested. I'll be there from the 15th through the 11th of June. No one will be at your bait!!!!
Don't walk on the bear trails that are around your bait. They should not be touched until you start tracking your bear. Use one trail in and the same one out that is it. I like to make noise when I bait and I also like to set my stands before I set the bait or at least have my trees picked out first. I also spray some berry spray around my bait everytime I rebait. Last thing, dig a hole or a big rock out and dump oil in there every time you bait. About a quart each time. That way there is always something there for them to eat. Last one, if using a log or wood, don't put oil in or on it, they bears will rip it up on you and you will have to get a new one.
1. Make up some NASTY stink baits. 2. Fly-in to a good-sized lake (preferably with good fishing)that has never been hunted in northern Canada. 3. Hang the stinky 15' high in a limbless tree (where wind currents will disperse it far and wide) adjacent to a creek or river lined with "generational" bear trails. 4. Put out some popcorn and fryer grease and start hunting immediately or wait until the next day if you'd rather go fishing. 5. Kill a big fearless bear. Nothin' to it - easy!
This is my take on the bear bait thing. The bears know that the bait isn't natural! I look at baiting as conditioning. Here's what I try to do.... 1. bait the same time every day! When you're at the bait sight, empty your pail and bang on the bucket...If you're set up in good bear country the bears will be close enough to hear. I agree with pete on the bug spray too. If you're going to use on the hunt, then condition them too it. In MN we have aprox. 14 days of baiting and thats a good stretch of conditioning / baiting. On the day of the hunt do as you normally would, but have a second person drop you off and make all the usual exit noise. I try to stay as clean and scent free as possible, but don't care about wind direction. 2. Don't bait with too much bait. You want to create competion between the bears in the area...you want bears to try to beat each other to the bait. 3. use good bait....In my opinion, the sweeter the better! I dig a 5 gallon hole, cover with logs, have some sort of backing to keep the bears from feeding facing head on. When bears come in and feed, they have to stick their head in the hole and/or dig the bait out. The bears know when you're there! The trick is too fool them into thinking you're not there, when you really are. Alot of the time, success depends on berry and nut crops....if their good, bear hunting gets a little tougher, however, bait selection and location can make it a little easier even with good berry crops.
What is the better time of day to hunt. Is AM werth the time or the 3 hr's befor dark,midday ??
Morning hunts have been good for me, seems like the big bears often move mid-morning.
Mike Ukrainetz's Link
i don't have the secret or the answers, guess i'm just lucky. never once in 20 years have i ever made an effort to cover my scent on a bear bait. killed half dozen bears over 18", and some smaller ones in the beginning years. maybe i'm wrong, but whatever i'm doing wrong has been working very well. alot of it has to do with the hunting pressure as well. if your bears are over hunted and running at the smell of humans, then you may need to be concerned about scent. if you are hunting bears that are not overhunted or pressured, its not as important. the bait, the setup, and the number of years the bait has been there i think has alot to do with it. do whatever works best for you............
I'm seriously not sure how I would put the wind in the hunter's favor? All of our baits are in the middle of thick trees, any cautious bear simply circles around the bait to smell the hunter. I have tried putting baits near a downwind opening so the bear would have to walk in the open to smell the hunter but all it did was greatly slow the activity around the bait. They didn't like being near the opening. We have tried every kind of setup imaginable and the best baits are in fairly thick trees where the terrain is fairly flat for 100 yds around the bait, a place where it is easy for a bear to circle the bait and check things out before he comes in.
As an outfitter who kills 20+ bears a year and plenty of big old ones I would have to agree with pete in fairbanks, let the bears get use to human scent and bug dope and forget the wind. I've guided in both pressured farmland areas and remote places and found the same thing in both.
The best tip or trick is to hunt where there are plenty of bears, the more old, big ones the better and spend lots of time on stand. The less hunting pressure the better.
all the bears know you are there.
do you really think you can set up within 15 yards of a food source in cover so dense you can't see 25 yards and a bear, who can scent things from a mile or more away is not going to know you are there? Is not circling out of sight for an hour or more unbeknownst to us who would never hear, see, or smell him? NO WAY.
the bears you see are the bears who don't care. period. you can make them a LITTLE more at ease, MAYBE, by being still and hidden and quiet, but that will only encourage them to tolerate your presence not overlook it.
so in the end you'll see the one's that don't care and you can't do a darn thing about the one's that do care at bowhunting ranges.
well put boubound!
I really think that older boars simply roam more and are less predictable as to when they will show up at a bait. Our trail camera use seems to show this, they show up at all times of the day or night and often disappear for days at a time, even when we aren't hunting the bait. We also rarely ever get big male bears that go nocturnal like some hunters seem to get. I've actually had that happen more often with big old sows, maybe ones with cubs that they've treed and come in on their own?
We've definetely had big boars come in and see the hunter sitting there and then turn around and leave, could have killed him with a rifle but not a bow. I just think that if you really did have a great setup where a bear could not smell you, if he was smart, cautious, suspicious he would just look in the tree where you are sitting? I mean they are used to looking up in the trees for other bears right and if they have been to the bait before they have already smelled where your stand is, where you climbed the tree? I think they know you are there they just choose to ignore you or have discounted you as a threat.
We'll be running 30 trail cameras this year so we should learn even more this spring, very exciting stuff!
I know the best hunting over bait is probably at night but is it possible to somehow make a good morning set? I'm limited on my time this Fall to hunt and would like to have a good bait set for a morning sit as well as an evening sit.
Well, I don’t set up within 15 yards and, yes, I kill big bears almost every year that don’t know I'm there. You have to use some imagination and thought on how you set up a bait station.
I guess the proof is in the pudding, I'll use my set up placed downwind this spring and "guidermd" can hunt his setup placed upwind. We'll see who kills the bigger bear.
We can call it the "upwind - downwind" challenge. I'll wager I kill a bigger bear. Just a friendly wager between friends, but don’t even bother reporting anything less than 19 1/2 inches. Man, I’m getting anxious to get down to the cabin and get started on this one. I love this stuff. This will be my 13th bear over 19 1/2 inches and 13 is my lucky number!!! I may even kill two of them just to make a point.
At the risk of sounding whiney, your challenge would be more equitable if both participants were hunting in the same general region!
My "I don't care which way the wind is blowing" theory has produced a fair number of 19" + bears here in the Interior. But I would guess that our bears are generally smaller than where you hunt. Heck, they are in the den from Sept to early May.
Exercising some scent control discipline and being cognizant of wind direction obviously can't hurt, but I still don't think you can fool a bear's nose.
(Besides, my stand setups produce a Tiffany now and then....!)
Bear Track's Link
I'd trade you a southeast bear hunt for a ride with Tiffany!!! Can you arrange that???
Pete, you said it, I didn't; "I still don't think you can fool a bear's nose" that’s exactly why I set up on the downwind side and I don't crowd the bait.
Likewise, I find a place where the bears are unlikely to travel close, downwind of me. Since we are allowed two baits, I've developed my two spots over many years. My east side bait is better and has been more productive for big bears than my west side bait. This is because its easier for the big bears to catch my wind on the west side.
I actually think the west side spot is better regarding number of bears and being in a better bear travel route. However, the way the wind swirls at the head of the particular bay I’m in it allows bears to wind me on occasion. Last year I had three sows in there at the same time on several occasions. The last week of May and the first week of June you know there was a big boar following those gals around (the Tiffany affect if you will!!!). Even though I had trail camera photos of a good boar, I never did see him at the bait. I'm moving that ladder stand farther away, closer to the stream, this year.
I set my bait sites up wind of an opening or water way of some kind. Bears usually will scent check a site before entering. The water way and open area prevents this by giving them a decission to make; Do I expose myself to scent check this bait, or do I sneak in quietly to see if the coast is clear. If there's one thing I've learned over 4 decades of hunting and guiding, big bears and big bucks do not like to expose themselves.
Only hunt that bait when the wind is to your advantage and stack the odds in your favor.
Ditto what Beartrack said. That there is a good Tip!
My remark about not being able to fool the bear's nose was to make MY point, not yours!! :)
I would still contend that if you are within bow range of your bait, even being downwind isn't going to help much. As soon as the wind drops off, your scent pool is going to include the area of the bait.
I am not arguing with your obvious sucess. It can't hurt to be downwind of the bait, but in my experience it just really doesn't help much.
Until we find a way to interview bears, or know "how many didn't come in," I don't think anyone is going to win the debate.
Have a great Spring.
You have something there my friend.
I'll never know if me trying to stay down wind of my bait sites has worked or not. I've been trying to kill a 21 inch bear for nearly 15 years and haven’t been able to "get-er-done".
I wonder if I try to setup upwind of my baits I'll have better luck?
Best of luck to all, about 3 weeks before I can try for that 21 incher again this year. I still plan on setting up downwind and taking my chances that the big old, fat headed boar will avoid walking out in the open meadow and enter the bait site from the thick rainforest.
My plan is just to not get ate up by mosquitos and see what happens after that.
I have broken 20", but not 21. I doubt that I will here in the Interior.
And as you are probably thinking: He never will if he doesn't start taking my advice on wind direction! :)
Thanks for all the opinions. We have heard from guys from Alaska, across all of Canada and even a few State-side bear guys. Lot's of fun following the different seasons here on Bowsite! I think there are a lot of bears in their last few weeks before "arrow time"!! Are you ready?? Forest Bows got the Bear photo thread going so let's make it grow large with many trophies! Don't guide the guide!! Good luck and safe hunt! Charlie
Charlie's right...lot's of good info. and opinions here! I know what's it's like striving for that 21" mark. Just remember that most 20"ers are just as mature and smart as the 21"er....only difference is genetics. I've been fortunate enough to shoot a few booners and can say that some of the ones shy of 21 were tougher to kill than the bigger ones. If it's worth anything here....I hunt with the wind in my favor. Best of luck to all this spring....Ryan
If you want a 21 incher, make sure you are hunting where there are 21 inch bears!
There are a few killed every year where I hunt and I know for certain I've missed at least one.
Big Dan had someone at his camp that killed it just after I left one year. It was the young man's first bear ever. Dan had left him at the boat launch and told him to wait till he got back. While the young guy was waiting he saw MY bear come out on the beech so he walked over and killed it, Booner!!!
I had stalked that same bear three times on the same beech, got a shot and missed him the third stock, dog-gone-it. Man we have had some fun down there.
If he is hungry he will eat and a bear that will eat your trash out of your yard is certain to smell you so I have to say it dont matter with all bears
That may be true and probably is if you’re hunting urban bears. If that is the case, set your tree stand up on the neighbor's flowering fruit tree and go for it. I feel sorry for you.
Personally, I enjoy hunting some pretty remote areas where, when a bear winds you, he's gone. If you never expect to hunt anywhere but an urban setting upwind versus downwind probably isn't an issue for you. When I'm sitting in my tree stand watching Eagles, Sitka Blacktail Deer, Martin, Mink, Wolves, Geese, Ducks, maybe a Whale once in a while and of course Bears, I really feel sorry for those guys.
I know that Thermocels haven't been around a real long time, but could it be possible that they're covering human scent?
thanks for the learning lesson blacktail, good luck with your "future" efforts with a booner. not interested in wages on hunting, never was.....i'm sure we'll hear you pounding your chest when it happens for ya, don't give up! how would anyone ever know if a bear winded you if the bear took off before exposing himself? the mind can get a little bored while sitting on stand ya know!! creativity has been known to take over on those long hours on stand:) good luck. well said bou, that's about exactly how it really happens in the woods on a bait. amazing, the bear can find the bait from a mile away, but can't smell the donut toting nimrod who is sitting 15 yards away..........amazing. the mind usually starts getting real creative after wednesday evening. of course, all my bears never smelled me because i always ask before i draw back just to be certain :^P
You’re welcome man. Just trying to be helpful and offer a friendly wager to a fellow accomplished bow hunter with a different opinion. However, it doesn’t sound like you're being a very receptive or friendly comrade of the bow.
Perhaps we both are a bit guilty of pounding on the chest. If you go back and check this thread I think you'll find it was you, not me, who first offered their opinion on what constitutes a bear baiting tip. I followed up with what has worked for me. It just happens to be different than your experiences and opinion. Not that staying downwind is much of a secret with accomplished bow hunters. I will indeed let you know when I kill that Booner; it’s one of my goals and I've never been ashamed of my successes with life’s goals! Of course, I know I’m guilty of having had a few successes to be proud of.
Best of luck to you and I hope you kill a Booner before I do. Please let us (me) know when you do, I’d even be willing to help you in that regard if you’re not too proud and could get yourself to POW Island. Rick, this is an honest offer, lets be friends.
I'm not nearly as experienced as most who've posted but in looking back, I agree with several - position your bait/stand for the optimum shot. The wind is important but any bear I've shot or passed on absolutely knew I was there whether I was hunting on the ground or from a tree.
Blacktail Bob, I bet you could get my buddy Blake down here in Texas to make a wager with you on who gets the bigger Bear but I wouldn't bet the farm. He has that BAL syndrome working pretty good for himself lately. Blind Ass Luck
I've heard he is a lucky SOB. I think he's either got a lot of BAL or he sets up downwind of his bait site. One or the other.
I think I've heard he has someone helping him kill all those bears and his Sitka Blacktails too. You know how Blake kills all those bears of his right?
You tell him two things for me; fist, I'll take that wager; and second, I think he's going to have holes in his hip boots when he puts them on.
Good tips on bear baiting at the attached link.
I know he is a betting man cause I am buying his lunch today due to a bet I lost to him, as much as I hate to admit. I did not know he wore hip boots, I figured he just wore his croc sandals hunting like a real man would do. Good Luck on the upcoming hunt.
I try to leave as much of my own scent at the bait everytime I rebait it. Of course you try to hunt it on a good wind, but if it swirls I feel conditioning them to your scent is very important. More times than not that bear has sat out of sight long enough to satisfy himself that you are not still around. If you bait on a regular basis and leave scent he just assumes it is the normal routine and in he comes.
If I hunt the same day I bait I change nothing about baiting and leave like normal. I then change into clean (and aired out) hunting clothes and sneak back in. I try to bait midday only and sit until dark. I killed a booner here in Michigan last season doing it this way. I heard the bear 30 minutes before he showed at the bait and the wind had swirled a handful of times so I know he got a whiff or two. He measured 21.5 and dressed 460.
Ryan aka: mbbowhunter says it like it is boyz, he has the resume to prove it.
I guess everyone has their "opinions" and that is great, the only opinion untouched yet is if anyone pee's around their bait.....I think it throws a dominance challenge to the biiger bears in the area !!! LOL
have a good one fellas !!!!! :)
i pee out of my bear stands probably 4 or 5 times each evening. i also use walmart bags for taking care of serious business beyond peeing. just pull the handles up over your hips, squat carefully in your stand, and use the handles to tie a fancy knot when finished. my 9 year old daughter peed out of her stand the night i killed this one. everytime she tried climbing down to pee, another bear would come in......finally she just dropped and peed on her loggy stand. about an hour later she video taped this bear at 8 yards taking a snuffer over his hip and out his trachea, died within 35 yards on film. do whatever works best for ya, save the bets and wagers for the super bowl, not hunting.
Forget all the bear stuff...if you're peeing 4-5 times an evening you need to see a doctor! And don't worry about "over the hip and out his trachea"....we all make bad shots!
I'm not even gonna touch the Walmart bag trick!!
back in my skoal days, i would empty my lip each hour at the base of the tree. before long evry bear that showed up would walk right to the dip and have a taste. i planted it between theirs ears on numerous occassions, never bothered one of them. 3 of my biggest bears spent several minutes at the base of my tree sniffing before their season ended. always double up on the walmart bag, saves on alot of unexpected maintenance.
pass the banjo.....!!!
I didn't think people still did the questionable OTH shots anymore.... :(
Whole oats and molasses, plus a lot of spoiled fruit from the local helping hand, church assistance groups. Apples are easy to get if they are spoiling.
Also used liquid anise on a dip, scent whick etc. to lay hub trails back to the bait station, stand.
I just read this thread and there is some good input up for discussion. Without writing a whole article on the subject I wanted to add some thoughts I didn't see covered above. I've got some personal opinions on stand locations that would require a lot of details. Maybe I'll work those in later if I can. As far as "tips", I like to buy a pound of bacon to take into an established bait site. Just buy the cheapest brand you can find. Cut the package in half giving you a couple dozen shorter strips of bacon. Then take each shorter piece and stretch it out by hand elongating them. Take each strip and wing them up into nearby tree tops around your primary bait station. The aroma of the bacon will carry better in the wind when elevated. Incoming bears will spend a lot of time trying to retrieve every strip. Equally important to the extra treats for the bear and scent dispersal is the fact the elevated bacon strips will also attract ravens. The squawking and carrying on from the ravens will audibly attract bears from a long ways too. Another trick is to dump a can of tuna fish packed in oil around in front of the bait barrel. Or you can use bacon grease. The idea is for the feeding bear to step in the oil/grease, then after he leaves he will track the scent a long ways out in his departure. When other bears cut his scent trail they will back-track his scent to the bait site and you will get multiple bears to work with. BW
The best way I know is to find some apple trees bear are feeding under and sneak in with either a fawn bleat or predator call. Prepare to get the crap scared out of you if bear are in hearing. Some rush in while others sneak in without a sound.
The bear died in a beaver pond.
The bear died in a beaver pond.
All good information here. I enjoyed reading and all the different views on scent and wind direction. I don't pay much attention to the wind myself. I just returned from a bear hunt in Northern Ontario with a good friend of mine that's our local p&y, b&c measure. Do to our arrival on Saturday and Canada observing Memorial Day last Monday we were cut short on hunt time. We put out three baits in areas I had baited before they stopped the Spring bear season. Baits were hit the first day. Our trail cameras showed we had five different bears hitting the baits. We used dog food seasoned with liquid smoke. Raspberry Jello sprinkled around and anise oil for scent. I am surprised that no one on this site mentioned peanut butter. It's a great snack and amusing to watch the bears try to get it off the roof of their mouth. We couldn't hunt until we got my partners license on Tuesday. He killed his first bear ever on Wednesday afternoon. Not a poper but he was happy with it.