Contributors to this thread:
First Bowsiter to Ever Draw This Tag
To my knowledge, I am the first bowsiter to ever draw a Missouri Black Bear tag. Last year was Missouri’s first ever Black Bear season. With 400 tags in circulation, 12 bears were harvested, and to my knowledge all 12 were rifle kills.
This year there were over 58,000 applicants, with 400 tags drawn once again. The unit I drew accounts for 200 of those tags, and accounted for 9 of the 12 bears harvested last year.
It will take a lot of scouting, and just a touch of luck to pull it off, as the season is any weapon, has a quota of 20 bears, is just over 1 week long, and there is no baiting allowed.
I’m going to stick to a bow, in hopes of being the first Missourian in the modern season to arrow a black bear. I have a couple private land leads, and thousands of acres of National Forest land within my unit. Hopefully I am able to post a write-up, complete with a picture grinning behind a big bear, in late October!
Congrats and good luck.
Florida did something similar a while back for just one time and drew the ire of the anti-hunting crowd. The tags for this hunt were OTC and $100 as I recall. The small quota was reached in a day or so and the hunt was shut down. A lot of folks ate the $100 tag without even getting to hunt and weren't too happy.
As a MO LO I will be watching closely. Good luck!
Sweet Chase, very cool! Enjoy the ride and keep us updated.
Best of luck! Keep us posted!
JL x2 I killed one but a buddy from out of State took vacation and bought all the NR stuff and they closed the season on him
does Missouri allow baiting? Florida didnt I shot mine under a persimmon tree
Congrats on drawing the tag. There’s a pretty high probability that, if you’re successful, you’ll be the state record archery bear hunter, too!
Thanks all, they do not allow baiting, Mike.
If I can pattern some on private, I’m going to attempt to set up on popular travel corridors and hunt them like I would whitetails. If I can’t locate any on private then the plan is to cover as much ground as possible with a predator call, no electric calls allowed, so gonna practice up on my mouth calling skills.
T-Roy, I would also have the state record for the smallest archery killed bear as well ;)
Should be an interesting hunt regardless, shooting one with a bow after calling it in with a mouth call would definitely increase the pucker factor a little bit. I think every other tag holder will be sitting in a tree, so it’ll either be a total bust or exactly what I need to do.
Congrats on the tag. Sounds like an exciting proposition, and a rare opportunity. Enjoy every minute and make some great memories. You could be the state record archery bear holder soon enough!
Congrats on winning a scarce tag and good luck on your hunt !
Jeez, we have bears out the wazoo here in Virginia, even in neighborhoods. Most of my chances with a bow was the always the "I needed one more step" type. Suggest hunting the white oaks if they're producing. They also like hickory nuts and eat them like popcorn. Often, they will follow the deer trails.
Sweet- good luck! We'll be watching!
Congrats on your drawing. Make history !!
Can you shoot a deer or two and hunt the guy pile?
Hickory trees if there’s some will be a major ticket if they produce! In PA every bear we see is when we’re sitting above the hickory trees. I know the eat other stuff but they lounge under those roll around and eat every damn nut in PA.
Congrats on the tag,and good luck on the quest. Can’t wait to here a follow up story.
Congratulations! That’s how I would want to hunt a bear. I wish you the best.
Congrats! Almost killed a 6 footer with an axe last night but I came up a shade short on my swing. Hope you have better luck
Congrats and best of luck. Find oak trees,cornfields of sunflower fields if you grow them there?
Thanks a ton, guys. Especially those who have chimed in from Appalachia, as the Ozarks are very similar in terrain and food availability for the bears; I will take all the advice I can get!
We are allowed to bait so long as the bait is removed 10 days prior to season starting. On private land, I will definitely be baiting in front of a trail camera in order to locate bears, I will run some cameras in the Mark Twain National Forest too, but I am gonna be way back in the boonies to prevent other hunters from finding my sites, I know some people who live bordering the Forest and will probably use their land as an access point in order to get to untouched areas of the NF land.
Those who have experience with Appalachian black bears, and those who have bear experience in general, what would you recommend for bait on private land, and then what would you recommend carrying into the NF for bait (I will have to refresh on the NF Regs and see if baiting is even legal there for trail cam’s sake). Thanks to Uncle Sam, I am very comfortable packing up to 100 pounds of bait in at a time, so long as I can fit it in a pack.
I was beyond stoked for this tag before, but y’all’s feedback has put me over the moon. I’ll try my damnedest to have a bowsiter pop the MO Archery Bear cherry
Good luck! I did NOT draw either bear or elk in Missouri. I think I’m like 0-45 in draw hunts this year. Kinda depressing actually. I have no western hunt scheduled this year for the first time since 2009.
My uncle hunted this tag last year. Very tough hunt but there were a couple guys who shot bears on private. They are around. Best of luck!
A buddy dumped a couple bags of Purple Crush deer attractant to get buck pics. He ended up with hundreds of bear pics. One group of pics had six bears in it at once! Took weeks for them to stop coming. They also love a grain mixture we call Cob. It's rolled oats, corn and barley with a bit of molasses on it.
I am of zero help, but best of luck! Love spending time down in that Eminence area, and kayaking the Current River each summer.
Adam you can’t leave everyone hanging about almost killing a 6 footer with an axe…..I feel that deserves its own story ha
Congratulations and best of luck.
That's awesome! Black bear with a bow is a real accomplishment anywhere
Clay over at Bear Hunting Magazine who headquarters in Arkansas may be interested in this for several reasons....never know, it might be worth contacting him.
Central Mass. this morning.
Congratulations on the tag.. Put either a refrigerator or a garbage can at the edge of a cornfield. My hunting cabin in Virginia has been broken into twice by bears. The fridge take the brunt of the damage even with nothing in it. I have seen bears eating acorns just like a deer. Persimmons are candy to them. In eastern NC I have seen them wear standing corn out. In NC years ago chocolate was used to bait them
NCHunter, that’s another unique idea. MO defines bait as “food products used to attract wildlife” and has no restrictions on scents or garbage cans (as long as they’re empty)
Anise scent is a strong attractant as is strong fishy odor. Sardines are my favorite tree stand snack. I like the ones in oil but I pour it off before I eat them.
Whatever you do, don't pour the sardine oil on the ground near your stand then accidentally walk in it on the way out. You'll track scent to the stand and very possibly have bears checking the area for several days. Bears are scary ;)
Put anise oil with your bait then after the bait is gone use a bear bomb when hunting it's anise scent
Another wrench in the plan is that since the majority of ground I can hunt is in a “CWD Zone” I can’t use grain, mineral, or salts.
Any ideas for bear bait that doesn’t fall into those categories? I was planning on talking to a few of the bakeries around and talking to them about getting old pastries, and maybe fish carcasses.
I do love the fish scent idea, and if I do manage to get some land to run baits on I will definitely implement that plan
Google Cam Hanes Bear Crack burn.
One of the long gone guide's here had a great trick for grizzlies in the mountains. When the thermals were going up the mountain side or the right direction in a valley, he'd build a fire and throw on a piece of moose hide with honey and bacon grease. Or simply pour bacon grease on some punky wood and burn it. Baiting was always illegal here, so he could claim to just be burning garbage.
Anise, Drag rag dipped in melted grease of any kind, Pour melted grease in the spot you want to "shoot". Long ago I kept rough fish (Carp, succors, in a plastic bag in the sun & let the liquid drop into a jar under it. THAT will make you plain sick, vomit & take the paint off of anything BUT the Bears LOVE to roll in it when soaked into the ground.. Speaking from experience & it worked on this guy years ago Doing it myself. Do the liquid stuff when you pull the bait pile. I used Carp/guts also on my bait when allowed & the liquid seeps into the ground & smell stays. IF they SMELL it, they will come.. I never did but others I know added pop corn around their bait. Bears eat & cnnot carrty it off. IF you bait when legal, use small pieces. Big stuff, they carry off & eat someplace else.. Yes, I have hauled many a bait bucket & learned the hard way on my own.. Good Luck. WHEN is the season? If a fresh rain I would drive sand/dirt roads looking for tracks in areas I did not know. Worked several times to locate one. In the spring when the breeding season is on a boar may travel a large area & may not come back to that area for a week. In the fall, I think they stay in the general area they will hibernate. So, find a track/trail & that should be where to start. Enjoy. I've only ever killed 2 & they were both 19" chers. I have had many others within easy bow range but passed due to size . I've also had a couple hair raising experiences with them. I've baited for a few bowhunting friends long ago (was legal to do) & 1 scored a 20" with the others getting nice adult bears. Again, enjoy the adventure.
John, an absolute wealth of info there. The season in October 17th - 26th or until quota is reached (they didn’t even reach half of the quota last season)
I will talk to some bowfishing buddies about keeping their rough fish, and now have an excuse to eat bacon by the pound in order to keep the grease. Since scents are legal, I plan on baiting with “smelly” stuff, and then pull the baits october 17th to keep it legal, then on opening day douse the area in scent to bring them back in assuming I can pattern them between now and season’s start
Check with restaurants. They will be glad to give you grease. I was lucky & got throw away fish stuff from a commercial fisherman (See if any close to you). On another note, I've watched at least 20 Bears come into a bait site while I was there. I truly believe "every" Bear knows you are there. Good luck. It's quite a rush when you see that 1st Bear getting close to you..
As far as scents go…. You won’t find many things stronger than Knock Out or Magnum Marten. Heck of a lot easier too…
Congrats on the draw! Hope you can entertain us with a great bear kill recap this fall.
I haven't been this excited about a hunt in years. PLEASE keep this thread updated.
Thanks so much, you guys. I emailed the conservation department attempting to get in touch with the bear biologist to inquire to if any bears were taken with a bow last year, with only 12 bears statewide, I doubt any were bow killed, but I will let y’all know as soon as I find out in order to not mislead you guys and this thread.
I’m an absolute sponge on all of your recommendations, and have a lead on 300 acres of private that has had bears on it in the past. It’s owned by a mid-80s year old that still farms it all by himself, so I’m gonna try to do an exchange of labor in order to throw some baits out on his place and hopefully pattern some bears for October. I’ll be mixing up bear crack, dumping fish juice, and will get some of that trap line lure as well.
If the private falls through or the bears aren’t showing up, I found a tucked away conservation area right on the border that is outside the town where the largest bear struck by a car in Missouri a couple years ago (600 pounder). After viewing a few of the MO Bear Facebook groups, it seems like the Mark Twain NF gets absolutely hammered with pressure, so I will keep that as a last ditch effort unless I can find some private access to a secluded part of the forest.
Y’all are awesome, and hopefully I can post some trail cam pictures here soon. I look forward to keeping you guys updated!
Bears tend to be creatures of habit, approaching areas along the same trails at about the same times. They'll often approach a potential food source and hang out downwind in heavy cover for several minutes to a couple hours before coming in. Trail cams are a good tool (expect them to mess with the cam itself and possibly damage it) but don't be surprised if you get a picture or two then some time passes and several more pics of the same bear . He didn't leave he came in, moved off to scope things out then came back. Same thing if a bear comes in and doesn't present a shot, sit tight he'll come back
Don’t be afraid to blow a predator call…
Locked down 240 acres of private to bait and trail camera tonight! Hopefully will be posting trail cam pics in a couple weeks, historically there have been bears on this property every October. Fingers crossed!
Has anyone used a 'fawn bleat' call for bears?
I've called in a number of bears with a fawn bleat and with calf moose calls. We have so many bears, it's usually a case of spot them then call and see if they come in close. The odd one will run in, quite a few will wander over and over half couldn't care less. Works best in the spring, here in northern BC anyway. It would be dependent on food abundance. The bears here key on moose calves and fawns in late May, early June. Biologist in northern BC estimate that bears kill between forty to sixty percent of the moose calves in their first six weeks of life.
Bears will habitually recheck any place they have found good food in the past. I've never baited, but I know how hard it is to 'un-train" a bear from a food source.
I firmly believe bear fawn predation is becoming a problem here. I'm seeing quite a few healthy does with no young following them around. (And yeah, we have enough bucks to get 'er done.)
"In the mid-1970s, the Massachusetts black bear population was estimated at under 100 individuals. Today, the population is estimated to be more than 4,500."
Congratulations on drawing! My dad drew a tag as well. He drew zone 1.
He’s in the right zone, Z B! 8 out of the 12 bears last year were killed in zone 1, that’s the zone I drew also
Just got an email back from MDC’s Bear Biologist, confirmed that no bears were harvested with archery equipment last year!
Have yet to get down to the private land I locked down to put up cameras, waiting on the land owner to want to go down there as well. Trying not to be too pushy on pushing him down there, but I am chomping at the bit
I have a feeling that the landowner will appreciate and possibly share your enthusiasm and excitement if you communicate it as well as you have here.
Got the call today that my connection was gonna be down at his dad’s farm! Didn’t have time to make “bear crack” but ran to Walmart to get the basic ingredients without cooking it. Substituted Hawaiian Punch instead of jello to add a berry scent
Here’s what it looked like in the barrel!
And the “after” picture of the bait site hanging full!
Your gonna "over_sugar it!. Bear like that for a bit but will taper off. Get grains/nuts.
FWIW....You can get some good bear bait fixins at the dollar store.
Thanks for the tip, Bearman! I had no idea as to what ratio of sweets/dog food was best. I’m going back out there in 2 weeks and will bring a less-sweet mix out with me!
I found the Cam Hanes Bear Crack Recipe:
"marshmallows, powdered jell-o mix, syrup and granular sugar. fill up a decent size pan half way with marshmallows. dump in half the jell-o and add a quart of syrup and a pound of sugar. bring to boil. dump the liquid on dog food."
If anyone has more to add here, feel free to chime-in, please.
I have firsthand and intimate experience being on the receiving end of using predator calls in northern BC for bears. It was enormous fun and constant, hair raising action. With the lack of pressure in your area, it might just work!
Been bearhunting hard since about 1986.
The best smells in the world aint gonna hold bear. . There better be substance and good stuff there to keep them coming back. Sweets alone ain't gonna do it. Young bear maybe. Dog food is a good thing to start with but will lose appeal fast usually. My 2 cents worth.
my 2 cents
get as close to the Arkansas line as you can - we have bears, a good number of them ... and its been a very dry summer. Find a holler with water/acorns .... you'll have a good chance to find bears
This is the area I’m hunting. The Purple spots are where guys that deer hunt have had bears on camera, the blue lines are creeks (the one marked with a bear is a spring that has never been dry, so guaranteed water) and the orange dot is where my bait barrel and camera are. Next time I go down there (In ten days) I will try a mix of grain and dog food, with a few donuts mixed in. The property to the south of this is where MDC has trapped and tagged bears in the past using donuts as bait. Now it’s owned by a guy from Arizona who hasn’t even set foot on the place since he bought it a few years ago. It is your typical Ozark mountain landscape with big timber and rolling hills. I’m excited to pull the camera here in a few weeks and will add more grain and less sweets to the bait site. I do want a memorable smell to the bait so will probably continue the berry Hawaiian Punch around the bait and might add some fish smell and fish carcasses to the bait site as well.
The outfitter I've gone to in Canada uses tons of old donuts and pastries along with any old candy he can get. He will also supplement with fish carcasses and larger butcher shop/packing plant scraps. I sat a couple of sites this year that had cow leg pieces near the pastry barrel for added scent.
"Marking in" on this one. Still following excitedly
Order some Knock-out from James Valley Scents. You won’t find a better long call scent.
some great ideas on here. one point to consider, 1) don't make your site too "busy" an older wiser animal might become suspicious 2) Don't change things up too much right before go time. 3) A bear WILL know you've been there. Best nose in the woods. "Be there" as often as you can so he starts to become comfortable with your scent.
I'll quit after this post. NO MATER WHATscent you use, there better be good stuff for them to eat! And plenty of it. Never put fish on a bait in warm weather!
Bearman, please don't quit. Stay for the journey! We value your experience and input.
Which zone did you draw BoggsBowhunts?
Like Bearman said don’t use fish unless u want to kill your bait.
Best zone to draw in my opinion. Can I ask what counties you are planning to hunt? You can PM me if you want. I live near Hwy 60 east of Springfield and they have seen them to the north of me in the zone. More to the east near Sparta, it's almost a daily thing according to some people I have visited with.
There’s bears in them woods!!!
Not sure why the pics aren’t cooperating, I’m trying here!
I’m assuming a very young bear, I’m guessing his weight at exactly “enough” pounds! Looks like he just found the site a couple of days ago, and still almost two months left until I have to pull the bait ten days before season, hopefully some other bears can find it before season rolls around as well
That looks like a very young bear. But that bear will be walking around the woods leaving a scent trail.
One thing I suggest is blocking to guide the bear into a broadside shot angle. We use logs and it helps put them in the right spot for the shot.
Since you have to pull the bait prior to hunting, I would contact the company out of Alaska for some scents!!! (I have no connection with the company other than I use their stuff). Not sure if the scents are legal for you but it might keep them intrested enough to swing by the old bait to see if you have added more.
Yep, I plan to scent heavily during season and will get the “knock-out” scent before I bait again two weeks from now to hopefully get them conditioned to connect the scent with a full bait barrel
Checked cameras again and refilled the site. After not running cameras for four years I learned a valuable lesson… the camera has to be turned on to take pictures…. But the barrel was empty and there was bear scat around the site. Going to recheck cameras and scout another property on the southern border I have recently gained access to (private is around 500 acres, with another 500 acres of landlocked National Forest Land bordering it) on Labor Day. Bear with me folks (pun intended) it’s been a while since I’ve scouted anything, haven’t ran cameras since 2018.
That bear is a young bear. I'm confident you will see more and older bears as they eat constantly in the fall.
That’s the hope, RT. The barrel was completely empty (had filled it with 50 pounds of dog food and two five gallon buckets of old donuts) and I don’t think coons ate all of it. My little pup came running up to me proudly holding something, turned out to be what I believed to be a bear pie. Had some dog food in it and definitely wasn’t a coon, I’m confident bears hit it, just a matter of if it was just this bear or if he brought dad along…
Snapped a pic before making him drop it
For sure I would heed Bearman's advice (stay locked in on this thread Bearman - keep posting your info).
Also, I would treat the advice of Alexis like "EF Hutten".