Bear bait questionContributors to this thread:
Mike Ukrainetz 14-May-18
When starting a new black bear bait in an area with substantial human presence is it a dumb idea to leave a piece of clothing I wore to bait in at the stand location? Not sure if my thinking is right, but in my experience at bait sites , big bears always seem to know I'm present when they come in to the bait. I was thinking that if I left my shirt , with my normal smell on it, the bears would get accustomed to that smell being at the stand. I have hunted bears in Maine , Saskatchewan and Alberta. I have helped bait Bunches of bear stands but have never hunted over a bait that only I have been to. I know that a bears nose is as good as or better than any critter in the bush. I am pretty sure I can't bait scent free enough to fool a bears nose so my thought is that if I just go about my business of baiting and leave the shirt in my tree when I leave ,the bear has to accept my smell being there whenever he comes in to eat. I tried it in Maine when my bait was getting hammered at night but i was getting skunked when I sat the stand. I killed a 6 1/2 foot board on the next sit.Dont know if it was a fluke. I know there's a lot of knowledgeable veteran bear hunters on this site and would like your input. Thanks in advance!
They know the difference between live human odor and old scent.
How often will you be baiting? 2-3 times a week lightly? Once a week really heavy?
Once a week for the first month of legal baiting. Distance from home makes any more often impossible. I plan to camp in my hunt area for the week before the opener and will bait stands daily with a smaller amount during that week. Also thought I might put cameras on any sites which are getting hit for the week prior to the start of hunting.
From: Mike Ukrainetz
I've always purposely left human scent, take a whiz, bare hands on the trees, at the bait to condition them to our presence in our Alberta farmland area, especially when we hunted out of tree stands. There is a pretty good human presence but not heavy baiting pressure. It worked well but I bet it would depend on your specific area, if lots of guys are hunting the same bears it might spook them off your bait? For us even having the same hunter at the bait site days in a row his sightings can increase I think as a result of the bears getting used to his particular smell.
Mike makes some good points and knows his stuff. I think it will depend a lot on the location and the bears you are hunting. What they are seeing on a normal day to day basis.
One of the first bear outfitters I talked with told me they would have me take an extra shirt along when they showed me to my stand site on the first day so I could leave the one I was wearing. Their explanation was that would help acclimate the bears hitting that site to my smell and they would be a little less wary as the week progressed. I don't know if it makes that much difference, but it did sound logical at the time.
BullBuster, my live human odor IS "old scent" :)
and you're right, and wild animal with a decent sniffer knows "he was just here" from "there he is" from "he was here 36 hours ago"
I'm guessing you're hoping to hunt in Michigan this year? Your bigger worry isn't bears smelling you. As you know, they smell you already. You should worry more about the dog hunters cause if you hunt public land and it looks good for bears to you, the hound guys know it too. Last year I thought I had it all figured out and had bears at my bait before season in the middle of the day. Thought I'd have the woods to myself too. Wrong. Hounds really can mess up your deal.
Did you have the first season hunt CJ ? Yes , my plan is to hunt in Michigans U.P. Newberry unit. I have a couple spots which I'm somewhat familiar with that are well away from vehicle access. I know the houndsmen tend to rig a couple hot nosed dogs and that makes a bait close to a road a ringer for striking a bear. The plan b is to place a bait close to the highway. No dog hunter I know would consider turning his dogs out near the high speed roads. I'm trying to cover my bets cause I'm burning a bunch of points to try to kill a nice bear in my home state without letting someone else do the real part of the hunt; picking the stand and doin the work.
My wife hunted with a guide who sprayed deep woods off at every baiting that way the hunter could bug spray
First lesson of baiting IMO... you can’t hide your scent from a bears nose..
I hung a camera in the middle of winter in January this year. Bears wake up in April and tear it down. Tells you how good their nose is to just walk by sniff it out and rip it down. First thing about a bear bait for me is trying to find a site where one side is inaccessible. (for the bear) Water or something. Then access from that side when the wind is right. I don't bear hunt much anymore, but that's a huge factor in choosing a location. Leave all the scent I can when baiting, and then when hunting approach from the unapproachable side from downwind. If there's a cliff, or a lake or a river or something you can back up against that would be key.
Yeah it was first season south of Traverse City and I had 15 points to get drawn. I'll be 70 plus years old before I get drawn again. I was back off the roads a good ways but not far from a creek. The hound guys will drop a guy off and couple dogs at crick going under a road and walk them out to the next road. Great way to find bears cause bear make cricks their highways if there is good cover too. Bears have great noses but them bear hounds ain't far behind.
I do not believe it is possible to sit 10-15 yards from a bears dinner and him not know you are sitting there. you see the one's that know and don't care. you don't see the one's that know and care. you are just not going to fool a bears nose at that distance. that said...........be still or the one's that don't care about the smell will care about movement.
To Bou's point, I've heard and read bears don't see well and I think that's crap. I think they see as well as we do. Some see better than others just like people do. And some just don't give a crap just like people. That's why I like hunting them better than any other game. They have their own personality like your crazy uncle, an old dog or the kid rides his bike through your lawn just because.
This is exactly the kind of input I was hoping for gents!! I haven't drawn the tag but should with the points I have so I'm getting pretty jacked up already! I love to trap and have since I was ten yrs old and running bear baits is just like setting traps for em. I like the bug spray tip and also the one from apauls about backing . I am well aware of the fact that there's no way around a bears nose and the fact that when they approach a bait they already know if you're there . As to the bad eyes thing, they see just fine but better in low light or dark. Just like deer, if it's bright out to us it's brighter to them . Have had many bears come to the site , stare holes through me , then either leave or go eat . Even had one pull the barrel around to the back side of the tree it was chained to so as to try to hide from me while he ate. They all know!! Based on what y'all have said so far I'm gonna try the shirt thing at at least one bait. CJ , sorry your hunt by TC got buggered up. That's a long time to invest in a tag to have it compromised by other people. Nice thing about the UP is the quiet period before and during the first week of hunting. Another thing is there won't be any dog hunters leading a dog along the drainage I plan to hunt. Too far and too nasty. I'm hoping to find a color phase bear whose rub I found a couple years back. Pretty rare for our turf. Next move is to put in for the tag then call the local C.O. and ask if they registered any blonde bears in the last two years from around there!