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Change Bait Strategy?
Wondering if I there are any changes I should be making to increase the odds of pulling a bear in while i'm on stand. The million dollar question, I know... but I'm fairly new to this, so looking for any advice.
At the moment I have a big boar coming in to a bait site (started on August 24th) at most times of the day. I'm hunting in a area surrounded by large landowners so there is very little competition (that I'm aware of) as far as bait sites. The last couple visits he's been in at 2:30 and 5:30 PM. Generally has been hitting every other day or every two days. Initially he cleaned out my barrel, but now seems like he's coming in eating a little and heading out. I hunt about 100 yards off a corn field and the acorns are dropping. Stand is about 20 yards from the bait site, and other than the wind switching on me last night while on stand, the wind has been in my favor blowing away from the bears likely entry trail and bait. There are a couple other bears that have hit the bait, but they are smaller and have only come by once or twice.
I check baits about every other, or every couple days at the same time of day. I don't control my scent when I bait. I also haven't left any clothes behind to to keep scent at the site either.
As for the bait, i'm using a 55 gallon barrel (hole near the bottom) and fill it with dog food, crushed cookies, licorice, candy hearts, pie filling and grease.
To this point I haven't seen a bear and usually sit from noon to dark, or as early as I can. Yeah... I know this is hunting and it's early in the season, etc... but with that aside, I don't want to continue with the same strategy if there is something different I could be doing, especially with a bigger (more educated) boar coming in. My thought is 1) I just haven't been in stand when he has decided to come by, 2) he's knows when i'm sitting there and is avoiding me.
I was thinking about leaving a shirt behind to keep more of my scent around, or switching up the bait or both. The clothes I wear hunting, are not the clothes I wear while I bait, so that could be an issue...
or I'm over thinking it and just need to get in the stand... Thanks!
You don't say where you are which would be helpful. The first thing I would say is you have probably already burned out the stand if you have sat for 7-8 hours more than once or twice. Bears will put up with human scent from going in and baiting and leaving but they know when the area is getting saturated from a human being there all day. They will very quickly either leave completely or learn to circle and check the wind for a LONG time before coming in. I once watched a bear sit motionless 80 yards from the bait for nearly two hours before he started to come in. When he did start to move it took him 30 minutes to get to the bait. That was a stand that hadn't had anyone near it for three weeks.
Hunting in MN. I sat for an 8 hour hunt twice on the stand. The day after one of those sits he came in at 5:30 PM. So at this point it doesn't look like he left completely, but certainly could be on edge. I guess I'll know more tomorrow when I check baits.
There are lots of theories by lots of guys who know a lot about hunting but I don't know how much truth there is to any of them. One guy who I think knows more than pretty much anyone in WI swears that in by this time of year you need to switch to bait that is high in protein. Nuts, soybeans, etc. The carb based bait that a lot of people depend on like cookies, frosting, candy, etc. seems to work well early but looses appeal once the natural foods become plentiful.
Here in WI we had almost no berry production this year but acorns are at least fair, and of course corn is pretty attractive now. I haven't seen a lot of hazel nuts but I am sure they are ripe by now.
Keep hunting. That’s all I would do.
Have someone drive you in, and get into the stand while they fuss with the bait. When you are settled in, they can walk away with the bucket. You may just see the bear sneak right in after they leave.
BullBuster's idea has worked for me several times.
2 in 1 out is a great trick I also had luck 2 separate times by taking bear poop off the road or from a bait in a different area put in zip sock bag and take to stand with me. Only put small amount of new bait in and scatter some on ground and then leave that other bear poop right in front of the bait. Gives the illusion another bear came in and ate all his bait and left a turd guide also said leaving some bait scattered outside looks like it was a smaller bear in a hurry. Both times I had the big one return an earlier to make sure no other bear took his bait. First time I killed him next day second time I killed boar 2 days after.
If you know what trail he uses to come in assuming he usually uses the same trail then put up a new stand to be able to hunt that trail and not the actual bait.
I’ve called a few in through the years by having a 5 gallon pail hanging from a string under my stand. The last hour of daylight I’d shake the bucket around to give the impression another Bear was on the bait.
The bears that came in were almost immediate and were looking for a bear...
Put beaver out that will get him coming early
What Bullbuster said. Has worked many times. They have you patterned as much as you have him patterned. You climb in the stand, your friend freshens the bait and leaves. You didn't mention what time you typically freshen your bait? TODDY
Thanks for the replies everyone!
For those that have had someone drop you off at the bait site. Do you typically have bears already coming to the bait in close proximity to when you freshen the bait? For example, I bait around 3:45 - 4:30 PM and on the days I've baited the soonest he's come in following me being at the bait site was just before dark (8 PM). This was one time. Generally, he'll hit the following day, rather than the same day I bait. Either way, going to give it a shot tonight.
You can do the same thing without your friend. Walk in, kick the barrel around, then get in the stand. Bears can’t count.