Mathews Inc.
Sweetening the bait
Bears
Contributors to this thread:
JG 08-Apr-24
WV Mountaineer 08-Apr-24
BlacktailBob 08-Apr-24
JG 08-Apr-24
Charlie Rehor 08-Apr-24
Nick Muche 08-Apr-24
Bou’bound 08-Apr-24
Shug 08-Apr-24
spike buck 08-Apr-24
StickFlicker 08-Apr-24
g5smoke21 08-Apr-24
skull 08-Apr-24
skull 08-Apr-24
BlacktailBob 08-Apr-24
BlacktailBob 08-Apr-24
BlacktailBob 08-Apr-24
Shug 08-Apr-24
BlacktailBob 08-Apr-24
Cazador 08-Apr-24
BlacktailBob 08-Apr-24
Cazador 08-Apr-24
Charlie Rehor 08-Apr-24
BlacktailBob 08-Apr-24
BlacktailBob 08-Apr-24
Nick Muche 09-Apr-24
Shiras42 09-Apr-24
JG 09-Apr-24
BlacktailBob 09-Apr-24
walking buffalo 09-Apr-24
Thornton 09-Apr-24
Shiras42 10-Apr-24
FORESTBOWS 10-Apr-24
Cazador 10-Apr-24
Mike Ukrainetz 10-Apr-24
Jebediah 10-Apr-24
Alexis Desjardins 10-Apr-24
BlacktailBob 10-Apr-24
BlacktailBob 10-Apr-24
Jebediah 10-Apr-24
Cazador 10-Apr-24
wildwilderness 10-Apr-24
Jebediah 10-Apr-24
Mike Ukrainetz 10-Apr-24
Cazador 10-Apr-24
WV Mountaineer 10-Apr-24
Cazador 10-Apr-24
WV Mountaineer 10-Apr-24
Thornton 11-Apr-24
Jebediah 11-Apr-24
skull 11-Apr-24
Cazador 11-Apr-24
Jebediah 11-Apr-24
wifishkiller 13-Apr-24
BlacktailBob 14-Apr-24
Cazador 14-Apr-24
Cazador 14-Apr-24
BlacktailBob 14-Apr-24
Al Dente Laptop 17-Apr-24
Lewis 17-Apr-24
BlacktailBob 17-Apr-24
fuzzy 19-Apr-24
Lewis 21-Apr-24
Jebediah 21-Apr-24
Cazador 21-Apr-24
Jebediah 21-Apr-24
Shug 21-Apr-24
JG 25-May-24
Kannuck 29-May-24
Jebediah 29-May-24
wytex 29-May-24
From: JG
08-Apr-24
My last two bear hunts were a ball. Passed 63 bears. We jumped around stands where big bears were present and just didn’t hit the right bear at the right stand

My outfitter baits with oats/grease and a little dog food and candy

Watching the bears these last few years they lick the hole on the barrel looking for the dog food. Sometimes they spit the candy out.

I asked my outfitter this year if I’m better off sticking on one stand and sweetening the bait. He’s open to me doing anything.

What I’m thinking is buy a bag of dog food for each sit. Dump it when I go to the stand. Maybe sweeten it with a jar of honey? Stay on one stand where I know a big one is present

One year we tried beaver but the first 100lb bear ran off with it

Thoughts? Ideas to give me an edge?

Waste of time? Overthinking it?

08-Apr-24
The bear doesn’t prefer the honey? I figured he’d be after all that goodness. Should be easy on his stomach too.

Also, I’m surprised so much by the bear preferring dog food because a dog who routinely gets a last bite or snack of people food or, is fed raw meat often, will forgo the dog food altogether if he eats enough of the other food.

From: BlacktailBob
08-Apr-24

BlacktailBob's embedded Photo
BlacktailBob's embedded Photo
From my experience, you could use sawdust for bait as long as you put enough sugar on it.

I use powdered sugar. Powdered sugar seems to stay coated on the individual nuggets of dog food better.

Another observation is that if you have a source for used frier grease, use it too. I think the grease does a better job of scent attraction and it also helps hold the sugar to each nugget of dog food.

From: JG
08-Apr-24
The oats are covered in used frying oil

A bag of powdered sugar over the dog food sounds great

I’m still gonna have the barrel with oats, dogfood, grease and candy. I’m just trying to make the ultimate attraction and hopefully draw in the bruiser

I’m thinking pour the dog food in the hole they make from licking the barrel hole. Maybe a pile vs spreading it?

08-Apr-24
I look forward to a spring bear hunt each year. I’ve hunted 7 Provinces and EACH Outfitter has their “secret sauce” for baiting. I would not add my own baits.

If I were you I’d hang at a particular bait/stand for at least 3 or 4 days (where you have a big bear on camera) rather than jumping around. The “big bears” have their own schedule. Good luck and have a blast.

From: Nick Muche
08-Apr-24
Bob, one like that would work!

From: Bou’bound
08-Apr-24
Wait em out

From: Shug
08-Apr-24
If you passed 60+ bears the only thing you need is better timing…

From: spike buck
08-Apr-24
It's fine if you buy dog food in Canada, but cannot bring dog food into Canada.

From: StickFlicker
08-Apr-24
I don't think I've seen 60 bears in 50 years of hunting and including pictures of bears I've seen in books/magazines!

From: g5smoke21
08-Apr-24
Next bear tag I get in wisconsin might end up going to my kids. I think I'm going to try the dog food thing to bait. Seems alot in alaska use it with great success but not many in WI use it. Good to be different. More expensive but may be worth it. The extra powder sugar mention may be an extra special ticket

From: skull
08-Apr-24

skull's embedded Photo
skull's embedded Photo
Why feed a 63 bear, when you targeting only one particular bear? It seems a waste of bait, time and money, If I’m going to shoot only a big bear I’m going to feed only one. This system is the best I have ever seen for saving money on bait and numerous trips to bait, and targeting the size of bear I’m interested in. Will eliminate every single vermin including sown and cubs

From: skull
08-Apr-24

skull's embedded Photo
skull's embedded Photo
This is the only one I’m feeding

From: BlacktailBob
08-Apr-24

BlacktailBob's embedded Photo
BlacktailBob's embedded Photo
Nick, too bad, pretty sure I killed that one. Thats a full-sized barrel about a foot off the ground and his back is just a few inches below the rim of the barrel.

Another relatively inexpensive and lightweight thing you can do is buy a 4-pound bag of Hog Wild. Other than the grease discussed above, dog food and powdered sugar, Hog Wild is the only scent attractant I use. Very potent stuff easy and clean.

Bear that won No. 1 award at the ABA banquet this past weekend was killed at one of my baits. Was thinking that particular bait might be a good place for your 12-year-old friend to sit at if you and his dad don’t have luck finding the lad a bear.

From: BlacktailBob
08-Apr-24

BlacktailBob's embedded Photo
BlacktailBob's embedded Photo
Erin was a happy camper when this old boar walked in.

From: BlacktailBob
08-Apr-24
Great idea to exclude the pint sized bears. That is until the rut occurs, then you want as many sows at your bait as possible. Even in a Transgender environment, sows remain the best bait.

From: Shug
08-Apr-24
Hi my name is Mark and I’d like to hunt bears on POW

From: BlacktailBob
08-Apr-24

BlacktailBob's embedded Photo
BlacktailBob's embedded Photo
If you draw the tag ?

With the Hog Wild, I put about a table spoon amount in each 5 gallons of dog food. This stuff is getting me charged up to kill a few bears. I didn't even hunt last year. Was just cheering for Matt and Erin Nustvold.

From: Cazador
08-Apr-24
That first dead bear looks familiar depending on the bait. Maybe not.

From: BlacktailBob
08-Apr-24
Not the same bait. About 10 miles south, but could easily be the same bear I guess if your're talking the Brenda bait?

From: Cazador
08-Apr-24

Cazador's embedded Photo
Cazador's embedded Photo
No, the hole. Similar but I doubt it .

08-Apr-24

Charlie Rehor's embedded Photo
Charlie Rehor's embedded Photo
Charlie Rehor's embedded Photo
Charlie Rehor's embedded Photo
Fourth night at the same bait for Chris. Patience.

From: BlacktailBob
08-Apr-24
Thats probaly the one Matt shot.

From: BlacktailBob
08-Apr-24
How do you get two photos like that in one post?

From: Nick Muche
09-Apr-24
Hog Wild is one of my favorites as well. Along with Knock Out from James Valley Scents and Magnum Marten.

Bob, I know a 12 year old that would be over the moon with a great bear like that!

From: Shiras42
09-Apr-24
I hunt with an outfitter where we get to do all of our own baiting once we are there. To me it is almost more fun that hunting them. Something that I like to do is take a lot of marshmallows and scatter them around. 2 benefits - Watching the squirrels and birds mess with them and also getting the bear away from the bait barrel to have to pick them up individually. I only do this for baits that I am sitting on and not just to bait in general.

From: JG
09-Apr-24

JG's embedded Photo
JG's embedded Photo
I love baiting. One of the best parts of the hunt.

From: BlacktailBob
09-Apr-24
Agree, baiting, checking baits, and checking trail cameras, is almost as much fun and rewarding as taking the shot. Almost, but I do get greater satisfaction out of taking a large, very mature bear. I think of all the fawns I save when an old boar is taken.

09-Apr-24
Teach the outfitter how to use beavers for bait.

A simple but strong cage will keep the beaver in place until it is consumed, one clawful at a time.

From: Thornton
09-Apr-24
Nothing about sitting over a barrel full of doughnuts and grease appeals to me. At least with hounds, they have a chance..

From: Shiras42
10-Apr-24
Thanks for your input Jason. It was extremely helpful.

10-Apr-24
How many more times you going to tell us that Thornton?

From: Cazador
10-Apr-24
Nothing about sitting over a field in KS with a rifle in my hands appeals to me. At least with a bow, they have a chance..

10-Apr-24
Thornton, we have quite a few bears that take 2-3+ years to kill with multiple hunters spending weeks on stand to finally kill them on a bait. I personally spent 28 days over 3 years to get a smart, 400 lb, 20 inch bear. How many times could you run the same bear with dogs before you get to kill him?

Skull, that’s a very interesting, big bear only, baiting setup! Great idea

From: Jebediah
10-Apr-24
We’ve been baiting bears for three years. So we’re novices, but we’ve learned that it’s quite a bit of work, and tougher than we’d thought. Working 4 baits for 3 years we just got our first bear this past September. Not a monster by any means, but we were thankful for him. I was also thankful he only ran a short distance, and for the youth and strength of my “recovery crew.” Anyway, about beavers: maybe all bears are different—year 2 we tried beaver carcasses, not a single bear showed any interest. Maybe we had unpalatable beavers, who knows. This past year we gave up on beavers because they’d gotten so disgusting the year before.

10-Apr-24
I always thought running with hounds would be a lot easier than baiting them ,learn something new everyday.

From: BlacktailBob
10-Apr-24
I've never hunted bears with dogs, but I've been the hunter with guys who chased lions with dogs on many occasions. Both are thrilling and neither is a slam dunk. I’d kill a bear behind dogs.

For bears, the big advantage with bait is being able to evaluate a bear before you kill him. Once you tree him or bay him up, I guess you can do that behind dogs too. The process is just not as efficient, and I doubt many bears get evaluated over a three-year period like Mike described above. I know I’ve been instructed to kill a female lion once treed by a guide. I didn’t know it was a female, but I’m pretty close to 100% certain the guide knew it was a female. Because he had so much into the chase and treeing the lion, he instructed me to kill it. My hunt was over and he could move on to the next client.

From: BlacktailBob
10-Apr-24
Jebediah, concur. I used to make buckets of stinky salmon remains at let the stuff rot at the cabin for a year before using it. It was disgusting and if you were unfortunate to spill on your jeans, you'd pretty much have to burn the jeans.

I switched to just using a tablespoon of hog wild and I have just as many bears, maybe more, at my baits.

I have wondered about using a fresh beaver carcass at each bait. I think it would be a good deal, but I have no trapping skills.

From: Jebediah
10-Apr-24
Also, maggots. For the year prior to last season, we saved food scraps, wound up filling a freezer that I got for free on Craigslist. My wife was afraid concerning the Craigslist thing, but it turns out the lady giving away the freezer decided not to murder me. Or she forgot to. Regardless, we put out these food scraps (including meat) at our baits, and before you know it, our baits are basically a carpet of maggots. So we won’t be doing that again. The bears didn’t seem to mind at all, but I thought that it would be really unpleasant if you dropped a bear in his tracks right into this sea of maggots.

From: Cazador
10-Apr-24

Cazador's embedded Photo
Bear on bait, notice stack of donuts on the top of the barrel.
Cazador's embedded Photo
Bear on bait, notice stack of donuts on the top of the barrel.
Cazador's embedded Photo
Bear walks off, never touched the barrel or the donuts on top.
Cazador's embedded Photo
Bear walks off, never touched the barrel or the donuts on top.
Bears can be so finicky. I've seen barrels make them timid yet the 5 gallon bucket next to it gets hammered. So sometimes it may help to "unsweeten"" the bait.

Case in point.

10-Apr-24
I have had more luck with popcorn and dogfood (easy to pack). The black bears I have noticed don't care much for a beaver carcass, but the Brown Bears definitely do as well as meat, fresh or rotten.

From: Jebediah
10-Apr-24
No pre-baiting is allowed here, but last year a few weeks prior to the season I put out an empty/clean barrel, at a brand new site, hoping any nearby bears might become acclimated to it. Well, we had a bear come by and check out that empty barrel repeatedly. I thought that was interesting.

10-Apr-24
I say volume and variety is king! Especially if you are competing with other hunters bait sites and we’ve found that big boars prefer meat scraps and beavers. They will visit a site more frequently that has meat, especially if it’s fresh and easy to get. They will quit eating a dead cow if meat scraps are set out beside it on a daily basis.

We like to grow bears up on our baits so they get bigger and become more conditioned to the baiting too, then do our best to kill them at 5 1/2 yrs old.

From: Cazador
10-Apr-24
BB used to say nothing holds a big boar like a carcass, and my experience in high pressure baiting areas seems to confirm his findings.

10-Apr-24
This thread is Awesome!!!!!!

From: Cazador
10-Apr-24

Cazador's embedded Photo
Cazador's embedded Photo
Boar or sow?

10-Apr-24
Sow. Biggun’.

From: Thornton
11-Apr-24
Cazador- I've bowhunted for almost 30 years. Refer to the guy in Sitka gear holding the $150 Turkish shotgun and it should tell you how challenging it is to shoot a garbage can raider over a pile of marshmallows. Most of the bucks I stalk in open country with a rifle won't let you within half a mile of them.

From: Jebediah
11-Apr-24
Thornton, what you’re overlooking is this: you, too, can eat the marshmallows. Donuts, cookies, you name it. Things a little slow at the bait? Just walk on down there for a snack!

From: skull
11-Apr-24

skull's embedded Photo
skull's embedded Photo
Mike I hate feeding small bears and rodents, that’s who’s taking most the bait, I like this setup, and yes big bears like fresh meat, I have made some cages 12”x12”x12” keep them coming back, for sweet I made some hard candy they love it

From: Cazador
11-Apr-24
Thornton, to put that picture above in perspective for you, imagine riding down a road in KS at 6pm seeing a field full of does, and small bucks. Drive down the road the next day, those same does, and small bucks will most likely be right there. That's what you're seeing in that photo. I can promise you, arrowing a solid boar off a bait is anything but "easy". Even harder in heavily hunted areas.

From: Jebediah
11-Apr-24
Last year we tried Carmel corn, and it was $100 per barrel, which I think was 300 pounds. Or about 30 cents a pound. That same day, at the supermarket, I bought a bag of carmel corn from the Boy Scouts, for $20, which I think was about 30 dollars a pound. Quite a difference…

From: wifishkiller
13-Apr-24

wifishkiller's embedded Photo
wifishkiller's embedded Photo
It’s almost time boys!

From: BlacktailBob
14-Apr-24

BlacktailBob's embedded Photo
Big Dan Was Too Much Fun
BlacktailBob's embedded Photo
Big Dan Was Too Much Fun
I'm really looking forward to it this year. Had shoulder issues last year so I didn’t hunt. Have 10 buddies coming to the cabin this spring, so we should have a pretty good time. Two of the guys I've never met before, but friends of a friend. One of them is a 12-year-old who will be my highest priority regarding helping him kill a P&Y bear.

From: Cazador
14-Apr-24
I wish I was coming! I’ll be straight across from You on the BC side.

From: Cazador
14-Apr-24

Cazador's embedded Photo
Cazador's embedded Photo
Hope the youngster arrows a crusher!

From: BlacktailBob
14-Apr-24
Good luck.

17-Apr-24
I heard that you can sweeten the bait by sprinkling Jell-O over it. Strawberry, Raspberry, Cherry, etc...

From: Lewis
17-Apr-24
Bob loved the picture of Dan I wonder if that rod and reel combo was the one I had made and sent it to him from our place in Florida.We were heading up to his cabin in Alaska when Hurricane Andrew came calling to our place in Homestead we turned around in Sioux City and we never got the chance to go back.Thanks for sharing Lewis

From: BlacktailBob
17-Apr-24
Very well could be the same combo. That setup is probably in the basement of my cabin now. When Dan sold his place a bunch of stuff ended up there. I think I actually ended up with a shotgun out of the process.

Jello works, but I think Hog Wild is more pungent and probably not any more expensive. Roy used to use Jello in his burns all the time. I've never used burns much. Too much of a hassle and I don’t think they work any better than using Hog Wild. Guys have used the commercially marketed scent products, and it certainly doesn’t hurt anything. Dan always used liquid smoke.

From: fuzzy
19-Apr-24
Try Popcorn with dry cake mix added

From: Lewis
21-Apr-24

Lewis 's embedded Photo
Lewis 's embedded Photo
Maybe just maybe I might try to keep this guy around we have an archery only season going into the fall.Good luck all Lewis

From: Jebediah
21-Apr-24
We made our own popcorn our first year, in a garbage can over an open fire. Then mixed with kool aid powder. It was fun, but one year of that was enough. The bears liked it, but only as a midnight snack.

From: Cazador
21-Apr-24

Cazador's embedded Photo
Cazador's embedded Photo
Local donut shop, first run about 100ish pounds.

From: Jebediah
21-Apr-24
Wow. We started baiting several years ago, and quickly learned that every nearby donut shop and restaurant (concerning cooking oil) has “already got a guy” they give it to. Later learned that “the guy” is the local police chief—explains a lot.

From: Shug
21-Apr-24
I’m a big fan of variety… I’ll use a barrel of donuts Wire a beaver to a tree and toss some fish around..

From: JG
25-May-24

JG's embedded Photo
JG's embedded Photo
Well I laid out dog food and covered part in powered sugar

The line worked well (bears gave perfect broadside shots) until every night one bear would throw it around then the next one was more random in their position

Some bears just licked the dog food. Some destroyed the sugar and some didn’t hardly touch it. Some really like just plain dog food

Darn near every bear licked the barrel with grease/dog food and oats

Saw 41 bears on stand and mixed around the layout

Next year I probably will bring dog food again just for fun. I had more sightings than anyone in camp but maybe it was just my stand? I stuck it out on one stand for 5 days till I scored. 7’4” and 19.5” skull? Did the dog food make a difference?? It surely didn’t hurt

From: Kannuck
29-May-24
To sweeten up our baits we have used cherry Jell-0 powder or raspberry Kool-Aid powder mixed with the dry dog food, oats or popcorn. The bears love it.

We buy it pretty cheap at the local bulk store.

From: Jebediah
29-May-24
We have found that dog food brings in coyotes in our area. But I imagine everywhere is different. “Our” bears, for example, seem to have absolutely no interest in sunflower seeds, which I’m told is unheard of.

From: wytex
29-May-24
Anyone go down to their local watering hole in town and get the left over cherry juice from the big jars of mar. cherries they usually have and use? Got 2 jars this year but too late to use on bait. I'm going to freeze them.

The bar takes the cherries out and usually throws away the jar of juice.

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