Hunting Black Bear Over Bait
By Ken Moody
In this post I will explain how I have always hunted black bear over bait, what I look for when scouting the area, how I set up, and what my baiting methods are, and how it has worked so well for me.
Locating A Good Bear Area
One of the very first things that you want to do when considering hunting black bear over bait, is to do some research of the area that you are thinking about hunting. You can get a lot of this information on the internet. Also the local Town Office might be able to help some to. Check to see how the bear population is in the area and what the success rate is. Next check to see what you need as far as permission goes or if there is any permits needed for that particular area A lot of the paper company’s allow bear hunting on their property, sometimes with a small fee per bait site.They will also usually request that you use a GPS in case you get lost or need help in case of an emergency.
Next thing is to scout your hunting area. Now that you have everything in order and you know the area that you are going to hunt, this is where the real work begins. Don’t hurry on this one, go back as much as you need to so to pick the right spot for you.
Look for trails that they may be using a lot, also look for bear feces or (scat) in or around the trails. Another good thing to look for is any stumps or area’s where they have been clawing for grubs. Look around for food sources such as berries, cedar, oak trees or beech nut trees as these will be areas that they will visit often in the fall.
When you find an area that looks good to you ,look at how you would set up your baiting area, and where you would put your tree stand. I like to set my baiting area up with a lot of cover behind my baited tree, or log pile, as they like a lot of cover when coming to or from there feeding spot. I like to place my stand about 30 to 40 yards from my bait site. this has always worked good for me.
I also like to set up a game camera for use during the early baiting season before the hunt actually begins. This can give you a lot of information as far as what you have for bear in the area. I like to take my cameras out a few days before the hunt begins to eliminate any chance of spooking a bear. If you are using one of the infrared cameras you may be alright to leave it during the hunt. You will be able to tell from your pictures if the camera is bothering them or not. Be very careful about getting any grease on your camera because you don’t want a bear to destroy it on you.
Setting Up Your Tree Stand
When setting up my tree stand I prefer using a ladder stand about 15 to 16 feet to the platform. Also I look for a tree with other trees close to it to give me as much cover as possible. You may use what ever kind of stand that you prefer but keep in mind the amount of time that you are going to spend in your stand, I like to be as comfortable as possible so to cut down on to much moving around. The black bear’s hearing is extremely sensitive and can pick up on the slightest bit of noise that is not normal for them. Also with a ladder stand, it is easy to camoflage with some burlap attached to the gun rail.
Another thing that you might want to do is to have a second baiting area with a stand set up and use a game camera at both. by doing this it will give you another opportunity in the event that your other baiting area is being a little slow. Also it is always great to hunt with a buddy and this would give you that other stand set up.
What Should I use For Bait
There are a lot of different baits used for baiting black bear, but for me, I like to use a clean bait. Breads and donuts work real well. A little tip though, They don’t like pumper nickle bread, it will be the last thing that they will eat and that’s only if you put a lot of grease on it. Bread and donuts and other pastry’s work real well and are easy to get hold of. There are a lot of bread and pastry outlets that will either give to use or sell for a small fee. I always asked for animal food. I always gathered them up through up the year and put them in a freezer that I used just for that purpose. A little doughnut glaze or molasses poured on the bait works real well to.
My method of baiting is to use a 5 gallon bucket, tie it to the base of a smaller tree , but not to small. I fill it with my bread and pastry, than I pour some grease on it, being careful not to get it on my boots. You can usually pick up grease from a restaurant or fast food place. Than I will pour some grease around the baiting area being careful not to step in it. If you walk in it and than walk to or by your tree stand, (Its like inviting a bear for” lunch”). I also hang an orange or onion bag above the bucket, about 5 feet high. Now fill your bag, tie it, hang it and pour some grease on it. With the grease on the ground, the bear visiting your bait will step in it and make a trail through the woods leaving a lot of opportunity for other bear to follow in. This has always worked great for me and brought me a lot of success! Placing bait in a log pile and pouring grease in it can work good also. The nice thing about the bag, hung off to the side of the bait bucket, is that when the bear in up on the tree, it gives you an excellent shot into the vitals. One other thing to remember is to tag your baiting areas this is required in most States.
There are a lot of scents on the market that are good to use.Amazon sells some real good ones that I like, Scent Killer 559, comes in a combo pack 48 oz. with spray bottle, $10.99. They also have, Ultimate Bear Lure,$14.06 for 4 Oz., Another good one is the #1249 Gold Clothing wash scent killer, 32 oz. for $12.22. Anyway that you can cover your scent, you should really do this. Bear just don’t like the smell of us Human’s ! Lol.
What should I use for a Rifle
For a couple of years I used my deer rifle which was a 30-30 Winchester. That worked good for the distance that I was shooting from. But than I decided to get into some Moose hunting so I bought me a Mark 2, Model 77, 308 Ruger. I have done all my big game hunting with that since. I usually tell people that what ever you are using for deer hunting should work just fine for bear hunting. What counts the most is making that well placed shot.
This is the way that I have always done my bear hunting over bait and it has worked very good for me. When I got started bear hunting, I bought 40 acre’s of land in Northern Maine and I built me a hunting camp as you will see in the pictures. The camp was about 150 miles from my home and during pre-hunting season for bear, I would drive back and forth every 2 to 3 days to keep my sites baited. I always invited a lot of my family members and friends for a bear hunt, so I had a lot of baiting to do. We never had a bad year! Just about every one that I took bear hunting, Got one. Good luck to you in your next bear hunt!
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