Most people think that bear baiting is fairly simple and therefore spend little time paying attention to it. Yet at the end of the season, those very same people go home empty-handed. Little did they know that bear baiting is more complex than they thought. There are a lot of factors that go into ensuring that bears actually visit your bait site so that you have the opportunity to take a boar home with you. If you are having troubles getting bears to visit your bait site or if you simply want them to visit more often, there are 6 tools of the trade below that you might be neglecting.
PICK A GOOD BAIT SITE
There are a lot of different variables that come into play when choosing the perfect bait site. Before choosing a location, do some scouting first! Look for an area that is central to a lot of bear activity; such as near a creek or stream. The most common lines of travel for bears are centrally located around drinking holes. Pay close attention to denser areas such as; thick brush and low branches as bears prefer a lot of cover while traveling. With that in mind, ignore open areas all together. Once you have found a region with a water source and lots of dense vegetation, you are ready to search for bear tracks, scat, and claw markings on trees. After you’ve found the signs you’re looking for, you can search for your ideal location to set up your bear bait. Keep your proximity in mind as you don’t want to be too far away nor too close, which we will discuss in the next different section.
When it comes to proximity, a good thing to take into consideration is your peripheral. Setting some distance between yourself and your bait site will allow you to see more of the area than if you were seated up close. While it is good to be able to see your surroundings when bear hunting, don’t set your stand up too far away or you will lose the ability to get a good look at the bears visiting your bait site. Once you have discovered the distance at which you would like to be away from your site, you must now make sure that you have a good line of sight for both viewing and eventually shooting. You want the bears to feel comfortable enough to feed during the day all the while leaving a window large enough to see and shoot clearly when the time comes.
KNOW HOW TO DRAW THEM IN
Bears have incredibly sensitive noses and are drawn to strong smelling baits. The stronger the better! Most hunters use a strong-smelling scent in order to attract bears to their bait site. After all, if you aren’t doing something to attract bears to your bait site, then they won’t come. It’s as simple as that! Take it from an experienced hunter such as myself when I say the stronger.. the better! Fish guts and other animal carcasses have a rather putrid odor that works great when luring in bears, same with our Beaver Castor and Shellfish scents. But if that doesn’t work, the bears in your area might have a sweet tooth. In that case, we recommend using our Caramel or Cherry scents to sweeten things up a little. Our bear bait sprays and lubes work wonders when it comes to luring in bears to your bait site! They come in a variety of different scents that can be smelled for miles. I recommend butterscotch for the best results!
CHOOSE THE RIGHT FOODS
Fortunately bears tend to consume just about anything made available to them but like people, each bear has different food preferences. Make sure that you check and abide to the bear bait regulations in the region where you are hunting. Bears are primarily carnivores and prefer a variety of different meat sources such as; fish, beaver, and other mammals lower than them on the food chain. Foods that are high in carbohydrates allow for bears to pack on weight rather quickly while foods low in carbohydrates leave bears more hungry. Some bears prefer sweets. In that case, you can use pastries, gummies, or even jello for a quick solution. Bears love natural foods too! Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, apples, acorns, and beach nuts are among some of their favorites. No matter your personal hunting preference, simply make sure that you aren’t using bait that has gone bad or expired as this is a quick way to clear out your bait pile. Also, use a variety! If you don’t enjoy eating the same foods day after day, why would bears?
DON’T OVER OR UNDER FEED THEM
There is often a fine line between underfeeding and overfeeding and if you want to figure out what it is, you must pay close attention to the bears frequenting your site. Underfeeding or being inconsistent with your bait supply will deter the bear from returning. Overfeeding, however, will cause the bear to overeat and thus not visit your bait as often. To establish dominance over the bear where they are dependent on your bait, watch your bears through your camera to get a good estimate of their size and feeding habits. Begin by measuring out your bait in the very beginning and be consistent. After you feel like you have a good grasp on the bears coming to your site, you can then either feed them more or feed them less based off your findings.
NEGLECTING SCENT CONTROL
As a general rule, you should visit your bait site as little as possible in order to minimize the amount of scent you leave there. Also, don’t let others go to your bait site with you as you don’t want to risk their scent being left behind as well. One of the biggest mistakes that you can do when re-stocking your bait site is disregard the wind. Bears are not stupid animals and in fact, they know how to use the wind to their advantage and so should you. Before you go out to your bait site, check the weather forecast! Depending on the direction that the wind is blowing, it might be best to opt for a different day all together. The bears that visit your site will know become accustomed to your scent and pick up on your patterns. The more you visit your bait site, the stronger your scent will become, and the less the bears will show up.
Over the years, you will learn a lot of pointers from experience, much like myself. Until then, take my word for it and follow these 6 tips!
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