10 Tips for Hunting Black Bears Over Bait
Do you bear hunt? Check this article out!
“To the uninitiated, shooting bears over bait is simple, perhaps even boring. But, it can be one of the most challenging and exciting hunts there is.
A black bear has a sense of smell that is seven times better than a bloodhound, meaning it can smell from miles away. Its hearing is superior to humans—although this is hard to test—and its vision is at least as good as humans. And to add to the excitement, bears are very much dangerous game.
My first bear hunt over bait was a real eye opener. Hunting with my wife at Key Harbor Lodge in bear-rich Ontario, it did seem simple to her. She had six opportunities to shoot a bear the first night and ultimately harvested a 200-pound-plus male the second night. It’s not always that easy, especially when pursuing large bears, which are more educated and harder to get close to.
It was the second night before I had any contact, myself. I could hear the guys about a quarter-mile from my bait site cleaning Karen’s bear when I heard sounds in the bush that were definitely being made by a bear. Breaking branches followed. A mother with two cubs came out a few minutes later. As lodge owner Chris Dawson pulled in on his quad, the three bears ran into a meadow behind me. He still heard other breaking branches.
“There’s a big one coming in, I’ll come back for you,” he said.
For the next hour, I listened to that bear growl until legal shooting time was past. If you want to talk about raising the hair on the back of your neck and something that gets your heart pounding, this is it. Although I was curious to see Karen’s bear, I wasn’t getting out of the stand and walking in the dark to see it with another live bear growling at me.
Discussing my hunt with Dawson later, he said the fact I had urinated in the stand in a pop can without a lid likely spooked the bear. And, so my education began.
Here are a few tips to increase your chance at success when hunting bears from a stand.
1. The first challenge is to get a bear to hit your bait. Ensure that the bait is put on, or near, a game trail regularly used by bears. Trail cameras can be used to confirm bears use the trail.
2. Smell is the bear’s primary sense and used to locate food. Bruce MacDonald, owner of Olive the Lake Lodge in northeastern Ontario, said bears use the scent of their own feces to locate baits. One trick he uses is to find bear feces in the woods and place it by his bait stands.”
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Photo Credit: Original Author