Bear hunting is extremely challenging, but is also one of the most adrenaline packed hunting adventures you’ll ever do. There are many methods and options for pursuing and hunting bears and all provide some great challenges. I get in conversations every year with people who have never had the chance to hunt bears. Many of those same people think hunting bear over bait isn’t fair, or not as challenging. Well I’m here to tell you baiting bear will be one of the most challenging but rewarding hunts you’ll ever do. I’ve hunted many different animals including elk, deer, antelope, moose, coyotes, and even mountain lion, but my bear hunts still stand out as my most challenging hunts ever. Not only is baiting bear a huge amount of work, that’s only half the battle, Once baits and stands are set we have to trick the bears into eating, and eating during the daylight hours. Its really easy for a bear to feed at night on their own schedule and comfort level. So using tricks to get a bear to feed during the daylight is key to harvesting a bear over bait. At BoarMasters, us and our team of outfitters and prostaffers run over 150+ bait sites a year. This gives us plenty of opportunity to test, and research ideas, and test new products and theories. Below are some tips we have learned over the years.
- First, Keeping those bears comfortable at the bait site is key to daylight feedings, If a bear doesn’t feel safe he will not feed during the day. Especially when they are not conditioned to the baitsite and get a big whiff of fresh human scent. When possible keep your bait sites in thick, dense and dark areas of the forest. I like those spots that have an “eery” feel to them. Away from roads, wheeler trails, hikers and activity. Find those areas with good green growth and look for the older timber growth patches when possible. Bears love these areas, especially big bears. Also an area near a water source always helps. Bears water often and use these dark forests to travel to and from water. Make sure to review your states rules and regulations as most states have restrictions and guidelines when baiting near water.
- Next is Access, Walking to and from the bait site is also very important, spooking a bear off the bait site or out of his bedding areas can make them more timid as well. Setup so you can easily access your bait site without tromping thru the whole forest. My ideal location is an area of a thick dense forest line that borders a clearing or open area. This makes it easy for me to skirt the forest line to access my baits. These clearings also keep the bear from circling you. Bears love to circle the bait site completely before coming to the bait, any smell of human scent unless they are well conditioned and comfortable at the bait site will force them to wait till dark. Finding these convenient areas away from people and activity can be a real challenge. We use Google earth, help from a birds eye view will give you a better idea of your possible bedding areas, travel routes, and most importantly your access routes.
- Next we learned one of our best tactics for daylight bears is satisfying their cravings. Use a good variety at the bait. Something they just crave, get addicted to and can’t resist but to eat more and more. Something that will create a feeding frenzy! This is how BoarMasters bear attractant product line all started. We spent years searching for food products, lures and scents that bears would go crazy for. The everyday products on the market were just not powerful enough to draw in the bears and keep them coming back for more. So we went to work, and developed the most innovative products to hit the bear scents and bear baiting industry. This is what put BoarMasters on the map. Using something that the bears just go crazy for will be the main factor in getting those bears to feed during the daylight. Just like humans, when we crave something or have a favorite food we will do anything to get our hands 0n it! Satisfy their cravings and they’ll be camping on the bait sites. BoarMasters has changed our success levels 100%, not only for us as a company, but as hunters, guides and the outfitters as well.
- Another good idea is adjusting the bait quantity on the bait site. This can change feeding patterns of bears tremendously. If a bear shows up at midnight to an empty barrel but he can smell the fresh scent he will know he has missed out. Once he does this a few times he will realize and think he is getting beat to the bait site. We do this by cutting down on the amount of bait and begin putting in only a bucket full of bait at a time on the weeks we plan to hunt. We want the bears to be hungry and not gorge themselves and we also want all the bait to be gone by the smaller bears by dark, but be careful and make sure those bears have plenty of food on the days your not hunting, If they show up to many times to an empty barrel they may wander off. If you only have one bear hitting and he becomes nocturnal try introducing and intruder scent. This is why we developed our BoarMasters Super Hot dominant boar bear urine . This will trick the bears into thinking their is an intruder, basically another bear getting all their bait. This will force them to change their feeding habits as well and has worked really well for us over the years when we have one nocturnal bear hitting the bait. Sometimes those big boars will run off all the other bears and keep the bait to themselves, once they get nocturnal its hard to get them back to daylight if they have no competition. Tricking them into thinking they have competition and their sure to change their habits!
- Then we have the rut, This is our favorite time to hunt bears. Bears rut in the spring around the end of May. This is the best time to catch those big nocturnal boars browsing during the daylight hours in search of sows. Sows at your bait site can turn out to be the best thing to ever happen to your bait site. These sows that are ready to breed will bring in boars for many miles. This time of year I’ve seen some crazy things! These in heat sows cause pure chaos around the bait sites. Just like hunting elk and deer during the rut, their brain is focused on one thing and they lose most all fear of humans and danger. This is a great time to capitalize and harvest a monster bear. If you don’t have sows around your bait add 1-2 scent wiks covered in our BoarMasters Sow in heat urine with sexgland to your sites. This product is a true sow urine with pure sow sex glands! Use it during the weeks your hunting and remove it when your not. Bears are smart enough to realize when they are being fooled. They will only hang around the bait site for a few days, once they realize the sow in heat smell is not attached to a sow they will continue on their journey to find another sow. We normally hang the wiks when we hunt and then put them in a zip-locks when we leave and take them with us. The picture of the rag at the top of this article is covered with sow bear urine and hung with a camera during our testing and research of the product. This bear wandered thru an empty forest right to this rag, no bait sites near by. All of our products are tested for 2 years and/or 4 seasons before released to the market. Keep an eye on our Facebook and Instagram pages and also our website for more tips and tactics for hunting bears! Hope this helps some of you that are new to hunting bears or those who just need some new ideas to try. More tips and tactics coming soon!
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If you are having trouble with nocturnal bears try these tips, I guarantee you they will help change things up at your bait site. If you have questions feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Id be glad to help.