I am a resident of MN and I drew a black bear tag. This will be my first black bear hunt and my first time baiting black bears. I've read a bunch of different articles and threads on baiting black bears. I'm just wondering what people's thoughts and experiences have been with baiting black bears. Right now I'm leaning towards boiling syrup and marshmallows and mixing it pastries and popcorn. I also am considering using a commercial attractant and hanging it higher up in the tree and boiling honey. I understand there are many options, all have worked, and there is no perfect baiting strategy.
6 replies [Last post]
Mon, 2012-06-18 18:10
1st Year Baiting Black Bears
Wed, 2012-06-20 08:10#1
Keep it simple
I don't profess to know everything but here is what has worked for me.
Keep it simple. You have undoubtedly read many recommendations and read what to do if they're only coming in at night to bring out during shooting hours. If you try to follow all the suggestions you've read, you will try to over complicate the hunt. My credentials are my own experience from 4 years of baiting and two bears + my buddy who has also baited 4 years and killed 3 bears.
The bottom line is "Bears like to eat". I don't know Minnesota regulations but I will tell you what I do that has been successful.
For the actual bait I have used leftovers, meat scraps, popcorn, cooking grease, bacon grease, molasses oats and apples. The bears love it all. I have used carp, suckers or some other trash fish partially rotten to hang from braches as an initial attractant, they usually don't eat it but they smell it and come in to find the good stuff.
Whatever bait you chose I recommend something small that they can't carry away, force to stay at the bait. Whether I use meat, apples or oats as my primary bait I always use popcorn to supplement because it's cheap. The popcorn is great because it is light weight (a consideration depending on how far you haul bait). I pour the cooking grease (from fast food restaurants) onto the popcorn. About 30 gallons of popcorn (packed down) + 5 gallons of grease is my usual. I smear bacon grease on higher braches but still within reach. The meat scraps I get from a local meat processor for free (He does this for everybody not just me). I recommend dumping meat in the open because it seems to rot faster if it is in a barrel and then they don't eat it. The molasses oats were a good find for me this last spring season, 40 lbs for $12.00, I took it out 20 lbs at a time. I get large amounts of apples from trees that grow along highways in the public right-of-way, the bears always eat every last one, I went through 100 gallons of apples in one season.
I have never tryed a honey or bacon burn so no comment there. If you put out food in an area with sign the bears will come, if you can do more than one site make sure you spread them out by several miles.
As far as scent control I don't worry about when I carry bait in, in fact I leave a sweaty t-shirt hanging high above the bait so they will be used to me. I do use scent control when I go in in to hunt the bait.
Thu, 2012-06-21 12:56#2
I've used dog food for bulk, and sweetened it up with molasses, jelly donut syrup, etc. The dog food is tasty for them and it's easy to transport into the woods in 40 lb bags. Bears have incredible noses and a strong affinity for sweets. So in addition to what I had in the barrel I hung stuff in the trees (like an anise-scented meltaway ball) to get the scent on the breeze. Relying on what was in the barrel didn't do it, because there's not enough air movement on the ground and around the hole in the barrel. So I hung a scent bait up in the trees to get them to the site, and they'd find the barrel there. Another stink bait I used sometimes was to fill a bucket with fish guts, cut-up chickens, etc, seal it up, and let it sit outside in the warmth for a couple months. Then I'd take it out in the woods and pop the lid as I hung it in the trees. The smell's enough to make you want to retch, but the scent of carrion carries a long way.
Fri, 2012-06-29 10:40#3
I dont know much about the bait it self when we hunted upper Minnesota for bears we used dounuts that were old. worked good how ever we found that baiting to long made some of the bear move to other spots. When we did it they allowed us to bait 6 weeks before season started. those baits where tore up for 4 weeks then died off. Other stands that we started baiting 2 wks before start of season produced 5 bears out of 8 guys. If that helps at all. In Northern mighigan a friend use old gummie bears that he gets as throw away from a factory and bread. Hope this helps and good luck
Sun, 2012-07-01 14:21#4
Baiting Before Season Opener
Yea, thanks for you input. It does help. In Minnesota now we're only able to bait for 3 weeks prior to the season opener. I've heard stories similar to yours that bears will lose interest if you're baiting too long. I'll probably start baiting 2 to 3 weeks prior to the season opener, which looks like it should be an appropriate amount of time to get the bears interested, but not too long to have them lose interest. Thanks for the input.
For my bait I'm going with sweets and popcorn mixed with syrup. I'm also probably going to use fish guts or something similar to create a strong attractant. Those are my plans right now.
Mon, 2012-07-02 09:11#5
Baiting Before Season Opener
I've never heard of a bear losing interest in food. Remember that a bear's goal for the summer is to put on as much weight as possible to sleep through the winter. They want the most calories for the least energy expenditure possible. Make it tasty enough and they'll keep coming back. While I was skinning out my last bear I had two others come in to try to get to the bait while I was right next to it. Put a game camera on it and you might be surprised what you get. Sometimes it takes awhile for them to find it, and if they disappear it's probably because you have competition in the area from another baiter.
Fri, 2012-07-13 10:24#6
Don't forget the fryer
Don't forget the fryer grease. You can go to any KFC and get it by the truck load. Pour it all around your bait site so the bears will step in it and spread the scent out further into the woods and attract even more bears.
Cook bacon every morning from now until bear season and save the grease in a can. Stick the can upside down on a tree limb about 6 feet off the ground when you walk into the stand for the first time to hunt.