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Joined: 11/30/2007
Posts: 3
Getting started

I have decided this year that I am going to take the plunge and try to bait a bear. I have until August to find a site or two, bait, etc. I have read many of the posts in this forum and am very impressed with the wealth of knowledge of its members.
A few questions to start:
I live in a very built up area and so I would have to travel to bait a site, can I successfully bait but not tend it every day?
After scouting what is the most important aspect I should focus on first?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Location: Northern Minnesota
Joined: 07/08/2007
Posts: 325
Getting started

Finding a spot where other hunters, hikers, 4-wheelers etc. will not ruin your bait can be tough. Get a least 1/4 mile from trails and roads. You don't have to bait every day but remember if you bait once a week then suddenly walk in day after day to hunt, the big bears will often turn nocturnal on your bait or abandon it. Big boars probably will not hit the same bait every day but every 3-4 days. Leave your scent in the bait area, make noise while baiting and always bait before noon. Bang your bait buckets, talk ,whistle or something when putting out bait. If you have a stand or blind, walk up to it and rub your hands on it each time you bait. When you hunt you should be as "scentless" as possible but not when baiting. Mature boars are not afraid of you they just don't like surprises. Sorry for the lengthy post. I am retired with too much time on my hands.
PS Decide if you will hunt from a tree stand or a ground blind. Last year I took a 300 pound bear while I was sitting on the ground with my back against a tree in the open ( 20 to 30 feet from the bait) by the bait clearing. Totally different experience than sitting in a tree stand. Good luck.

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Joined: 11/30/2007
Posts: 3
Getting started

Thanks, I appreciate all the help I can find. I did not realize that showing up every day will drive them nocturnal. I will probably hunt from the ground.
I have read that I should look for low wet terrain. Is there specific bear sign i should look for? Or avoid certain types of places?

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Location: Northern Minnesota
Joined: 07/08/2007
Posts: 325
Getting started

Showing up every day to bait is okay. The risk is showing up weekly to bait then daily to hunt. I don't know where you hunt but generally mature boars will live in low wetlands. Cedar swamps, bog edges, beaver ponds etc. Sows especially those with cubs generally prefer high ground forest where cubs can travel more easily. Look for "islands" in wet areas or ridges through wet areas. You won't see much bear sign until you have established a successful bait site. Black bear don't make trails like deer unless they discover a good food source like a bait site. Look for tracks / trails where grasses etc. are flattened by bear padded feet. Avoid places easily accessible by other people. Look for the high ground in or by low wet swamp terrain. Stay in the thick hard to travel stuff when looking for a bait site. My bait sites are generally 15' - 20' clearings in thick brush. I normally can't see a bear until it enters that small clearing. If the bait site is too open mature bears may not come in until after dark. I should add that my efforts are always aimed at taking mature boars. Not knowing where you hunt I may not be helping you much. But I guess my advice is worth what you paid for it. Be careful, bear hunting is very addictive.

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Joined: 11/30/2007
Posts: 3
Getting started

Thumbs up Thanks for the advice. It all sounds good. I am in Southern Maine, used to live in Northern Maine, they are two different worlds! I will look for some swampy areas around here, I can think of one or two offhand. Looks like I am going to have to break out the snowshoes.

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Location: Northern Minnesota
Joined: 07/08/2007
Posts: 325
Getting started

Great idea. Winter is the best time to get into the lowlands bear like. Watch for trees or poles that stand out or are different from others in the area. Bear seem to pick these to mark. You can often get an idea of what size bear are in the area by the height of claw marks and bite marks. I actually observed a utility pole that had bite marks at 9 feet ! That means the bear stood on his hind legs, turned his head sideways and bit into the pole 9 feet above the ground. I have been after one particular boar that has front pads 6 3/4 " wide for several years. These are the bear that made me a big bore rifle hunter. If you see one of these brutes you will only see him once. I hung up my .270 when I wounded a 500 pound class bear several years ago. I dropped him in the bait clearing, held aim on him until I thought he was dead then lowered my weapon. He jumped up, ran straight at me, made a 90 degree turn several feet from me and ran into the brush, circled me woofing while concealed in the thick foliage then slipped off. About 3 hours later
( 10:00 P.M. ) we began tracking him. Several hours that night and several hours the next day and a total of about 150 yards before we lost his trail.

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