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Location: Christiansburg, VA
Joined: 10/03/2002
Posts: 2
Need even more basics

I just moved to Virgina from Kansas and I have never even seen a bear in the wild. I have been given permission to hunt an area that is suposed to have bear, around 60 acres of nothing but trees and a creek. How find them, when to hunt, where to set up, what are the best calls, do they bother you when walking in in the dark, ect... I'm hunting alone and with a bow.

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Joined: 01/27/2002
Posts: 7916
Need even more basics

Hi SeventhTrumpet welcome to the board.

The first thing you should do is find out if bear baiting is legal in Virginia and what the season is. Typically most regions will have either a fall or spring black bear hunt or sometimes both. Fall bear hunting usually starts now (or November). Spring usually sometime in March.

If baiting is legal, please read some of the other topics in this black bear forum. There is good discussion on what works for bait. Baiting is probably your best bet if it is legal and your new to bear hunting.

If baiting is not legal. Then calling and/or spot/stalk is your best bet. With calling use predator calls that emulate mammels in distress (such as rabbits, deer).

Scout your hunting area in advance looking for bear sign (tracks, crap) and perhaps setup a treestand near where you have seen fresh sign. If calling in bears (or any other game) it is critical that you setup in any area where you believe there has recently been bears. They gotta hear you to be an effective caller...

If you are concerned about your safety, you may want to carry a sidearm as well. Blastmaster wrote up some good thoughts on that subject in one of the other topics, check it out...

[ This Message was edited by: moderator on 2002-10-05 11:42 ]

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Location: Christiansburg, VA
Joined: 10/03/2002
Posts: 2
Need even more basics

I have read all the other posts in this forum already and they have given me a good start. As far as I have been able to tell, you are allowed to feed (bait) as long as you dont hunt over the food or on a trail that directly leeds to the food.
When you talk about calling, is it okay to call from a treestand or is that too abvious to the bear that somethingis wrong? Do you make short bursts on a distress call or try and sond off for a long time? I have heard and read both.

[ This Message was edited by: SeventhTrumpet on 2002-10-07 16:18 ]

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Joined: 01/27/2002
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Need even more basics

Well it sounds like baiting is illegal in Virgina with regards to hunting, since you would most likely be hunting near or over the bait area.

One could argue that using a bait area then calling the bear to you (from a few thousand yards) would not be baiting. However that is probably a stretch and could get you into hot water. So better check in advance with the wildlife officers.

As far as what type of calling to do. It depends on the distance from you and the bear. Long blasts to cover the distance (so the bear can hear you), then perhaps shorter blasts when you are in visual range. I say "perhaps" shorter blasts up close, because it really depends on how the bear reacts when your close. If the bruin keeps coming with long blasts, keep using them! Wink

Calling takes time and practice and will be helped by prescouting. It is critical to verify that there are bears in the area you will be hunting (say within a 1-2 mile radius), since they have to hear the call for it to be effective. You could be laying down a perfect rabbit squeal and if the bears don't hear it, you may think your calling isn't working.

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Location: West Carleton, Ottawa, Canada
Joined: 12/23/2002
Posts: 1264
Need even more basics

Back home bears would eat oats too before they ripened and were still green and pulpy. If you could find such an oat field check it for sign - bears in a green oat field leave a trail like a mini twister. They'd lie on their backs and pull the grain down into their mouths and strip it. It was hilarious to watch.

This may give you the benefits of baiting without any of the legal issues. Check with the Fish Cops first though to be sure.

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