How you set up your bait site is key in order for you to successfully harvest a black bear. Here’s our top 5 tips on setting up your bear bait site for success.
Baiting bears in Wisconsin vs Canada vs other states can drastically vary depending on regulations. As always make sure you read your state’s regulations through and through before baiting.
1. Location, Location, Location
When choosing a location for a bait site you’ll want to keep an eye out for three these three things.
First, natural foods. Bears like berries, acorns, hazelnuts and other natural foods and if they’re in the area it will naturally keep the bear closer to your bait site.
Secondly, low terrain and water. Bears travel long distances typically using corridors in low lying areas and near waterways.
Lastly, thick brush. As big as they are you’d be shocked at what they crawl through. Thick brush provides security making the bear feel comfortable when going to your bait site.
2. Stand Placement
Now that you’ve found a location that is the ideal setup consider where your stand might go. Will you be hunting with a gun or bow, this could be a big difference in yards. How will you enter your site when you’re hunting, you’ll want to keep this the same as when you’re baiting. Your scent should be your biggest concern when setting a site up, it can easily make or break your season. You’ll want to be down wind from the site to ensure that no bears will wind you while you’re hunting.
You’ll want to get your stand placement right the first time. Moving your site 10 yards later in the season usually doesn’t result in any implications. However, if you place your site without considering where your stand will go and come to realize a week or two before your season that your site needs to be moved 20 yards away from its original location, could result in bears to become wary and quit visiting in daylight hours.
3. Bait Site Setup
How you enclose your bait is different for every state and Canada so be sure you read your regulations as to what is and isn’t allowed. When baiting bears in Wisconsin you are required to use natural materials to enclose your bait. This could mean digging a hole in the ground and covering it with logs and rocks or using a hollow stump with a log topper. This is to prevent other critters from accessing the bait and trust me you will have deer, birds, fishers, and sooooo many raccoons trying to access the bait.
Make sure to consider what the best setup may be while taking rain and mud into consideration. A site that is too low lying may turn into a pigpen after just a few weeks of baiting which bears do not care to lay in. Also, once your bait gets wet, mold starts to set in turning off bears from coming to your site. To prevent this, I recommend using a strong hollow stump with a log topper on both ends and a few heavy rocks on the top. This method prevents the bait from getting wet while also preventing raccoons and other critters from digging under the stump trying to get to the bait.
4. Choosing Bait
When choosing a bait variety is key as well as basing it off their natural behavior. Spring is the perfect time to put out low quantities and “lighter” baits, like cereals, just enough for a snack without it being over filling, plus it saves you a few extra bucks and a back ache.
Summer is when most hunters start baiting, as the berries start to ripen making it the ideal time to match what you find in the woods. Raspberry, blueberry or any fruit filling are great products to use during this time.
As many of us have experienced, about two weeks before the season opener, your number of bears typically decrease as more of their natural foods ripen. This is the time which can make or break your entire season. In preparation for winter bears start to seek out foods high in protein and fats to help put winter weight on fast. This is typically acorns, and other nuts and seeds. Stay ahead of the game by providing them with high quality bait filled with nuts, seeds and other foods like oils that are high in proteins or fats.
5. Always Use Scent Lures
Of course no matter the season you should always put out scent every time you bait, let me say that again. Always put scent out every time you bait. From sprays to smears, scent is your biggest driver to get more bears into your bait site. Not only that but scent is also an indicator to bears that you baited recently which encourages them to go check it out sooner than later. Check out our top scents here.
Any tips or tricks you’ve learned, drop them in the comments below!
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