Complete Bear Hunting System

Baiting Black Bears

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Black bears are considered dangerous predators and some areas of North America allow hunting black bears during declared hunting seasons. Bears are hunted in different ways such as spot and stalk or baiting. The method chosen by the hunter depends on many factors such as age of the hunter, his physical condition, the type of terrain, and of course hunterís preference.

It is a widely believed misconception that bait hunting is for hunters with poor or limited mobility or handicapped hunters. Hunter preference and local gaming laws decide the method adopted by the hunter. If you are on a hunting expedition looking for moose or caribou and would also like to take a black bear if presented with an opportunity, you probably will be spot and stalk hunting.

Hunting with bait is a controversial and much debated subject. There are some who consider baiting as unethical, giving the hunter unfair advantage and violating the fair chase ethics. However both forms of hunting are effective for completely different reasons. Hunters who are older and unable to hike long distances over demanding terrain might prefer hunting using bait stations for hunting black bears. In some habitats due to the thick forest cover spotting and stalking is ruled out and hence using bait is more practical. In places such as beaches, coastal areas, mountainous terrain and hillsides it is easy to spot the bear with the scope and stalk it before taking a shot. Even hunters who love the outdoors and prefer to see a variety of animals in the wild like moose, mountain goat, sheep, caribou, might set up baits in certain areas for targeting a record book trophy black bear.

Baiting is an excellent option as it allows hunters to be selective for the size, evaluate the quality of the hide, determine if itís a sow with cubs, and offers the hunter a clean shot for quick kill.

Setting bait stations: The first thing that you have to do is familiarize yourself with the hunting regulations covering use of bait to hunt black bears. The next step is registering your bait station. Itís your responsibility to maintain the baiting station and also clean it. In some places it is mandatory for the hunters to attend a bear-baiting clinic to get a registration permit. At the most two permits are issued to a hunter. Incase you choose to relocate your bait station, report the change to the authorities.

Location: Hunting regulations require the bait to be located at least a quarter of a mile away from the roads and public trails and at least a mile away from human habitation such as camp grounds, seasonal cabins, and recreational areas. Establishing bait stations well away from the trails, in fact miles away, is a better idea. Scouting will help you locate spots with a good source of water, like streams, rivers, and marshy wetlands are ideal. The area should have ample food source and a heavy forest cover. Claw marks are also a good indicator of bear presence. Generally bears travel for miles along waterways, ridges and valleys.

In some places such as Alberta, you can set up your bait two weeks before the hunting season opens.

Bait recipes: Bears are omnivorous and can polish off everything from meat to bread and even pastries. Bears have highly developed olfactory organs and can sense food from miles away. Make sure that the bait has a strong odor or stink. Beavers are a staple diet of black bears and a decaying beaver carcass combined with rotting fish guts serves as great bait. Last but not the least, pour a bucket of grease or cooking oil around the bait to create a trail to lure other bears. Bait station can be a simple barrel camouflaged with logs and branches allowing the bear to dig out a small amount of food at a time.

Tree stands: Place the tree stand at least 20 yards away from the bait. The tree stand should be sufficiently elevated to offer clear visibility and should also blend in with the surroundings to avoid detection. Having a full body safety harness is highly recommended to avoid accidents.

Choose a bear: Judging the size of the bear is difficult in the wild. Smaller bears will appear to have larger ears whereas larger bears will appear to have smaller ears when compared to their head. In smaller bears the ears to nose triangle will be skinny compared to broader triangles in mature fully-grown bears. Larger bears have short stocky legs, rounded head and their belly will appear closer to the ground. Larger bears move slowly yet confidently. If you are looking for a quality hide wait and see both the sides of the bear before taking a shot. The bearís vital organs are less protected when its front legs are stepping forward. It is recommended that archers take a broadside shot, as less penetration is required to reach the heart and lungs. Hunters using a firearm may take a broadside shot or a quartering away shot. Proficiency in handling the firearm and knowing the basic anatomy of the bear will result in perfect shot placement for a quick and effective kill. Baiting is further discussed on video and book in The Black Bear Hunting Encyclopedia.

Posted November 30, -1 by Justin Ott

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