Pre-season hunting prep: black bear baiting tips and tactics
Bear hunters, like most hunters, can be pretty rigid in their opinions on what works and what doesn’t. The topic they are most likely to take a staunch stand on is, of course, baiting. What foods to put out to draw bruins in is a hot topic, and after chatting with plenty of folks who know more than I do on the subject, I’ve drawn a few conclusions.
While bears will eat just about anything resembling food that you leave in the woods for them, they have their preferences. Doughnuts are just fine, however, if you can get your hands on something with a little more nutritional value and variety, you’ll be better off. A personal favorite of mine is trail mix that contains plenty of nuts, dried fruits, and candies. No matter what I bait with it seems as if there is trail mix on site, they’ll eat it first before going after gummies, candy, frosting or pastries.
This makes sense because even though they may not know they are doing it, they are trying to eat as many of the right calories in each sitting in order to better prepare for hibernation.
Using bait like trail mix also has an added advantage being that it is composed of countless tiny pieces. Bears need to work to fill their bellies, and they need to devote more time to your bait site. This increases the odds of a bear spending more daylight hours at your site and potentially in your sights.
Lastly, providing something with more nutritional value than a bunch of stale cookies is a great way to not only beat the hunting competition, but also draw the biggest bears into your area. Prime food sources tend to get claimed by animals that can kick all of the other animals’ butts. Big boars are no different and often will claim a site that offers the right food, which is a good thing if you’re the one providing it.