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Thread: Looking for some guidance.

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    Default Looking for some guidance.

    Howdy everyone.

    I have been scouring this forum, and any local face to face information I can get, but I cannot find the bears.

    I have a bait station registered and set up for several weeks now in the Jim Creek area, across the marsh at Jim lake, and I have seen neither hide nor hair of a bear. This is also an incredibly hard spot to access.

    I am thinking of registering a station just west of the Susitna river, west of Sunshine, just below the bridge. Does anyone know this area; are there any bears here?

    I am willing to put in the work, and I have been. I am doing this to get meat for my family, we love bear ribs, and we even render the fat to make cookies/biscuits/pie crusts, etc...

    If I am looking in all the wrong places, please feel free to correct me, and if you would be willing to lead me to a hot spot, I would gladly follow.

    I am willing to travel about anywhere, north to trapper creek, or south to Kenai.

    Thank you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HuntingAlaska View Post
    Howdy everyone.

    I have been scouring this forum, and any local face to face information I can get, but I cannot find the bears.

    I have a bait station registered and set up for several weeks now in the Jim Creek area, across the marsh at Jim lake, and I have seen neither hide nor hair of a bear. This is also an incredibly hard spot to access.

    I am thinking of registering a station just west of the Susitna river, west of Sunshine, just below the bridge. Does anyone know this area; are there any bears here?

    I am willing to put in the work, and I have been. I am doing this to get meat for my family, we love bear ribs, and we even render the fat to make cookies/biscuits/pie crusts, etc...

    If I am looking in all the wrong places, please feel free to correct me, and if you would be willing to lead me to a hot spot, I would gladly follow.

    I am willing to travel about anywhere, north to trapper creek, or south to Kenai.

    Thank you.
    My best advice....have patience! It's only mid May. You would do well to keep putting out scent, the sweeter the better, and it's not possible to over do it.

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    I would try to stay away from places that are loud, and heavily used by recreationalists.. Bears will move away from sustained and loud noise, and people ofc too... But that is just me..

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    Hmm, you make a good point Devaro... I do like bears more than I like people

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    I agree with you Frostbitten, I know that bears show up often at the end of May in this area, but I am leaning more towards moving due to the overuse, and inaccessibility of my spot; I do not mind a hike, but I picked a spot where I paddle ~1 mile across a lake and then hike ~1 mile through the marsh. Its not the hardest thing to do, but I believe there are better spots out there, where I could really enjoy the solitude and beauty that Alaska has to offer, but...then I have to balance that with having to carry in a bait station

    I am planning to raft the little Su this weekend until next, and hopefully catch some fish and see some wildlife. I need to get my new station set up first, however.

    "I am thinking of registering a station just west of the Susitna river, west of Sunshine, just below the bridge. Does anyone know this area; are there any bears here?" I am still wondering about this area though, I would like to take my family and camp on one of the islands below the bridge, and set up a station on the west of the river in 16A. If anyone knows the feasibility of the area as far as having many bears, my ears are open!

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    I have a few questions for ya..
    #1 is this a "first year" station (unestablished) this can slow the bears hitting it (we often see first hits early june-mid june on first year stations).

    #2 what is you bait of choice (simple dog food works but not as good as something with lots of scent, sweats, etc).

    #3 have you cut tracks anywhere near your station (remember bears in that area are still working hill side areas that have left over berries from last year as well as fresh vegetation from this year) I always try to bait away from salmon streams as bears have lots of ample food to choose from between fish, beaver, otter, greens etc). Can these types of stations be successful.. hell yes but it takes time, patience and lots of scent to draw them in over already ample food sources).

    #4 point of entry/exit are you using the same trail each time? we try to mix things up and take different trails in and out and switch things up. We also try to hang sweaty clothes when we initially set the station up to allow the bears time to feel less threatened by our scent.

    #5 have you created scent trails (or food trails) we like to drag scent rags all over our entry/exit areas and scatter goodies a few hundred yards around the station this becomes an enabler to get them fixed on the station and associate it with an easy meal.


    As for suggestions (why not keep that station active and monitor it until hit) set a 2nd station up (lots of areas that have accessibility for you with a raft/canoe. Little willow, willow creek (both 14B) etc etc have ample bears (some more brown than black) and the possibilities increase the further north you go (Unit 16 where you are able to bait well into aug/sep if you are a meat hunter like myself.)

    "Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons."

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    Quote Originally Posted by ProHunterAK View Post
    I have a few questions for ya..
    #1 is this a "first year" station (unestablished) this can slow the bears hitting it (we often see first hits early june-mid june on first year stations).
    This is an unestablished station, and I am not too surprised that I have not had any hits yet this early in the season.

    #2 what is you bait of choice (simple dog food works but not as good as something with lots of scent, sweats, etc).
    I placed bacon flavored dog food on the station, and did a burn of butter flavored shortening. I am also at the moment making a favorite bait, for both me and the bears, and I would be willing to share it with the forums as a bit of a peace offering, as I am new to the forums, but not to the outdoors/hunting/way of the bear.

    Take a large bag of popcorn, large trash bag sized, and divide it into some buckets/totes/something you can get eternally sticky and not break the bank over.

    Take 2 cups of brown sugar, 1/2 cup karo syrup/corn syrup, and two sticks of butter/margarine which is 1 cup of butter, (you could use shortening if it's just for the bears, but it does not mix with the other ingredients very well at all.)
    [That is for one serving, or about 20 cups of popped popcorn, so if you make about 3-4 servings and spread it out over the entire bag, it should be fine]

    So for the entire bag, you would do 8 cups brown sugar, 1 1/2 cups corn syrup, and four cups of butter/margarine/shortening.

    Combine these items [brown sugar, corn syrup, butter] in a LARGE pan, on medium heat on a stovetop, or rather around 325 degrees Fahrenheit depending on what your cooker says. It will begin to boil pretty heavy, and when it does, let it boil without stirring it for 5 minutes, and no more.

    Add three teaspoons of salt at the five minute mark, and 2-3 tablespoons of vanilla/imitation vanilla.

    Pour the mixture over the popcorn in the buckets, and do not try to mix it in a garbage bag, IT WILL MELT THE BAG!!! (After you have ignored that warning, seek immediate medical attention for the grease burns, and invite an animal to clean up the perpetually sticky mess you have created EVERYWHERE, and then get yourself checked for Tourette's.) The actual drum which you intend for baiting would be a great alternative to buckets for mixing the popcorn.

    The mixture dries extremely fast to anything that it gets on, but if done right, it will remain sticky, and not harden/crystallize, BUT stir/mix fast. It smells like heaven, and if you fell into your boiling vat of popcorn, you may indeed be there already.

    It's a great treat to eat for you and the bears, and making a mess of it along the way only helps to bring them in, as they follow my Joshua trail-mix. (It's actually caramel popcorn, but I had to get my name in there somewhere.)

    #3 have you cut tracks anywhere near your station (remember bears in that area are still working hill side areas that have left over berries from last year as well as fresh vegetation from this year) I always try to bait away from salmon streams as bears have lots of ample food to choose from between fish, beaver, otter, greens etc). Can these types of stations be successful.. hell yes but it takes time, patience and lots of scent to draw them in over already ample food sources).
    I have not seen signs of anything but moose, moose, and more moose. That is a good tip on baiting away from salmon streams, I figured they would already be there, and so they may stop along the way for dessert.


    #4 point of entry/exit are you using the same trail each time? we try to mix things up and take different trails in and out and switch things up. We also try to hang sweaty clothes when we initially set the station up to allow the bears time to feel less threatened by our scent.
    I have entered from three separate directions, the bog, the trees, and the canoe trail.

    #5 have you created scent trails (or food trails) we like to drag scent rags all over our entry/exit areas and scatter goodies a few hundred yards around the station this becomes an enabler to get them fixed on the station and associate it with an easy meal.
    I may have had a bag of dog food tear open and bit and leave a trail of bread crumbs so to speak

    As for suggestions (why not keep that station active and monitor it until hit) set a 2nd station up (lots of areas that have accessibility for you with a raft/canoe. Little willow, willow creek (both 14B) etc etc have ample bears (some more brown than black) and the possibilities increase the further north you go (Unit 16 where you are able to bait well into aug/sep if you are a meat hunter like myself.)
    I am looking heavily into 16A, as it allows for the killing of grizzly's over a station, and I prefer that for my safety as much as anything, and as you mentioned, it offers the extended baiting season so it is a win/win.

    Thank you for the tips!

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    where you are baiting you do have pressure (you may not think you do but trust me you have pressure). A bait hunter once told me if you were a bear would you want run of the mill McDonalds or to go across the street and eat at the steak house... I told him well the steak house of course. Bears think the same way and I have found in areas where there are large congregations of bait sites (Maud road, Z lake RD etc etc) you really have to up the ante to have a steady flow of bears as there are several other "dining halls" that they are able to choose from... We run the standard dog food, popcorn, etc however we also do quite a bit of "treat shopping" at local stores (stuff that just hit the sell by date so its heavily discounted) we toss a few dozen donuts, cakes pies etc in with our bait to really grab that sweet tooth. Just a few ideas as the season is still young and sometimes figuring out the bears is all that is needed to have a successful season. Good luck and hopefully you can put the puzzle together and connect.

    "Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons."

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    That is good advice ProHunter, I will stick with it and try to bring them in with some added coaxing, plus try out another area.

    Good luck with your hunts, I will try to remember to post a picture if I get something worth showing.

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    sent you a email HuntingAlaska since you cant accept Private Messages. if you ever have any questions you can shoot me a email Ryan@BoarsBucksandBruins.com

    "Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons."

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    #5 have you created scent trails (or food trails) we like to drag scent rags all over our entry/exit areas and scatter goodies a few hundred yards around the station this becomes an enabler to get them fixed on the station and associate it with an easy meal.

    I am also a big fan of a scent trail. I usually take 4-5 old socks (clean) tie them together at the top with a 5 ft rope and take chip grease (any strong sent will do) and dip the socks in the grease and drag it in many directions for a long way. If a bear crosses the grease trail, they will follow it back to your bait and if an animal crosses the grease trail and get it on their feet, they will extend your sent trail even farther. The farther I take the sent trail the more bears I see and take.

    Hope this helps

    Bearbob

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    There's a lot of bears in your area. There's also a lot of stations; i bet there's at least 20 being accessed from Maude Rd. Baiting the hillside I've never connected before May 17. It usually takes longer for the lower stations to get hit hard, at least I think so. You should do really well by June 10th.

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    just got back from my station in 16 set it last weekend already hit this weekend (very early for us as we usually do not see activity that far north until june). This was a green station (1st year set up) and also set our 2nd yesterday night around midnight. Starting to finally see some tracks on the way in (we are several miles back). our station in 14A still has yet to be hit (also green station but no other baits for a few miles). It will take time do not get frustrated.

    "Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons."

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    Thanks for the chat ProHunter, I am always grateful when someone is willing to point me in the right direction. If you get into a situation where you need another set of hands, feel free to call.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BEARBOB View Post
    #5 have you created scent trails (or food trails) we like to drag scent rags all over our entry/exit areas and scatter goodies a few hundred yards around the station this becomes an enabler to get them fixed on the station and associate it with an easy meal.

    I am also a big fan of a scent trail. I usually take 4-5 old socks (clean) tie them together at the top with a 5 ft rope and take chip grease (any strong sent will do) and dip the socks in the grease and drag it in many directions for a long way. If a bear crosses the grease trail, they will follow it back to your bait and if an animal crosses the grease trail and get it on their feet, they will extend your sent trail even farther. The farther I take the sent trail the more bears I see and take.

    Hope this helps

    Bearbob
    I will definitely be adding that to my bag of tricks. I knew about using bait balls and letting the bears carry the scent around themselves, but not leaving my own trail of scent along the way, it will certainly expand my range.

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    Glad we were able to chat and hopefully you are able to connect this year. I know it can be tough and frustrating when you see others getting hammered and bears dropping at stations near your area. Just keep a positive attitude about it and never hesitate to ask questions.. the only stupid question is one that was never asked. If all else fails there are several GMU's that are open for extended baiting seasons if you are mainly after meat (like you stated on the phone). My family is strictly a meat hunting family and we consider any animal taken to be a trophy. Best of luck and welcome to the forum!

    "Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons."

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    So, I just returned from an intensive three day bear hunt, which was unsuccessful... and I found that my bear proof garbage was molested by a black bear.

    Touche world, touche.

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    Have you tried "knockout" scent?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wet eNuf View Post
    Have you tried "knockout" scent?
    I have not tried it, but I wasn't actually baiting those three days; I was hiking all over 16A in hopes of finding a track, or a scrape, or a clump of fur so that I could establish a new bait station. All that I found was a MASSIVE 20"+ rainbow trout floating down a stream that had been attacked by??? something. Whatever did it was likely raccoon sized, as the trout had a large piece between his dorsal and adipose fin missing, but it was still alive, perhaps it was a failed attempt by an eagle.

    Does "knockout" work well? I have heard of some of the name brand stuff, but wondered if it was worth it.

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    Hunting yes it does work well to help the bears locate the site. once it is located its just a matter of keeping them fed and happy. Koolaid on the bait, molasses on the bait etc just keeps the bears happy. We always dump a pile of dog food in front of the barrel and lather it up really well with molasses as they will step in it and create additional scent trails for other bears to also find the station (make the bear work for you).

    "Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons."

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