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Thread: Baits, bait combos & site setup

  1. #1
    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Default Baits, bait combos & site setup

    I'm getting back into spring bear hunting this year and am curious to see what others are doing.

    In the past I've had success with drawing in blackies and avoiding grizzlies by following the advice to avoid meat and meat smells. I don't know how true that is but in 4 seasons of activity I never saw a grizz or grizz track at my baits.

    I use a suspended barrel. My rationale is not to waste bait (and effort) on cubs and magpies. I hang my barrel so the opening is armpit high on me...I'm 5'10". I figure any bear that can get the bait is close to being a shooter. I like to find a spot with 3 close growing birches near some piney cover. I don't want the bear feeling too exposed. The 3 birches is where I hang the barrel. Then I find a good tree nearby to hang my stand in.
    The best is a birch with a spruce or two right behind it for breaking your silhouette when you're in the stand. I try and orient my site so that I can approach from downwind or at least crosswind.

    For bait I use horse grain w/molasses. To that I add a gallon of Costco immitation maple syrup and an 8 ounce bottle of vanilla extract. Then I pour a second bottle of vanilla over the barrel. I also use a scent drip system. I borrowed the idea from the whitetail hunters that use the doe-in-heat drippers.

    I take a 2 liter soda bottle and fill it with a syrup made from a canister of of presweetened cherry or grape Koolaid. With an awl I punch a hole in the cap and run a 4 foot length of yarn through the hole. I use duct tape and coat hanger to make a hanging loop on the bottom, then I take a spare cap off of another bottle for transport and swap out at the stand. At the site I hang this bottle at least 12 feet high. On average it take about 4 days for the liquid to wick completely away. This year I'm going to try the bear magnet in anise.

    I also rake away the leaf clutter in front of the barrel down to bare dirt so I can measure track size. I have even hauled in river sand for this purpose.

    The last thing I do is pile up some pine boughs and leaves under the bait.

    The reason for this is I take the rule about removing the bait "including contaminated soil" seriously. I do not want a ticket. The boughs and leaves contain any incidental liquids and after baiting season is over I burn that spot after I remove the barrel. No residual bait smells and no digging.

    I tried doing honey burns but they were more work than they worth. I am considering popping some popcorn at the site this year since that is a powerful aroma.

  2. #2

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    My bait stations are up in the foothills of Mt Beluga if I wait until mid to late May the brownies have pretty much all headed down to the Tal so they usually aren't a problem. I pack all my bait & gear in from our place so I think I'm going to use popcorn popped in old fry grease for bait with some kool-aid to spice things up. A couple of days before I start hunting I'll go up and clear out shooting lanes and do some kool-aid burns to get the things smelled up good. Most of my stations are right at treeline in super thick alders so I use what ever I find on site to build cribs for the bait. I like that way better I can almost always set them so the bear has to come in from the side giving me a lung shot.
    Chuck

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    Member pike_palace's Avatar
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    You mentioned honey burns. I would recommend a molasses burn. It burn much longer and puts out a much sweeter smell. First time I tried it I had a blackie come in 20 min later from the direction the smoke was blowing, so I'm a believer.

    I've done a fair amount of baiting in 16B and it seems the browns will clean you out every night if you have bait on the ground. But come day time they aren't anywhere to be found. I'll have to get my trail cam pics on here.
    "Ya can't stop a bad guy with a middle finger and a bag of quarters!!!!"- Ted Nugent.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by pike_palace View Post
    You mentioned honey burns. I would recommend a molasses burn. It burn much longer and puts out a much sweeter smell. First time I tried it I had a blackie come in 20 min later from the direction the smoke was blowing, so I'm a believer.
    It is also a fraction of the cost of honey.
    Chuck

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    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies! BTW Hiline that bear in your avatar has a nice big head!

    I forgot to mention that a hung barrel makes the bears stand up which gives the hunter a good opportunity to check for swollen teats if a wet sow comes in. Not an issue in predator control areas, but generally we avoid shooting wet sows.

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    Default what about feeders on timers?

    I keep thinking that for guys with brown bears, who seem to be more reclusive, that using a feeder on a timer might work. You know the ones they set on tripods for deer. Set the timer to spread food during daylight hours.
    Maybe sounds dumb, I don't know. In all my years baiting I've never had a grizzly come in so I have not had to worry about it.
    Has anybody used one?

  7. #7
    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ak River Rat View Post
    I keep thinking that for guys with brown bears, who seem to be more reclusive, that using a feeder on a timer might work. You know the ones they set on tripods for deer. Set the timer to spread food during daylight hours.
    Maybe sounds dumb, I don't know. In all my years baiting I've never had a grizzly come in so I have not had to worry about it.
    Has anybody used one?
    Gr. after you get a griz to visit your timed feeder you won't have one any more..
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

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  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Erik in AK View Post
    Thanks for the replies! BTW Hiline that bear in your avatar has a nice big head!
    It was until a brownie broke into the woodshed and destroyed the hide & skull. My boys found what was left of the hide the following spring while out gathering fiddleheads, never did find the skull.
    Chuck

  9. #9
    Member pike_palace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vince View Post
    Gr. after you get a griz to visit your timed feeder you won't have one any more..
    Grizz. can get a barrel chained to a tree off if your chain isn't strong enough. Went in one time to the bait and it was gone. Found the barrel a hundred or so yards away all bent up and stomped one.
    "Ya can't stop a bad guy with a middle finger and a bag of quarters!!!!"- Ted Nugent.

  10. #10
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    Default keep it safe

    bears, as strong as they are, are not superman. Hang something high enough and they can't reach it. A cable strung between 2 trees at 15' or more allows you to hang stuff they can't reach.
    Or wrap a tree with sheet metal where a bear can't get started up a tree and whatever you put above it is pretty safe.
    The tripod I'd probably leave at home and figure out another way to hang the feeder up high. Just a thought.

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