I've searched the forums and while there are tid-bits scattered here and there in a number of threads, there isn't one thread on baiting with popcorn (unless I missed it). So here it is: "the baiting with popcorn thread"; hopefully this thread saves someone money, time and effort.
After reading some of Jess's posts about the success Bait'em 907 has had with popcorn and later talking with her in person, i decided to try out popcorn for the first time last year. Unbeknownst to me, my hunting partner started using it to top off his bait barrel over a mixture of pastries and cob.
I've baited in a few states and historically used the same baiting ingredients as most bear baiters: dog food, dough-nuts, day-old bread, cakes and pastries, marshmallows, cob, grain, etc. I've also used molasses, pancake syrup, bacon grease, white and brown sugar, Kool-aid, liquid smoke, peanut butter and vanilla. I've also used deep-fryer cooking oil, but I won't use it in Alaska as IMO it attracts to many brown bears. Each of these baits work, but they are heavy, consume both time and space, and generally prove to be expensive unless your one of the few who find a source that offers the items listed above at reduced rates or in some cases free.
2011 brings a new year and I'm ready for popcorn. I figure buying a 50lb bag of popcorn for $15-$18 and using the one bag to fill a couple bait barrels is much better than spending $17-$20 (or more) per bag of cob and/or dog food. Besides being cheaper, my back will also last longer and allow me to venture farther from my vehicle and get away from other hunters.
Last year I prepared popcorn on the stove and mixed it with Kool-Aid, vanilla, and pancake syrup in a plastic bag before adding it to my bait. I was hooked when I saw pictures of bears lying down eating popcorn one kernel at a time on my hunting partners bait stand. I don't know about you, but if popcorn keeps bears at the bait longer due to the time it takes them to fill their stomachs, I'm all in.
Anyone care to share tips, tricks, or thoughts about the pro's and con's of baiting with popcorn? What kind do you use - mushroom style or butterfly style? If you use mushroom style, where is your source for it in Alaska? I've yet to find it. (Mushroom style has a larger, rounder kernel and doesn't have wings that can break off like movie theater popcorn). Lastly, does anyone use Kettle corn? If so, please post or send me a pm as I recently bought a kettle corn machine and plan to start working on baiting recipes in the next few weeks.