NEW BEAR BAIT IS ACTIVE!
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BLACK BEAR HUNTING TECHNIQUES
Black bear hunting is better now than it has been at any point in recent history,Conservation efforts and management programs have been very effective in restoring the black bear. Populations are increasing and ranges are being expanded in most areas. This is being reflected in record numbers of bears taken and also in the sizes of bears being harvested."
You can improve your chances of bagging a bruin by following some basic guidelines. If you're new at this game, you should first study several good books on bear hunting, research the sport on the Internet and/or pick the brain of other hunters.
Spend time scouting for signs of bear activity in the area you intend to hunt. Look for some of the food sources mentioned above, take note of their location and check to see if they've been visited. Watch for bear tracks around watering holes. Large, soft black droppings full of seeds and acorn shells also are an indicative sign. Droppings often are found on logs, along with hair left when bears sun themselves. Bears sometimes scar tree trunks with their teeth and claws, another sign that can help bear hunters locate a promising area.
When hunting, remember that bears have keen senses of hearing and smell, and are highly attuned to anything out of place in their environment. Always hunt downwind from the area where you expect a bear will show itself. Also to prevent a bear from winding you, try one of the products deer hunters use to mask or eliminate human odor. Some hunters actually use the bear's sense of hearing to their advantage by using predator calls that imitate injured rabbits. Bears sometimes are attracted to these.
Where baiting is allowed, you might want to consider giving this a try after checking specific
regulations for the area you'll hunt. A wide variety of baits can be used, but most hunters opt for a mix of several things. Combinations might include honey, bacon grease, fish, pastries, meat scraps, apples and peanut butter, to name just a few. And when possible, the hunter should obtain baits in quantity. Restaurants often will provide old grease and food scraps, old pastries and doughnuts may be available at bakeries, and farms and orchards are good sources for fruits and vegetables not suitable for sale but very suitable for bear consumption.
The hunter should give in-depth consideration to the location of his bait station. Ask
yourself, is there a blind location downwind from the bait? Are alternate locations available in other directions if the wind shifts? Is there thick cover nearby? (Bears rarely travel far from cover.) Is the bait likely to be found by other hunters? Is the locale easy to haul bait to?
Don't expect much action if you create your bait station just before the season opens. Where allowed, it's best to start baiting up to 30 days prior to the season in order to accustom bears to the bait. And remember, sometimes a bear takes weeks to cover its home range and encounter a bait site, so don't give up. Baits should be replenished at least once every three days to keep bears in the area.
Baiting does not guarantee you'll harvest a bear. A hunter sitting near a bait pile still must use all his hunting skills to increase the odds for success. Bears are typically very cautious when they approach a bait site, so the hunter must stay alert and watch very closely to avoid being caught off guard when a stealthy bruin appears, as many hunters describe it, "silently out of nowhere." Use the utmost stealth, moving quietly and cautiously, or a bear may leave before you ever see it.
Happy Hunting - 2011
My first black bear experience is one I will never forget, as it was also my first real “big game” hunt.
It all started when scuba dive friends inviting me to their hunting oasis in the beautiful boreal forest of Northern Ontario. As you can imagine, I had the biggest grin on my face that spanned ear to ear. I have only been hunting a few years, sticking to local waterfowl and small game. Going away to a hunting camp for a week would be quite the new challenge. This trip would also mark the first time I’d be bow hunting and shooting from a tree stand. All these new aspects made me that much more excited to go on this new adventure.
My brother Jarrod and I made the twelve-hour drive north, arriving at camp mid-morning. After such a long haul we were both exhausted but knew we had a lot of prep work ahead of us, including setting up our tree stands and checking on the bait piles. After trekking through the forest on the ATV, over the not-so-groomed yet fun to ride on trails, we reached my bait pile. We then set up my ladder stand and I made my first ever ascent onto a tree stand. I sat down and for a few precious minutes simply took in the incredible scenery outstretched in front of me. The sun was shining through the trees, highlighting their autumn colours. The sound of the ravens echoing in the area sent shivers down my spine. At that moment, I knew what brought people to bow hunt. From below our friend Brian yelled, “We don’t have all day! What branches do you need cleared away?” I had him set up a target so I could range how far things were and feel what it was like to shoot from a stand. Once all our stands were ready and the bait topped off, we headed back to camp. I quickly unpacked and caught a quick siesta before heading out for the evening’s hunt.
The first two days we had zero activity, which I didn’t really mind, as I was
still trying to take in the new breathtaking views and sounds. The evening of the third day was the first time I had any activity, only it wasn’t a bear. In fact, I have no clue what it was! I heard a noise that went from Point A to Point B in a split second, but I didn’t see anything. At this point, with adrenaline suddenly coursing through my body, I thought my heart was going to come through my chest. Later on back at camp, Brian informed me that it was a marten. The next morning we checked our piles but unlike the previous days, this time my bait was gone and the logs were rearranged. I was ecstatic. Finally something large enough to move the logs had visited my site and I couldn’t wait to get up in my stand.
That afternoon, my harness strapped to the tree, I sat perfectly still and quiet as I had done the evenings prior. After a couple hours I remember thinking how boring this was getting. My outdoor adventures normally consist of chatting with the boys during intermissions when hunting waterfowl. I recall silently praying to the bear gods asking them to help me out a little. Another hour passed and it was getting hard to hear if anything was coming, as the sound of the ravens continued to echo like crazy. Feeling cozy up in my stand, I briefly glanced at my bait and rested my eyes. It was then I heard a familiar beautiful sound overhead: geese migrating south. I watched the flock continue past the treetops and out of sight before going back to the long blinks for a good thirty seconds. As it was nearing the end of shooting time once again, I slowly rolled my head back to get a final look at my bait. Immediately my eyes were wide with amazement. My heart was pounding wildly through my chest and I was suddenly no longer tired.
Coming down the trail, quietly following his nose to my bait, was a beautiful black bear. My hands began to shake so bad I thought I was going to drop my bow. I watched as the bear picked up his head to look at me and (thankfully) concluded I was not a threat. He could not however resist the smell of all that food. As he turned his back to me I slowly drew my Excalibur Phoenix and put the cross hairs on him. He was quartered away from me and there was no way as a newbie I was going to wait for a broad side shot. I pulled the trigger and unleashed the Gold Tip with a razor sharp G5 broadhead. The bear didn’t move, dropping right on the spot. He didn’t even make a sound. I got on the radio and informed the boys, “I got one!” I knew there was only seven minutes left of shooting time but I was too excited to wait to tell them. When the others got to the site, I couldn’t help but give everyone a huge bear hug, as this was my first big game and I did it with a bow. Having great friends and family there with me just made it that much more special.
The next evening I was back in my stand hoping to see more activity.
Off in the distance I could hear a pack of wolves feasting on a calf. I was hoping they would eventually make their way past me. As it got close to the end of shooting time again, exactly four minutes less a day, I heard the echo of a .243 in the distance. The only hunter in our group with a rifle was none other than Jarrod. He got on the radio and repeated the same words I uttered the evening before. I flew down my stand, thrilled my little brother had just shot his first bear.
This was an unbelievable adventure for me and I am sure it’ll be one of many memorable experiences which will always be in the books. I want to thank my good friends Brian and Wendy for the hospitality and the chance to harvest my first big game, thus starting me on my path as a bow hunter for LIFE! I had a blast at “Camp Curtis” and I’m looking forward to more great memories next fall.
Stay safe and enjoy what nature has to offer, as well as making sure to pass on our Hunting Heritage.
Joe Fortin © 2011
CANADIAN HUNTRESS GOES HOG HUNTING
Hunting is a huge part of my life and I now have someone who shares my passion for the sport. This past August my boyfriend Paul and I decided that we would venture down into the south land to hunt wild hogs.
I had hunted hogs before in Tennessee with a rifle but this time we were headed down to South Carolina to hunt them with bows. Both I and Paul had not yet killed anything with a bow, and Paul likes to hunt animals where he can become the hunted, so wild hogs were right up his alley. I however had a lump in my throat the size of a pumpkin; I was very nervous hogs scared me when I had a gun, now I was after it with a bow.
When we arrived at the hunt camp after a long 17 hour drive we were pumped and ready to hunt. Unfortunately the accommodations left something to be desired, the hunt camp looked nice until we were led to our room. It was the mud room, there were two beds in it and I didn’t really care too much about the sleeping arrangements anyway, I was there to hunt. It was a different story though when I was trying to change and the staff were throwing 75lb bags of dog food in on top of us. I looked at Paul and laughed, what else was left to do but laugh at ourselves. Our hunt didn’t begin till the next morning and we decided that we would go into town for the night and meet back at camp the next morning.
Four thirty was on top of us before I knew it. We had an awesome sleep at a Super 8 in town and we were now ready to kill. We headed back to camp hooked up with the guides and off we went to our tree stand. We were not walked into our stand or shown our stand in the daylight, we were simply pointed in the right direction and told to head 150 yards ahead, make a right and we should either see the stand or our bait pile. Remember it is still early and dark out, we did manage to find our tree stand, climb on in and get situated.
Paul has grown fond of sleeping out in the woods and has made me his watchful eye. With Paul fast asleep I kept a watchful eye on our bait and waited for the hogs to show, and waited, and waited and waited and then I waited. Paul eventually came to and there were no hog’s insight. The outfitter picks everyone up at 11, regroups and sends you out again at 4. This really didn’t work well for me; my philosophy is “leave me in my stand because I cannot shoot from the living room of a hunt camp”. We were both a little frustrated at the lack of hunting we were doing and the non existent game out of our stands or anyone else’s at camp. The next afternoon I expressed my frustration and we set out in the mid afternoon heat with dogs to get some hogs moving.
Only minutes into the hunt the dogs were on a nice boar. Paul was up first and my heart was in my throat. He had an arrow knocked in and was ready for the vicious hog to show itself. It appeared out of a thick cluster of bush no more than 20 yards away from the end of Paul’s broad head. All I could hear was my pounding heart; he pulled his bow up, drew back, and let his arrow fly all in one fluid movement with the grace and ease of a seasoned archer. The arrow went right through the pig and knocked it over. The outfitter was thoroughly impressed at how easy Paul made bow hunting look, he had done it and now I was on deck.
The next day we set out once again with the dogs and it wasn’t long before they were on a nice hog. It was not as big as Paul’s but it was a hog and this was going to be my first bow kill. My arrow was knocked and ready, he appeared I drew on him and panic flooded my veins, he was so close and so mean looking. I messed up the first shot and hit his shoulder quickly regrouped and stuck another arrow right behind his shoulder that almost passed right through him, it was a good shot and he wasn’t going anywhere, but he was still alive, I gave him another one and he finally went down. I had my very first bow kill and Paul was standing right beside me.
The Canadian Huntress
Desiree Garland © 2010
ONTARIO MAN ATTACKED BY BEAR
A man is recovering in hospital after he was attacked by a bear on Tuesday. The black bear mauled the 48-year-old man in Severn Township, northwest of Orillia, Ontario.
His injuries are serious but not life-threatening. "He called me on his cellphone and told me he had been mangled by a bear," the victim's wife stated. "He told me to come and get him and that he had called 911 and that they were looking for him," Louise Beauchamp continued. The OPP said that the victim was airlifted to Sunnybrook hospital in Toronto with lacerations to his body, right foot, right calf and right forearm. "He wants me to thank all the rescue people, the police officers that saved his life because he didn't have much time left," Beauchamp said.
Now, police and government officials are searching for the bear. Natural Resources personnel have set up a number of traps in the area. Meanwhile, people in the area are being urged to keep children and pets indoors until the bear is caught, and report bear sightings to police.
Incredibly, this has happened before. "This is not the first time he's been attacked by a bear. Ever since they stopped the spring bear hunt, the bears are everywhere," Beauchamp said.
The Ontario government has no plans to reopen the spring bear hunt. "The last government stopped it. I haven't seen evidence recently that would make me change that position," Linda Jeffrey, Minister of Natural Resources said.
FAMILY BEAR ADVENTURE
The thought of bear hunting this year had been a topic of discussion at the dinner table for quite sometime. Having missed last years hunt, we were chomping at the bit to go. Having two young children and both of us enjoying the outdoors sometimes makes it difficult to plan a trip north. After telling a close friend of our situation, he too shared the same dilemma. It did not take long and plans were made for him and his daughter to accompany us to the cabin in Northern Ontario.
We baited in early spring and again anytime someone would visit the cabin throughout the summer. The popcorn, food scrapes, bacon grease and more was always welcomed by the local bruin and friends. My dad was going up to the cabin just the week before season so I had him set up my new SPYPOINT 7MP trailcam. This will be out first year using a trailcam. I had tested it at home and was very excited to see it in action.
We arrived at the cabin at 2 a.m. welcome by my dad who looked as though he may have fallen asleep while waiting for us. He and the grandson’s had already spent a fun filled week of fishing and quading. Dad stayed up to tell a few stories of the sites that they had seen and all the big fish that were caught. Also the enjoyment he and the boys had setting up trail cameras and putting out more bait for the bears. After some stories were told Dad called it a night since he and Nolan (one of the grandson’s) would be leaving for home in the early morning hours. Cole (my son) would stay for another week with us.
Saturday morning arrives and we are all excited to go and set up our treestand. It had been raining the whole ride up and is still very wet outside. With opening morning fast approaching we need to get this done. With all three kids in stow we head off to set up our twoman BIG GAME treestand. We call it the cadillac. Scott and I usually share this stand but this year we will share it with our friend. We re-bait and change the camera card. We were all curious as to what could possibly be on the camera if anything. After returning to camp I load up my portable laptop computer to find out just what this little SD card c holds. In total aniticipation it could not load fast enough. After scrolling through pictures of Dad and the boys finally we see a nice medium sized bear appear on the screen. He was caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
The morning had worked up a good appetite for all so we fired up the BBQ for some hotdogs and sausages. With barely a bite taken our friend spots a young bear walking through the property to the north. The kids look in amazement, their eyes the size of saucers. We all watch quietly and slowly move around the house as the bear moves around the outside toward the back step. He stands up on his back feet and continues to smell our BBQ. He gracefully steps onto the porch. I am sure that one of the 6 of us will make a sound and scare him off but we remain silent. We were face to face with a beautiful animal with only the glass window between us. I could hear the kids hearts skip as if they were beating through there voices when they whispered. The slow stutter that any hunter will atest to when faced with one of natures marvels.
All excited at what the week has to offer we fill the rest of our time with fishing and touring around. Basically burning time before opening day. We re-bait one more time and again change the SD card out of the camera. This time the bear in the photos is a different bear. He is LARGE. We look at each other in awe at his size. Excited of our new found knowledge and trying hard to contain ourselves.
Opening day finally arrives and Scott (my husband) and our friend take the morning shift while I watch the kids. They head off after spraying down thoroughly with H&S scent spray (Natural Earth). I decided that I would rather have the afternoon shift since the bears were on the camera at 5:50 p.m. and at 7:20 p.m. The boys return to the cabin with only hearing some walking sounds in the distance, probably chipmunks. Day two they hear some popping and grunting around 5:10 p.m.and again around 5:50 p.m. but nothing came into view. They think maybe the big guy was teasing them. All week goes by with no sight of a bear. The last morning arrives and not a sound, I check the camera again and nothing. Have we scared them all away or is it just too warm out. In the odd mix of emotions, the painful sting of possibly retuning home empty handed haunts all of us. With only one afternoon remaining we needed to see a bear, any bear. The woman from the local dump tells us that some bears were re-located due to some nuisance problems. This helps ease our minds alittle since we don’t know where all the bears have gone.
The trip has come to an end and out of eight self-guided bear hunts this year will be the first year for not getting a bear. I guess you win some and you lose some. He’ll be there next year and that big guy will be bigger than ever. The pictures I have from my trail camera are a trophy in themselves and the kids getting to experience it all with us is something we will all remember for years to come as well.
Remember hunting is our heritage and we need to pass our heritage to the next generation whether it’s whitetails in the corn fields, pheasants in the wheat stubble, or mallards in the marshes.
© Fall 2009