THE BEAR WHISPERER SPEAKS: TIPS AND TRICKS FOR A SUCCESSFUL SPRING BEAR HUNT
Tuesday, 15 April 2014 | Ashley
Before he made a name for himself in outdoor TV with such shows as "The Bear Whisperer" and "Freedom Fighters", Blaine Anthony was a successful bear guide in Maine. To this day he remains intensely active in the management, study, and educating the public about black bears. Here, Blaine shares some tips to help make your spring bear season a successful one whether you are going with an outfitter or self-guiding.
TIP: Look for bears “making hay”.
Bear are a nocturnal animal and if given the choice, they will come into your bait at night. The trick is finding bears competing for the bait. The bears will come in earlier and earlier trying to beat the bear behind them. One telltale sign is if you find a pile of hay by your bait site. Most of the time it will look like someone took hay from a square bail and piled it up. What is happening here is the first bear to the bait site is simply taking grass and burying the bait. If you peel up the hay, depending on how long it has been there, you will see layers of bait with the hay stack. This way the bear knows when it comes back to eat, if the bait hasn’t been tended, he or she will tenderly remove food from the hay and eat. If the bear is making a hay pile, there is certainly more than that one bear coming into the bait, to the point that the bear feels like it has to hide it from another, bigger bear, that probably runs it off.
TIP: Find an outfitter that uses trail cameras.
Who cares if a bear is hitting a site during non-legal shooting hours? All across the country, people will sit on a bait all week and never see a bear. Granted, you are really just sitting there for the one day the bear makes a mistake and shows up during legal shooting hours, but it is nice to know that the bear you are hunting does make mistakes. Trust me, many experienced bears never make a mistake.
TRICK: Make a change.
If it appears you are sitting in a stand that has been there for many years, you may have a problem. A bear will come in looking for that stand. He will see you and back off just a little bit and wait for you to leave, then come into the bait. If by day four you have not seen a bear, grab a climber, sit on the ground, whatever it takes, just move! Just changing positions on the same bait can create success immediately. The bear comes in, looks up and sees that stand empty. He instantly feels safer. He will typically pause for a few minutes, take another look and then commit to coming in to the bait. Bear straps for dinner!
TRICK: Don’t hide from the nose, appeal to it.
Of the clients I put on baits who saw bears, 80 – 90% said it locked eyes with that bear at one point. The bear almost always knows you are there. He just tolerates you because he wants to eat and is somewhat used to human scent due to the guides going in to bait daily. Try using not 1 scent but multiple scents for cover. If you get the scent that is that bears “food of choice” he will come in hard and be 100% committed to eating. There are scent companies that make multiple scents designed for bears, Conquest Scents makes the best one that I know of today.
MISTAKE: Don’t guide the guide.
We all have different methods we bait, position bait, and the type of bait we use. If your guide is feeding doughnuts, don’t try to be slick and stick a steak out there. The bear will know something is off and it may be days or weeks before that bear will feel comfortable enough to return to that bait location. You want to try to blend in to what that bear has been doing for weeks before you ever even showed up. To a great extent, bears a creature of habit. Your goal when bear hunting is to integrate yourself into that bear’s routine until you have a shot.
Now start working those bait sites and scouting your hunting ground. This may be the year you add a bear skin rug to your den!