Outback Outdoors On Bear Baiting

If you want to start a bit of controversy in the hunting world just mention the word “baiting”. I want to share what I have learned over the years about numerous ways to hunt bears.

I have hunted bears in several states and a few different provinces and have done both the spot and stalk method as well as the baited hunts. After seeing close to 200 bears on baits and a fair number on stalks I have come to some interesting conclusions. They both are an effective way to harvest a bear but baiting has the upper hand in making sure you take the “Right” bear.

What I mean by the right bear, I mean a good mature boar, or male bear.  When walking down a logging road in the spring and you locate a bear at 300 yards you stop and glass it. You have to make a decision if the bear is big enough and if it is a male or not. That is a lot of pressure for the average hunter to make in a split moment and take the shot.

When you are set up on a bait site you have numerous advantages. The most significant of these are the fact that you are usually no more than 20 yards away with archery equipment or 100 yards with a rifle. You have the up close and personal look to determine the sex of the bear, the age and if the bear is with cubs or not. Most sows with cubs come into the site early in the evening. You do not want to shoot a sow if at all possible. A few quick ways to identify if the bear is a sow are as follows.

A sow will usually have a smaller head with a tapered snout on it. The front paws will be pointy at the front and the rear end of the bear will generally be higher than the front end. Of course if the bear comes in with cubs than you know it is a female.

A boar will have the a much larger head, the ears will generally be farther apart and on the side of the head. The snout will be more squared off as well. The feet will be wide across the front of the pad and the body size will be the same height straight across. Usually a boar will walk in with a mission and a sway or waddle to their stride.

All of these factors can be determined at a bait site but not done very well from 200 yards across a canyon. You generally have a lot of time to determine if a bear is a shooter when sitting on a bait. They usually come in and out over the course of a sit and many times you will have numerous bears there at one time. This allows you to size up bears and practice telling the sex of the bears and their ages.

A larger boar will have small ears more towards the side of their head, a crease down the center of his skull might be present also. The body will be larger than that of a sow usually and he usually will run off any other bears on the site. He walks in like he owns the place and does not have a care in the world.

Smaller immature bears will be skiddish and run in and out from the bait. Another tell tale sign with a mature bear is the hide. Most small bears rub early in the spring while the larger ones keep their hide longer and will shed versus rubbing it off.

One last point about the benefits of hunting bears over a bait site. Generally your shot will be very close and you can make a quick ethical kill on on of these awesome animals. A bear that is hit right behind the shoulders on a broad side angle will expire very quickly. This was evident in the two bears hunts we just aired on the show.

Next time you think of  hunting bears consider my key points I brought up and give it a try. It is amazing watching these creatures up close and on their terms. They are a unique animal and I look forward to hunting them every spring.

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