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I'm thinking about going bear hunting for the first time this year. I have permission from a private land owner, a new tree stan

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  • I'm thinking about going bear hunting for the first time this year. I have permission from a private land owner, a new tree stan

    I'm thinking about going bear hunting for the first time this year. I have permission from a private land owner, a new tree stand, and my dad's lever action .30-30. Does any one have some good tips for a first time bear hunter? Calls? Baits? Times? anything would be great! Thanks!!

  • #2
    Don't forget your Bear Repellent at Wal*Mart.
    What State and What Type of Bear do you intend to Hunt? Would be most helpful for a better Answer.

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    • #3
      I think 30-30 is a bit light for black bear. Out of the question for grizzly.

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      • #4
        Best time to hunt is supper time until dark.
        Donuts and pastries are best if you put them out each evening for a few days ahead of time. I used fish a few time but it did not work that well. Peanut butter is also a good bait.
        If you hit a bear standing still with a 30-30 in the heart, lungs it won't go far. If you hit a bear that is already moving it could go a long ways. JMHO

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        • #5
          Find the thickest, gnarliest, darkest cover on the ground, preferably near a swamp or river and put your bait there about 15yds from a stand tree. Try to put your stand in a pine to break up your outline if at all possible.
          Dig a pit about 3' wide and 18" deep. Cut some 6" logs (10-15) at 6' lengths and use them to cover your bait. Put them perpendicular to your line of vision. You want to be looking at the long side.
          Our best bait is beef fat/trimming from a butcher shop but it can get spendy. Other good baits are donuts, fermented oats, cereal, dogfood, jams/jelly/syrup, bread with icing, table scraps, fresh fruit and sweet corn.
          Many of these items can be obtained from stores that are going to throw away expired items or from bait dealers who have them in bulk. EX. I get donuts from the local gas station. They would throw them away if I did not take them but you have to ask them nicely if they will save them for you.
          Another key ingredient is used fryer oil. If you spread it on the logs after you bait then the bears get it on their feet and leave a trail back to the bait for other bears. The other animals, coons, foxes, wolves, etc, will also help out by tracking the smell around.
          We bait for two weeks before the hunt. It typically takes a couple days for bears to find the bait. Your trail camera is an valuable tool and will help you evaluate bears and get a sense of when they are visiting.
          Be loud when you bait, you do not want to surprise a bear on the bait.
          When you go in to hunt be as quiet as you have ever been. I spend hours raking the trail into the stand so it is noiseless. We usually get in around 3-4 and sit till full dark. The last fifteen minutes of light are the golden hour. You will be bored and ready to quit but that is the magic time. Stay alert!
          I cannot emphasize how still you have to be. The bears will know you are there but will not run if you stay still. Every bear that came to my bait this year walked up to the tree and looked at me. But stayed to eat.
          Use a quality bonded bullet or monolithic like Barnes and the 30-30 will be plenty of gun. Shoot straight.
          Be prepared to find a bear in the dark! Lots of lights and a team of people will help. You do not want to do it by yourself. It is not like dragging a deer. The best comparison I have heard is that it is like trying to drag a 200lb bag of warm milk. We use four wheelers for the most part and a toboggan sled made for ice fishing gear.
          You have to keep looking as a bear will spoil faster than any animal you have dealt with. You cannot leave them overnight.
          Finally check your local regs. Baiting often has a lot of requirements and restrictions.
          Do your homework. I have not even scratched the surface. It is a lot of fun and bear is delicious! Good luck out there!

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          • #6
            I would bait with some stinky meat or fish. Bears should smell those items five miles away.
            Dry dog food and corn covered with molasses or honey are also good to use on bears.
            Hunt near a thicket of mountain laurel or rhododendrons. Near a swamp is good spot.
            Check out my spring photo of a sow black bear with her four cubs.

            www.fieldandstream.com/photos/trophyroom/recent/single?pnid=1001492242#1001492242

            These cubs can’t live without their mother during their first year.
            Shooting this sow during fall bear hunting season would be like killing five bears with one shot.

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            • #7
              I live in North Carolina and its Black Bear. I don't really want the meat, I plan on donating that, mostly to my land lord who has given me permission to hunt on his land. And Thanks Chuckles for that Amazing Answer!!!

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              • #8
                ChefChris86 you are welcome.
                One great book about DIY baiting is Dr. Ken Nordberg's "DIY Black Bear Baiting and Hunting". You will see much of my advice repeated because he was a source for both the guy who is teaching me and for me when I started.
                It is really fun to see bears and they are great eating. Try some before you give it all away. My personal favorite is a barley stew.
                Good luck!

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