Each season we spend several hundred hours planning, baiting and preparing our hunters for the prospect of harvesting a bear. Each season we meet new hunters that are ready and eager to harvest that said bear and every season we meet some that are in for a wait.
Understanding that bear are as individual as people will give a hunter more perspective into what to expect. I have commonly met new hunters that assume that just because there has been food placed daily for a couple of weeks ahead of time daily, that predicting when a large sow or boar will come in to take and they will go and sit for that time……WRONG!
Being that our baits generally carry multiples, the pattern of ‘hits’ (baits being opened and emptied) can vary. Smaller bear can come in and hijack a small mouthful in an attempt to get a treat before the larger, more dominant animal appears. The larger bear may feed less than daily and come every second or third day and yet another wrench can be thrown in with a travelling sow and cub or cubs. That sow and cub(s) can travel the distance of several baits and interrupt many which in turn will throw off any marked pattern that may have been occurring up until this point and leave a hunter scratching his or her head.
Weather is another factor that can throw off the pattern of hit times and during the latter part of August and into September, the wind is prone to several directional changes per day and variations of warm, cool and wet days that can play havoc with a bear’s daily movements.
Pair all of this together and now add the moon phases. As the moon fills, the night time light becomes more prevalent and allows for easier visibility in those later hours and no hunters in the trees. With all of these factors stacked against a hunter, it soon becomes apparent that this is still a hunt and outsmarting your prey and putting in your time may be necessary.
Don’t get me wrong, we have had bears taken from baits while stands were still being set in the trees but on the flip side we also get those hunters that take their bear on the last day, last hour and last minute of the hunt. All factors are variables that play into the outcome of an overall hunt.
The moral is be prepared to sit your stand from as legally early to as legally late as possible. You are dealing with animals that don’t rely on stats or patterns the way we put weight on them. These animals need to fill their basic instincts when the time suits them and not when it suits us.
You need to ask yourself before taking on such a challenging hunt….is this bear worth the wait?