If you’re determined to fill your tag and you’re up for a truly heart-pounding hunt, try one of these two killer ground setups. There are times when you have to get on the ground to arrow a big bear. Either the best ambush point offers no suitable place to hang a tree stand or the biggest bear is wise to the stand you’ve already hung. In both cases, the solution is to get on the bear’s level (at your own risk, of course). If you’re determined to fill your tag and you’re up for a truly heart-pounding hunt, try one of these two killer ground setups.
2) Back Off the Bait The majority of black bear bait sites feature a permanent (or at least long-term) tree stand that is situated downwind and overlooking the goodies. The biggest bears, however, often know not only where that tree stand is, but whether or not a hunter is in it. Circling downwind of the stand to check with his nose and often his eyes, a big boar will not hit the bait until he’s absolutely certain the perch is unoccupied. And that means, if you’re willing to go to the ground, you can use the stand as a decoy.
First look for the faint trail that curves through the undergrowth downwind of the treestand; this usually lies just within sight of the bait barrel. Broken plant stems, paw impressions in the moss, and freshly snapped branches should be all the evidence you need, but you may also see obvious tracks or scat. Once you’ve determined the bear’s route, look for a natural hideaway downwind of it and get comfortable. I should probably warn you: You may be afraid as that big boar pads in to investigate, but wait for him to walk past you, and then take the quartering-away shot.
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