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Bear Baits – Consistency is Important

Consistent Baiting and Timing is Important
wawanglakebearbaitWe begin baiting two to three weeks prior to the hunters arrival as baiting is lucrative and can vary based on native food source availability, weather pattern and population.  If baiting is done too far in advance, bear can lose interest and become complacent.  The most impact for the hunter is when the food source is new and interesting yet dependable. The baits stations are checked regularly each day and documented as to its status:  whether it’s been hit or not.  This is also the ideal time to determine if the bait station has a sow with cubs or the size of the bear according to tracks.

wawanglakebearbait

Other animals frequent the baits as well.

All the information collected will determine if the bait station will be suitable for the hunter or not. Stations with sows will continue to be baited in order to confine that they remain in that specific area so they don’t wander and disturb the more suitable bait stations held for the hunters.

What Do We Use
Bears are omnivorous and will scarf down just about anything from produce to pastries, bread and meat scraps. The key is to make sure your offerings have a strong odor – sometimes the more putrid the smell, the better … at least when it comes to attracting them as we don’t place this directly on the bait.   However, during the fall bear do not especially like this strong scent on the bait therefore we use these attractants to drag the area ensuring to lure the bear to the bait station where more delectable bread, pastries and leftover good scraps are waiting. Visiting bear that walk trails and roads we’ve dragged will beneficially establish their own scent trail to and from the bait as well luring in even more bear.

The Set Up
Our baits stations are naturally set up and made from logs and other forest fragments. These logs are large, very heavy and piled in a manner making them difficult for smaller animals to move.  When hunters walk into the bait and notice that logs have been tossed around they are certain that a bear hi the bait.

bait

Know the Rules
Study the Ontario hunting regulations.  Know what you can and can’t do, season dates, licensing guidelines, bring firearms into Canada.   We want our hunters to be comfortable while hunting in Ontario and it is also important to know that you will need to bring along a state/province license as proof of hunting experience to show the Ontario license issuer. Always ask if you don’t know that’s what we’re here for.

When to Sit Baits
Our hunters are required to bring their own tree stands.  This is not only for liability reasons, but, also because you will be more familiar with your own tree stand and the more at ease you are with equipment the more it will increase your odds – less to think about. Upon request we will setup ground stands for those that are not able to climb. If this is the case be sure to bring along a comfortable chair.  Evening hours are by far the proven time to encounter bear on the bait. This however is simply a higher percentage timeframe.   Approaching the bait cautiously is always a must due to the fact that hunters have stumbled upon bear contently feeding at all hours, including early morning and mid-day. You can bring along trail timers and cameras to satisfy your knowledge of the activity of your bait station.

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Bear Baits – Consistency is Important

Consistent Baiting and Timing is Important
wawanglakebearbaitWe begin baiting two to three weeks prior to the hunters arrival as baiting is lucrative and can vary based on native food source availability, weather pattern and population.  If baiting is done too far in advance, bear can lose interest and become complacent.  The most impact for the hunter is when the food source is new and interesting yet dependable. The baits stations are checked regularly each day and documented as to its status:  whether it’s been hit or not.  This is also the ideal time to determine if the bait station has a sow with cubs or the size of the bear according to tracks.

wawanglakebearbait

Other animals frequent the baits as well.

All the information collected will determine if the bait station will be suitable for the hunter or not. Stations with sows will continue to be baited in order to confine that they remain in that specific area so they don’t wander and disturb the more suitable bait stations held for the hunters.

What Do We Use
Bears are omnivorous and will scarf down just about anything from produce to pastries, bread and meat scraps. The key is to make sure your offerings have a strong odor – sometimes the more putrid the smell, the better … at least when it comes to attracting them as we don’t place this directly on the bait.   However, during the fall bear do not especially like this strong scent on the bait therefore we use these attractants to drag the area ensuring to lure the bear to the bait station where more delectable bread, pastries and leftover good scraps are waiting. Visiting bear that walk trails and roads we’ve dragged will beneficially establish their own scent trail to and from the bait as well luring in even more bear.

The Set Up
Our baits stations are naturally set up and made from logs and other forest fragments. These logs are large, very heavy and piled in a manner making them difficult for smaller animals to move.  When hunters walk into the bait and notice that logs have been tossed around they are certain that a bear hi the bait.

bait

Know the Rules
Study the Ontario hunting regulations.  Know what you can and can’t do, season dates, licensing guidelines, bring firearms into Canada.   We want our hunters to be comfortable while hunting in Ontario and it is also important to know that you will need to bring along a state/province license as proof of hunting experience to show the Ontario license issuer. Always ask if you don’t know that’s what we’re here for.

When to Sit Baits
Our hunters are required to bring their own tree stands.  This is not only for liability reasons, but, also because you will be more familiar with your own tree stand and the more at ease you are with equipment the more it will increase your odds – less to think about. Upon request we will setup ground stands for those that are not able to climb. If this is the case be sure to bring along a comfortable chair.  Evening hours are by far the proven time to encounter bear on the bait. This however is simply a higher percentage timeframe.   Approaching the bait cautiously is always a must due to the fact that hunters have stumbled upon bear contently feeding at all hours, including early morning and mid-day. You can bring along trail timers and cameras to satisfy your knowledge of the activity of your bait station.

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Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Bear Baits – Consistency is Important

Consistent Baiting and Timing is Important
wawanglakebearbaitWe begin baiting two to three weeks prior to the hunters arrival as baiting is lucrative and can vary based on native food source availability, weather pattern and population.  If baiting is done too far in advance, bear can lose interest and become complacent.  The most impact for the hunter is when the food source is new and interesting yet dependable. The baits stations are checked regularly each day and documented as to its status:  whether it’s been hit or not.  This is also the ideal time to determine if the bait station has a sow with cubs or the size of the bear according to tracks.

wawanglakebearbait

Other animals frequent the baits as well.

All the information collected will determine if the bait station will be suitable for the hunter or not. Stations with sows will continue to be baited in order to confine that they remain in that specific area so they don’t wander and disturb the more suitable bait stations held for the hunters.

What Do We Use
Bears are omnivorous and will scarf down just about anything from produce to pastries, bread and meat scraps. The key is to make sure your offerings have a strong odor – sometimes the more putrid the smell, the better … at least when it comes to attracting them as we don’t place this directly on the bait.   However, during the fall bear do not especially like this strong scent on the bait therefore we use these attractants to drag the area ensuring to lure the bear to the bait station where more delectable bread, pastries and leftover good scraps are waiting. Visiting bear that walk trails and roads we’ve dragged will beneficially establish their own scent trail to and from the bait as well luring in even more bear.

The Set Up
Our baits stations are naturally set up and made from logs and other forest fragments. These logs are large, very heavy and piled in a manner making them difficult for smaller animals to move.  When hunters walk into the bait and notice that logs have been tossed around they are certain that a bear hi the bait.

bait

Know the Rules
Study the Ontario hunting regulations.  Know what you can and can’t do, season dates, licensing guidelines, bring firearms into Canada.   We want our hunters to be comfortable while hunting in Ontario and it is also important to know that you will need to bring along a state/province license as proof of hunting experience to show the Ontario license issuer. Always ask if you don’t know that’s what we’re here for.

When to Sit Baits
Our hunters are required to bring their own tree stands.  This is not only for liability reasons, but, also because you will be more familiar with your own tree stand and the more at ease you are with equipment the more it will increase your odds – less to think about. Upon request we will setup ground stands for those that are not able to climb. If this is the case be sure to bring along a comfortable chair.  Evening hours are by far the proven time to encounter bear on the bait. This however is simply a higher percentage timeframe.   Approaching the bait cautiously is always a must due to the fact that hunters have stumbled upon bear contently feeding at all hours, including early morning and mid-day. You can bring along trail timers and cameras to satisfy your knowledge of the activity of your bait station.

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Black Bear on Bear Highway

It cant go without saying that this year’s batch of hunters fortitude has been tested over and over.  With weather that seems to be taunting them by cold raining one day and jumping to 80+ degrees and sunny the next, these guys have been putting in the hours and time after time have in most cases been rewarded.

On Saturday, Dave, Tim and Jason made the long drive up from Iowa to try their best to outsmart a couple bruin and get a day or two of fishing in.  Optimism high and clouds beginning to hang low, the stands began to be assembled for the drive to the baits.

Each man had a different weapon but all agreed that failure was not an option.  The first day was a shorter than normal sit of only 4 hours and all were thankful that it was a restful sit as they had a long drive before and had sat long enough 🙂

The men arrived back in camp late after a dark trip through the woods.  Dave was ecstatic to let me know that his bait had proven effective and he had spotted an average sized bear that he had decided to pass on and Tim and Jason both had heard but not spotted activity.

SAM_0016 (640x480)

The next day, the three went out, excitement and weapons in hand.  The weather had cooled down and was determined to hold that mercury low for the day.  The boys had layered and knew it would be a good, long, cool day.  The day wore on for us here at the lodge as we completed one task after another waiting for the telltale early truck arrival signalling a downed bear.  As we waited and watched, the clock ticked on.  The sun had already set and the boys were already 30 minutes passed the expected arrival.  We would give them 30 more minutes before setting out to ‘track’ our hunters.  As the minutes dragged on, I had begun to assemble my gear, ready for the drive out with Terry.

At 11:20 pm, a set of headlights pulled through the trees and the truck slowed to a stop in front of my door.  I emerged to a truck full of smiles, not only had Dave taken his boar of 368lb glory, but Tim had taken his as well!!

IMG_5703 - Copy (640x427) (2)

As we iced the bears down for the night, I had the chance to go over the hunt with both hunters, as a returning hunter to Wawang, Dave was so excited to tell me about all the bears he saw on ‘the bear highway’ today.  He couldn’t help but beam when he told me about the sow and cubs that came for two visits that day as well as the mid sizer that came in between.  He said that with all the action on the bait, it was very simple to decipher the size of his boar.  He was clear that it had trumped everything else that had come for a visit and was so proud to share the pictures.  “There were just bear everywhere I looked!” he repeated.

Smiles all around, Tim spoke up about his hunt and was proud of his harvest, though it wasn’t as big a bear as Dave’s, the tell white half chevron of white on the chest that made a winking emoticon made it very simple for me to dub this boy ‘Winky’ .  Both had prime hides and will make for not only fantastic stories but beautiful mounts to be enjoyed for year after year.

IMG_5726 - Copy (640x427) (2)

Jason was so proud of both of his hunting buddies and is determined to add to the celebration list too!

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The Bear Facts – What You Should Know

Despite divided opinion about the political correctness of bear hunting, it is something every hunter should try at least once. But a word of caution, if you want to make the most of your outings, there are a few key things you should know. The more knowledgeable you are, the better your chances of tagging a trophy.

WawangBear2

Black Bear can be found roaming the woods in every northern state, all provinces and many eastern and western states. The smallest member of the bear family in North America, black bears are the most populated. Thriving in almost every jurisdiction, populations are on the rise across the continent.

Black bear can be hunted only in the fall at Wawang Lake. Each state and province has specific regulations dictating when and how bears can be hunted. If you want to spend more time in the woods, black bears make the perfect prey during the fall. With thick coats in prime condition, fall is the preferred choice of bear hunters that are looking for that trophy bear. If you’re fortunate enough to connect with a trophy-sized black bear chances are you’ll end up with a beautiful specimen, well worth making into a rug or head mount.

Over-the-counter tags are only available in certain states and provinces. Some states issue tags only through a limited entry draw/lottery process.

In many ways black bears are misrepresented and misunderstood. Ironic but true, bruins are gentle by nature. This stands in contrast to their stereotypically vicious reputation.

Found in a variety of color phases, pelage can range from white through yellow, with black, brown and cinnamon being the most common. Their ominous looking dark shiny coat is the obvious contributor to their malignant image; it may also be the black bear’s slow, methodical and calculated gestures. Whatever the reason, these quiet, yet dominant nomads of our coniferous and mixed forests, are worthy of both admiration and respect.

A sow will typically accompany her cubs for 16 or 17 months. At the end of this period she will sever ties, forcing the youngsters to go off on their own.

Females will reach their maximum size at six years, and boars continue to grow to a maximum size at 12 years of age. On average, most bears taken by hunters weigh somewhere between 175 and 300 pounds. Any black bear topping the 300-pound mark is considered large.

Aside from body weight, black bears are judged by the size of their skull, with a Boone & Crockett minimum eligibility score of 21 inches and a Pope & Young score of 18 inches.

We often hear of bears being territorial and, in a sense, this is true. While there exists a distinct hierarchy within the ranks of bear world, it is not uncommon to find many individuals residing in a given geographic area. Home ranges can span from two to 10 miles and resident populations will often hold a variety of boars, sows and cubs.

Heavily timbered forests near logging areas often sustain good bear densities.  With blueberry areas, black bear favor the accessibility and abundance of such forage and often reside in proximity.

As forest dwellers, black bear are omnivorous. Predominantly feeding on a variety of plants and berries throughout the summer, springtime offers a feast of dandelion and fresh grasses. Opportunists extraordinaire, black bear  will also feed on carrion. Consistent with this and the fact that bears favor beavers as a staple food source in some regions, areas with spruce and poplar mixed forest and cascading beaver dams can be dynamite locations for the hunter to focus his/her attention.dam2

As with ungulate species, black bears undergo an annual rut cycle. Beginning in late May and continuing on through most of June, boars go in search of breeding partners. It is during this approximate six to eight week period that most large bears are taken by savvy hunters. Just as with members of the deer family, the larger, educated and otherwise reclusive boars become more visible as they readily cross roadways, clear-cuts and feed in open areas as they look for sows in estrus.

Black bears den up in late October and drift into a state of torpor. This is not a true state of hibernation, but rather of slowed metabolism, during the cold winter months. In this suspended state, they cease to defecate, urinate or eat for the next 5-6 months. They do however periodically awaken from this sleep to stretch and walk around. Usually only a brief interlude, black bears soon return to the den to wait out the long winter. Sows will deliver and nurse their cubs in the den and as the snow begins to melt and spring arrives, they’ll leave the den to begin their search for food.

Bear meat brings mixed reviews. Some savor every morsel, and others grimace at the very mention of it. Its greasy, coarse texture and sweet flavor requires a certain kind of palate. A word of caution however, bear meat should be thoroughly cooked as it can carry a parasitic infection known as trichinella, a potentially dangerous disease to humans.

Black bear have relatively poor eyesight, but an outstanding sense of smell and an uncanny hearing ability.

When hunting black bear, consider food source. Focus on areas with a sufficient forage base. There should be water nearby along with good cover. With the aid of topographic maps, look for spots with streams, rivers and ample low ground to provide damp, dark and cool cover. In boreal forest regions, this will be dense moss-laden areas bordering swamps and isolated marshy wetlands. In mountainous regions, this will often be found in drainages along creeks and other waterways.

Once a general area is identified, begin your search by looking at trees. Claw marks on deciduous trees are the most obvious indicators. In mixed forest areas mature poplars wear the battle scars revealing claw marks of days gone by. While rarely do you stumble upon fresh markings, these lasting scars unveil a historical presence.

Bear leave tracks. A great place to look for these is in the wet sand and soil along shorelines of rivers, streams and lakes. Most often at least one or two old or new tracks are found, keeping in mind that bears frequently use these movement corridors. A 5″ or better pad/track can suggest a good bear is in the area.DDW-Bear-Hunt-086

Nomadic creatures, bears commonly travel traditional trails along ridges, in valleys, and along drainages. Finding fresh scat can instill further confidence in your pursuit and help you identify the size of a particular bear.

A variety of strategies and techniques are proven effective in pursuing spring black bears. Whether floating down a river, walking cut-lines, spot and stalk hunting, baiting or calling, black bears are very huntable. Each strategy has its own merits.

A good set of binoculars is a must when spot and stalk bear hunting. Once spotted, the stalk begins. The regular rules apply – keep the wind in your face; remember bears rely heavily on their sense of smell. The best time to spot and stalk black bears is the five to 10 day window just prior to, or just as the deciduous trees begin to bud. With little food available in the woods, they can frequently be seen browsing on cut-lines and south-facing slopes where the first green grasses begin to sprout.bin

Baiting is far from easy, and holds no guarantees! From time to time you get lucky and have one move in cautiously to inspect the provisions, but this is frequently more the exception than the rule. Perhaps the biggest advantage I see in baiting is that, if and when a bear finally does come to the bait, it can allow the hunter time to assess size and stature. This is advantageous for the trophy hunter, allowing the option to pass up smaller bears, thus diminishing the odds of falling victim to ground shrink.

Predator calling bears has come into its own in recent years. A myriad of videos and how-to articles are available to hunters looking for an alternative approach to hunting bears. I sometimes carry a Lohman wounded rabbit call for scenarios where calling might come in handy. While patience is required in this game of calling, it can take some time before a big old bruin responds favorably. But when they do, be ready, because they’re coming in for dinner!wawanglakebear

As a rule, black bears want no more to do with you than Superman does with kryptonite. The fact is, it’s important to treat them with due respect, be aware they possess immense strength and are able to cause considerable damage. To get an accurate picture on the nature of bears, I highly recommend a book entitled, Bear Attacks – Their Causes and Avoidance written by Dr. Stephen Herrero. Having heard him speak at a conference, the clear message I gleaned was that if, and when, black bears show aggression, most often they’ll bluff charge … stop 10 yards away and bounce on their front legs. Periodically they’ll stand up, but this is usually to help them get a better look at what is going on. This is intimidating, but most often harmless.

The only thing predictable about black bears is that they are unpredictable. Although many will avoid humans at all cost, there are some that have no fear at all. Caution and respect should always be exercised.

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Grin and Bear it: The wait

Each season we spend several hundred hours planning, baiting and preparing our hunters for the prospect of harvesting a bear AND we meet new hunters that are ready and eager to harvest that said bear.  However there are some that will be in for a wait.

SAM_0016 (640x480)

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.

moonphase

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?

bearstand

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Posted by on December 30, 2015 in black bear, hunting, Wawang Lake Resort

 

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Bears Down! The Bear Highway

It cant go without saying that this year’s batch of hunters fortitude has been tested over and over.  With weather that seems to be taunting them by cold raining one day and jumping to 80+ degrees and sunny the next, these guys have been putting in the hours and time after time have in most cases been rewarded.

On Saturday, Dave, Tim and Jason made the long drive up from Iowa to try their best to outsmart a couple bruin and get a day or two of fishing in.  Optimism high and clouds beginning to hang low, the stands began to be assembled for the drive to the baits.

Each man had a different weapon but all agreed that failure was not an option.  The first day was a shorter than normal sit of only 4 hours and all were thankful that it was a restful sit as they had a long drive before and had sat long enough 🙂

The men arrived back in camp late after a dark trip through the woods.  Dave was ecstatic to let me know that his bait had proven effective and he had spotted an average sized bear that he had decided to pass on and Tim and Jason both had heard but not spotted activity.

SAM_0016 (640x480)

The next day, the three went out, excitement and weapons in hand.  The weather had cooled down and was determined to hold that mercury low for the day.  The boys had layered and knew it would be a good, long, cool day.  The day wore on for us here at the lodge as we completed one task after another waiting for the telltale early truck arrival signalling a downed bear.  As we waited and watched, the clock ticked on.  The sun had already set and the boys were already 30 minutes passed the expected arrival.  We would give them 30 more minutes before setting out to ‘track’ our hunters.  As the minutes dragged on, I had begun to assemble my gear, ready for the drive out with Terry.

At 11:20 pm, a set of headlights pulled through the trees and the truck slowed to a stop in front of my door.  I emerged to a truck full of smiles, not only had Dave taken his boar of 368lb glory, but Tim had taken his as well!!

IMG_5703 - Copy (640x427) (2)

As we iced the bears down for the night, I had the chance to go over the hunt with both hunters, as a returning hunter to Wawang, Dave was so excited to tell me about all the bears he saw on ‘the bear highway’ today.  He couldn’t help but beam when he told me about the sow and cubs that came for two visits that day as well as the mid sizer that came in between.  He said that with all the action on the bait, it was very simple to decipher the size of his boar.  He was clear that it had trumped everything else that had come for a visit and was so proud to share the pictures.  “There were just bear everywhere I looked!” he repeated.

 

Smiles all around, Tim spoke up about his hunt and was proud of his harvest, though it wasn’t as big a bear as Dave’s, the tell white half chevron of white on the chest that made a winking emoticon made it very simple for me to dub this boy ‘Winky’ .  Both had prime hides and will make for not only fantastic stories but beautiful mounts to be enjoyed for year after year.

IMG_5726 - Copy (640x427) (2)

Jason was so proud of both of his hunting buddies and is determined to add to the celebration list too!

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Posted by on December 29, 2015 in black bear, hunting, Wawang Lake Resort

 

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