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We have 3 Black Bear Management Areas that is very successfull with our bear hunts. Several black bears this past year being in the 300+ pound range. We use trail cameras on all our baited stands and have captured some bears with varing color.
The biggest thing with black bear hunting over baited area, is you have to contend with an abundance of natural foods; out in the woods the bears are eating raspberries, blackberries, acorns, and hazelnuts, so you need high-quality bait to be able to compete with those good natural foods and draw in bears. Also unlike the spring, and almost assuredly related to those abundant natural foods, bears show up at baits with much less consistency in the fall.
Our ideal stand setup is in thick cover, which is really important to the bears. They need to have a corridor of cover to travel through to get to the bait. Bears don't like moving through open areas in the daylight. Most of our baits are in thick cover, and as far as a general location, in an area where bears will find the bait quickly. Maybe itís a ridge between two marshes or an ideal site will also be near water, as bears can consume up to 20,000 calories a day, and they require a lot of water to digest that. Bears also need to cool off, they spend a lot more time in the water than most realize. If your bait is too far from water, itís less likely that the bears will show up at your bait in daylight.
We like to setup our baits in a small forest opening, shaped more or less like a light bulb, with the treestand down at the narrow neck. We like to give our hunters lots of cover behind them and to help mask any movement. We like to clear a good-sized area in front of the stand with nice wide shooting lanes. If you leave an angled branch or a stray sapling, you can rest assured any incoming bear will stop with their vitals right behind it. Our stands are set close enough to the bait and not too high, you can't get a double-lung shot. The ideal setups are about 15 feet high and 15 yards from the bait and that seems to give the perfect angle for a deadly double-lung shot.
A number one item to bring into your stand and a personal priority would be a Thermacell unit. It is our recommendation to never hunt bears during the spring or fall without a Thermacell. It has absolutely changed bear hunting. Before the Thermacell you might have had to wear multiple headnets, and it was so hard to sit still when the bugs were bad. We have never known a bear to be alarmed by the scent of a Thermacell. It is a good idea to always bring along a 'puffy' insulated jacket or something you can stow easily in a pack and throw on quickly in the evening, when it can really cool off fast.
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