The photo of the bear on my trail camera made me sit up in my chair. This was a really big bear. Huge. Definitely an old male; and he was a regular at this bait in Minnesota’s Zone 24. I would get a couple dozen photos and videos of him over the next couple weeks. Every single photo was at least an hour after dark. He was very recognizable because he had square DNR tags in each of his ears.
He appeared just 12 steps from the base of the pine I was perched in, slipping towards the bait like a ghost floating above the forest floor. His raven-black hide looked impressive through the screen of brush he was easing through, and as he crept forward I knew the quest for my first black bear was about to come to a close. With each slow step he took my heart rate increased; but when he paused and raised his nose to inhale the cool mountain air, he knew something wasn’t right. For 10 minutes he stood statue-like, slowly turning his head in every direction surveying the area, and all I could do was wait.
I have been doing at least one spring bear hunt in Canada every year for many years, and I look forward to it all year. I love spring bear hunting. I was very disappointed when my 2020 spring bear hunt was cancelled, and when 2021 rolled around and left me with no Canadian options, I decided to do something about it. I was going to do two hunts to make up for the loss of the two Canadian opportunities.
Vermont is not a very large state. Wedged between New York on the west and New Hampshire on the east the state covers just 9,609 square miles, making it smaller than 44 other states. With less than 650,000 residents Vermont is also sparsely populated. Only Wyoming has few people. What Vermont lacks in size and people it more than makes up in woods and bears.

Gazing down onto the green vastness of the tundra from high above in the floatplane I couldn’t help but wonder who may have possibly traversed this remote, wild terrain?
Have hunters and gatherers from centuries past made their way across this expansive swampland or is there still land that’s never felt the weight of a hunter’s footprint. I love romanticizing about a landscape that few feet have ventured.

DIY Backcountry Baited Bears in Wyoming

This DIY public land hunt had its challenges, but we loved every minute of it!

The plan was simple. Arrive a week before the season, get some baits going, then hunt for a week. We mostly would use our ATVs for transportation into the backcountry, then set up baits 200-400 yards back into the mountain valleys. The most difficult part of this was navigating the confusing and convoluted bear hunting regulations of the Cowboy state. See my description in a separate text on that.
-Bernie Barringer-

Using Bait Additives

Published July/August 2015

There are three main categories of things used at a bear bait sight: bait, scents and bait additives (or toppers). The number one factor to a bear bait is the actual bait. Quality bait is critical and there isn’t a substitute for it, however, lesser quality bait can be improved with bait additives. Secondly, scent is a powerful piece of the puzzle. The bait itself produces some scent and certain bait produces more than others. Commercial scents and sprays expand the scent range of the bait, increasing the effective range of how far it can be smelled. Thirdly, bait additives have become a significant part of the bear-baiting world. Bait additives can be liquid or powder and are used to improve the overall quality of lesser quality bait and expand the scent range. Bear bait additives would be different than scents in that they add to it by actually improving the taste, nutrient and caloric content of the bait - it is actual food, as opposed to just a scent product.