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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is my first bear hunt and I'm having an absolute blast! I've done everything right so far and I've got multiple bears coming into my station. But being the novice that I am, I really underestimated how smart these animals are. I'd surely welcome any advice that experienced bear hunters can give me because at this point, I'm at a stalemate. Don't want to just play Grub Hub delivery dude for the next 2 weeks.

I'm solo with a bow in very steep pinion terrain with lots of deadfall. Visibility is very limited and there's no long range visibility into the station. I've even had to hang some orange tapes on the pathway to the station just so I can find it. I'm currently hunting afternoons and evenings every other day. I'm retired and live only 5 miles from my bait station, so I have the time to hunt every day. But after making the climb into the station with 40-50 lbs on my back, my aging bones prefer a day to recover.

The bears know when I come and they know when I leave. Yesterday, 2 different bears spotted me in my treestand from 50 yards away. After burning a little honey, I think I spent too much time fiddling around on the ground and I actually think they watched me climb up into the stand. So is my treestand useless, now? I mean, given how smart they are, will they remember to look up after having seen me up there before? My first impulse is to set up a ground blind, but given their skills at finding and destroying anything I leave up there, it seems like just another way to burn some money.

Since they always hit the station when I'm gone and often only 10-15 minutes after I've left, my impulse is to sit there every day from dawn 'til dusk. But given that they know what's going on, will I just end up encouraging them to come in at night if I'm always there during the day?

Finally, when I got to the station yesterday, there were 4 big piles of scat right at the station. I know what I usually do after a big meal, but none of the previous bears have done this. At least 2 different bears made a contribution - 3 of the piles were grassy but one was loaded with deer hair. And 2 separate boars have hit the station within a couple days of each other. So are these scat piles telling me something (territorial), or are they just poop?

Wish I'd discovered bear hunting when I was a young man and If I had to end this hunt today, I'd consider it a success. But I really want a shot at this guy (one of the bears who spotted me in the treestand yesterday).

Plant Brown bear Kodiak bear Grizzly bear Wood
Plant Brown bear Kodiak bear Carnivore Organism
Natural environment Plant Carnivore Grass Biome
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Another option would be to go in prepped to spend the night.
Knowing there are likely several bears within a few hundred yards, I wouldn't get a wink of sleep. Every time I heard a twig snap, I'd be sitting up and shining my flashlight with one hand on my side arm. :LOL:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Might try bring a rifle n find a ground spot farther back you can see the bait from?
Not possible - no shooting lanes available. Besides, I already feel like I'm cheating by using one of my compound bows. The original plan was to shoot a recurve and I even built some arrows designed specifically for bears. But when it came time to hunt, I just wasn't confident with it.
 
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The scat is a dominate bear leaving his calling card. If your in the stand every other day they should be use to having you there. They will continue to come in to eat either way. There is the possibility of going nocturnal as you mentioned though. I don't think that will happen in your case with the bear hitting it at 6:30am. Especially when they are in the Rut. The Bores will normally make their rounds every three days looking for Sow's to breed. Now is when you want to get the bear killed. About the second weak of July is when the Rut ends and activity in the daylight hours will be cut to about 20%.

That's a good bear in the pic. Nice Boar I'm guessing to be about a 6-6.7 long bear. Could be a contender for a P&Y.
 

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Here are a couple of thoughts from my limited baiting experience (I shot a bear over bait in 2015 and helped a friend in 2017ish).

1. Switching to a ground blind is a plausible idea. I shot mine from a blind and would fold it and hoist it up between trees at night when I left to prevent damage. The bears can't see, hear, or smell you in the blind so they might come in right after set your bait (which is what mine did). I could loan you an old blind if you're interested and live close to UT Co.

2. Hiking in with two people and having one hike out is also a good idea. I did this with my friend and he killed a bear after I hiked out. We didn't do that strategically, but it might have contributed to his success.

3. Start packing in less bait. The less food there is, the more competition there is and the more likely the bears will come quickly after you ring the dinner bell.

4. Start hunting early morning. My bears were coming in at 6:30am. I hiked in and baited early morning. Missed a huge boar on the bait who was waiting for me when I showed up. I set the bait and climbed into my blind. One minute later, a smaller boar came in and I drilled him.

Good luck. You're gonna' get one, be patient.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks, everybody. I've now got a few different ideas to try thanks to your input. I'm just so amazed at the response to my bait station...not at all what I expected. Gonna be embarrassing if I don't kill something with all this action. So cool!!!
Plant Eye Tree Wood Organism

Plant Biome Tree Trunk Carnivore

Plant Water Natural landscape Organism Trunk
 

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Take another adult and a younger kid in with you to bait. Kids make tons of noise and are very easily heard by animals in the area. Bait the area. Leave. Making noise the whole time. Do it again the next day. Same thing, all leave together. Day 3, everyone goes in, you stay, they leave, making noise the whole way out. I bet that bear makes an appearance within the hour. They are smart, but they also get very comfortable with human routines and once they think they have a person patterned, they believe in it until they have an experience that lets them know something has changed. You might consider changing tree locations a few trees over, but it you hold still and the wind isn’t hosing you, I think you’ll be ok when he thinks everyone has left.
 

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After hunting 7 years in a row for Bear, placing over 4,000 lbs of bait just this year, watching over 1,000 YouTube videos on bear hunting, baiting, boar vs. Sow, field judging, spending 11 days in the field this year then totally screwing up and shooting the wrong bear by mistaking it for another that I had seen on camera.............I got nothing for you. Last week I knew EVERYTHING about bears. Now I know nothing. Good luck.
 

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Back when I knew about bears, I would say that your first three pics are a sow. The next section of pics with the dark chocolate is a boar. The next pic of the two, the top is a sow and the bottom looks to be the same bear in the following pic which I would say is a boar. Look at the ankles of the bears. Sows have a small front ankle and boars have a big front ankle. That has been the best determining factor for me other than seeing their junk. The pear shape, big but vs. big front shoulders, belly hanging to the ground etc... have all left me with misjudging the genders but ankles don't lie.
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Back when I knew about bears, I would say that your first three pics are a sow. The next section of pics with the dark chocolate is a boar. The next pic of the two, the top is a sow and the bottom looks to be the same bear in the following pic which I would say is a boar. Look at the ankles of the bears. Sows have a small front ankle and boars have a big front ankle. That has been the best determining factor for me other than seeing their junk. The pear shape, big but vs. big front shoulders, belly hanging to the ground etc... have all left me with misjudging the genders but ankles don't lie.
Thank you very much for that input. I hadn't heard that before, but I think you're right. Everything about this hunt is new to me - the baiting, the tree stand, the cameras. And most of all, the bears. I've seen more bears during this hunt than I've seen in my entire lifetime put together and I never really witnessed bear behavior before at all.

So I was thinking that I had the cast of characters figured out until I was studying the latest batch of photos last night. The top photo is the first bear that showed up and one of only 2 bears that I've had in shooting range. Fortunately, it never gave me a shot opportunity.

Brown bear Kodiak bear Plant Grizzly bear Water


And if you zoom in, this latest photo explains why it was fortunate that I didn't get that shot opportunity. Surprised the hell out of me.

Photograph Plant White Black Leaf


Plant Carnivore Style Black-and-white Terrestrial animal
 
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