Skip to main content

There is nothing easy about baiting bears.

On left, unopened sweets.  On right, the goodies ready to be put out.

I was lucky that it was only 73 degrees out!  I would have melted after we headed to the first bait site. I carried buckets filled with bait and some secret ingredients to keep the bears coming back again and again.  While I was glad to not be carrying the bucket with the cut up dead beaver, I was reminded of my position down wind of it after every few steps. 

Making a bait barrel
While I support bear hunting as it is now in Maine, I did not know a lot about it and felt that if I was going to support this fight, I should know what I was talking about.  So, I told Steve that I would try everything, including preparing bait buckets.  If you ever want to cut sweets out of your diet help out with preparing bait barrels.  For more than an hour, I opened packaged sweets that had the overall smell of a cheap bar. The smell wasn't what got to me, it was the fact that they contained no mold! What kind of "food" doesn't mold after more than a year?!

Once I had done my duty of opening up bait, we loaded the truck and took off.  Three buckets of sweets, some secret ingredients and a bucket or maybe two filled with chunks of previously frozen beaver (THAT is the worst smell ever!). We drove a while and came to the first of two sites along a dirt road close to the middle of nowhere.  I willingly grabbed two buckets and followed Steve into the woods.  He had started the sites three days before so we were not sure if we would need to top off any bait or muck out the buckets after some pretty heavy rains.

Bait site 1.  The blue crate holds the piece of beaver *gag*.
Site one had not been hit yet. Everything seemed to be in place and fairly dry so we moved on to site two.  This one was probably my favorite since it was located at the bottom of some rock cliffs. I stood at the site and looked at the cliffs surrounding me in awe.  This site was also in pretty good shape so we added some scents and left for site three.  A little closer to home, site three was further into the woods and surrounded by low blueberry bushes.  Again, no bears but we did finally have pictures on the trail cam- of a turkey vulture.

Moose rub!

When we were done, we had been working the bait sites (and prep) for eight hours. There is nothing easy or quick about baiting bears. The hours that go into preparing the bait followed by bringing the bait out into the woods and keeping it fresh... I have a whole new respect for those who do this on a regular basis.

We had no pictures and no signs of bears coming in but with determination and a knowledge of the work involved, Steve was confident that we would eventually get something.  I'm still not totally sure I want to shoot a bear but I am learning more and more about the work involved in trying to make that happen.


  1. It's a lot of work, and then there's no promise they'll show up during the day. Thanks for doing this and educating people.

    1. I have a whole new appreciation for what hunters do on a regular basis. I went out once. Others go out every three days and do this.

    2. We have always had to bait each day...and always got hit within the first three days of setting them up. Glad to have you with us Erin!

  2. I found you via Robin Follette's Twitter. My boyfriend has a bear tag in Zone C in Wisconsin this year. We hired a guide, since the land with bears that we've got a connection to is in Zone B with a 9 year wait. The guide service has been baiting stands up in Rusk county since mid-April. But the bears on the land we sometimes hunt deer on almost don't need bait- they come damn close to the cabin. Last year one ate all the sour apples I put out for deer, and left a steaming pile in their place. Bears seem to be jerks.

    1. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. We have about 30k bears and need to kill between 4500-5000 to keep a very healthy population in check. Since we are facing a referendum to prevent us from hunting bear (essentially), I wanted to see how much work it truly is. Good luck with your bear hunt titis year!!

  3. Erin, an interesting read. First - gross! And second, I'm glad you had a chance to learn more about baiting, I know you've wanted to for a while now :-)



Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The unlikely bear hunter

Jesse Phillips had no intention of bear hunting.  He was along for the ride with friend and host of Blood Origins , Robbie Kroger, who was on his annaul bear hunt with Grove Hill Outfitters .  Being convinced that he should go hunt, Jesse grabbed the 45-10 and headed into a treestand.  He wore his cowboy boots, jeans and flannel, "the only thing I didn't do was put on deoterant" Jesse laughed.  Climbing up into the stand a little before 2pm, he held no expectations for seeing his first bear in the wild.  He was doing this just to apease the guys in camp.  At 4:02, a bear appeared. "He was about 40 yards away," explained Jesse, "and he was just walkeding around, sniffing and eating.  He wasn't interested in the bait at all."  Watching the bear, Jesse knew he needed to remain calm. He was in no position to move his gun and take a shot without the bear spooking. The bear walked in and out of the opening with no intention of heading to the bait. Jesse

Conservation organizations need your help NOW

As we plan for 2021, we know that we will not be attending sportsman’s shows.  We won’t be able to catch up with fellow hunters, trappers and anglers and we won’t be spending money on all of those raffle tickets.  And that is hurting hunting organizations – a lot. Many outfitters and organizations rely on the foot traffic that these shows provide to help get reach more people which helps to draw more donations.  Businesses rely on shoppers to buy the cast iron, jackets, wooden carvings, jerky and more but we will not there to make those purchases next year.  And while everyone is still feeling the pinch of the pandemic and a changing world, we need to make sure that these organizations have what they need to continue with their mission because it is so important to the hunting and outdoor world.   Some of the organizations that could use your support: I would be remiss if I didn't start off with my organization. A couple of friends and I started  Women of the Maine Outdoors

Grateful for the community

I am technically an adult-onset hunter.   I started when I was twenty after watching Dad hunt every fall and deciding that I wanted to see what it was all about – and that killing your own meat was not a bad thing. If you had asked me (or dad) to imagine what the next decade and a half would be like, I guarantee you neither of us would have pictured this! As I write this, I have just hung up the phone with Taylor and Mark Drury. Throughout deer season, I will be writing up all of the Drury family hunts that will be featured on DeerCast (make sure you have the app or the website bookmarked!) I am also going to continue interviewing hunters from across the country and Canada that have taken amazing deer. Just like last year when I got to f eature Wayne Bernier  from Allagash Adventures after he dropped his amazing 200lb, 20 point buck with a 31 inch spread! The fact that I get to do this blows my mind. I get to share a mutual love and excitement over hunting with so many people and