This year alone, there have already been more than 220,000 acres of Alaskan wilderness burned due to wildfires. This year has really been bad for hunters who are trying to bait bears near some of these areas. I am one of those affected. It has been a long, slow year and it has made me pull out all the stops to try to lure whatever lone bear might be left in the area. Here are some tactics that I have adopted from others to help attract bears and lessen my scent contamination.
A friend turned me onto a trick I have never heard of. I have heard of people using sugary substances to attract bears to bait, but everyone knows that. My friend likes to buy a bag of powdered sugar every week, and he uses it to cover the entire bait barrel and the ground around it after he has completed baiting. Everyone knows that powdered sugar tastes like air unless you get a lot of it in your mouth, so if you are wondering what the purpose of it is; it is used as a monitoring agent.
If you are wanting to be very cautious about your own scent contaminating an area, any helpful tool that can reduce your ‘scentprint’ is awesome. If you can get a visual on your sugar covered barrel and ground, you can easily see if something has visited. Most times the sugar will be completely gone from bear tongues. This is a sure sign that your bait has been hit and they liked it. A partially licked sugar covering could mean lesser animals have arrived or that a small or disinterested bear has showed up. Knowing what is coming and going is very important.
The next trick I learned was something that comes in handy when I was hiking in several miles to a bait station. By using anise oil extract, I could avoid carrying actual anise oil which is pure weight when humping a load up hills and through swamps. By taking extract, pouring some into an empty plastic bag and adding water from near your location, you will soon have gallons of heavenly anise scent to place on or near your bait.
I like to throw some of my scent mixes on trees, but I really like to cover the ground with it so bears will step in it and track it around the country whenever they travel.
When bear baiting times are tough, you have to get creative.