Bear hunt… this is how we do!
This has to be the most exciting part of our season but also the most exhausting. I swear we gear up 3\4 of the year for this, and it last a whole week.
Parts of the hunt are thrilling, and for lack of a better term awesome, and some parts of it, well it just has to be done. These thrilling jobs and not so thrilling job will vary depending on whom you ask.
Now I ain’t sure how every other lodge does it, but I know how we do it, and we make sure with everything in our power that our hunters have a safe, fun and successful hunt. Now sometimes it comes easily, and sometimes we must work at it. There are so many factors that are beyond on control… like weather, bear activity, and other people. But let’s focus on what we can control. We start baiting as soon as the spring season ends, we don’t need random hunters going after our guest’s prize. Now some call us crazy, in the early season we start baiting once a week then as time progresses we end up baiting on a routine. With such a large area to cover, we have a baiting schedule that spreads over 3 days, ranging in times between 3-6 hours a day. Now this covers the baiting. Before the baiting even happens, we begin to collect bait now this is a secret that we won’t go giving away, the bears really like it. Then once it is collected we freeze it until we need it, once we are ready to bait we take it out thaw it we need to divide it. We keep our bears on controlled diets, they start out in a feeding frenzy then as we get closer they get less and less food, that keeps em coming for more.
The very first night our hunters arrive we have a gathering to calm the first time hunters, answer any questions they may have. We have charts to show vitals to make sure every hunter is sure of their hunt. Every hunter meets their guide, and the guide answers any question they may have. As a guide I try to do everything in my power to make sure the hunt is safe, and successful and I will speak for the rest of the crew to say they do as well. We share any tips and tricks that we may have come across over the years.
I know every lodge does this dfferently but at our place we hunt twice a day, our hunters go out in the morning, we like to have all our hunters out in the stand before day break, then typically the hunters come home for lunch and a little break then head back out around 3 or 4 pm for the evening hunt. Everytime and I mean everytime any hunter goes out a guide takes them to and from their stand. Unless our trail cams tell us differently.
We place trail cams at all our stands… yes this is alot of maintenance and cost for us, but it helps us tremendously. We get to see routines, because bears are typically a creature of habit. We get to see sizes and numbers, but the biggest perk of having the cameras out there, is that if there happens to be a sow with cubs we warn our hunters ahead of time. They also help us determine the viability of the bait, it could be a highly active bait that just happens to be getting hit by everything but bears… like wolves, foxes, ravens and turkey vultures. If this is the case we can drop the bait early on and find a new site for a new bait.
This is just a quick overview of what we do for our bear hunts….