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scouting


jay83196

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I'm going scouting this week I need couple new spots for bear bait stations and would appreciate some advice on what some of you experienced guys look for in trying to find a good spot. I planned to look over map (i am familiar with area somewhat) pick some new areas to start and then walk around those places for a possible spot.

How close to water should I be? swamp or ponds/river better?

The thicker the better?

Look for food and sign in area.

Public land so stay away from crowds trails?

Anything else to look for?

Certain types of trees etc?

I've been surprised on some areas that do and don't do well over the years high traffic areas vs remote areas etc. Just wonder if there are things I don't look at or consider?

Thanks I appreciate the help.

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I like water, very near water. Swampy, ponds, river, all these generaly have travel routs in them or along side. Swampy areas an ponds that are created by beaver lodges are ideal so look for funnels created by the beavs. Oak ridges are to be favored near these areas an wild plumbs, grapes an choke cherries along river bottoms. bear will lie in the swampy wet stuff during the day an come out in the cool temps uring morning or eveing to feed in the oaks wen they start dropping. Fox made good points in looking for over turned logs an logs that have been toren apart looking for gubs an ants an agricrops are to be highly considered corn an sunflowers especialy. Walk these feild eges an look for scat an prints. I like drainage ditches that might be running along these feilds towards any promising woods, bear like to keep a very low profle when out an about. Cant remembwer wen I havent seen a pad in a drainage ditch. The public boys have more experience here than me, but i would have a several foot trils leading to an from a bait site on pub. land. any heavy trail brings people. So getting way in as far as you can of course is prefered, im sure ya know this.

Look for water holes on the topos for sure an yup for me the thicker the better. hope this help some.

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Thanks boar, there are a lot of creeks ponds etc I plan to be close too. My buddy had a spot by beaver dam nice thick spot never got hit it was a great spot but nothing and he had another spot mile away or so high traffic area with no water near and it gets pounded every year. Go figure! how close to water is good? Do you look for low thick canopy areas too?

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I am no expert...only been bear hunting 3 times, and each time was a DIY hunt on public ground with the help of friends who knew the area. Arrowed bears 2 of the 3 times I hunted, but each time the baits had something in common....water. Creeks, ponds, impoundments, etc. were all nearby. My buddy who had hunted the large public area his whole life said this is the key, and it made sense to me. Just my 2 cents...

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THICK COVERED BEAVER PONDS!! They love that stuff.. Heavy cover to the Bait and preferably damp ground to it!

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Another tell tale sign, considering tracks may be hard to find in a dry field edge, are areas where bear come in and out of heavy cover.

Large bear will often "slide" on their bellies under fences, down ditch grades, and thru very heavy low hanging canopy.

As creatures of habit, when not being pressured by hunters or human scent in their living room, bear will often follow the same trails daily when traveling thru familiar areas.

Especially when looking at very dense new growth forest, like young Aspen stands, you can step back and scan the edge for a "hole" in the cover where a bear is making a corridor while traveling from bedding to feeding areas.

If driving thru dense forest roads, which often have small ditch grades on each side from when the road was actually made, you can sometimes catch a bears travel route by the "slide" he makes on each side of the ditch grade. If you can find a "slide" it's likely a big bear.

Many years back I found a trail across and along the edge of an agricultural field where a large old boar had been traveling, at night, from a bedding area far south, to a feeding area a few miles to the north. I could see as clear as a bell this bear had been literally walking on his same tracks every night for many weeks. Thought I had him "pegged" when I found the exact spot where he emerged every night from a very dense young clear cut on the edge of the field. He never showed, but it sure was an exciting hunt!

Sometimes a bear's sign in a standing field of oats, corn, or sunflowers, will be as obvious as the nose on your face. Bear can be real pigs in a corn field. They'll walk in a small circle, pulling down corn stocks into a pile in the center, then lay down in the middle and just pig out. If and when you can find an area like this you're pretty likely to be "in the money"! wink

As stated above, bear are pretty wary critters. They don't like to be seen out in the open unless they are very hungry. 5-15 yr. old clear cuts with tons of junk (downed undesirable timber, rotted stumps, and leftover limbs and root balls) in the middle are good places to find bear. If you really have to work at walking thru it, and in most places you can't, there's a fairly good chance there's a bear in there!

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Canopy,Just curious, Hey whats a bear slide look like. Want to go out and do some checking on some pond area's that we hunt next weekend. Do they slide alot in the summer or more in the fall when baiting! Wanted to do some more scouting soon and wanted to check for that.. Thanks and let us know..

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A place where a bear slides it's belly is simply an area where they have to just to make getting thru a little easier. Don't think it's a seasonal thing.

Gotta imagine a big bellied sow or boar cresting a ditch edge and starting it's decent to cross the ditch. It's pretty much inevitable that it's belly is going to drag on the ground. Or squeezing itself under a wire fence where necessary.

Nothing mysterious about the way an area like this looks. Just looks like a wide beaver slide. Grass, brush, etc., laid flat and/or pushed to the side about the width of a big bear. It's pretty easy to pick out a bear slide vs. another game trail cause of the lack of deer tracks, etc.

Again, most often I see them along ditch edges en route to feeding areas, between large sections of forest on roadway edges, or on steep grade drainages. It's just a kind of quick and simple way to locate bears moving to and from an area, and if you can find one that's well used (beaten down pretty clearly) odds are you've got a bear that's moving back and forth thru this same trail almost every night. It's only a starting point to locate a good spot to set up a stand, but it does work.

No guarantees this always works, it's not a high percentage game, but I've found bear this way in the past. I actually know people up north that simply sit in the truck and wait for the bear to cross the road on a trail like this in the evening. Not my cup of tea as far as fair chase, but each to his own I guess.

Best of luck to ya' bud! I actually enjoy the process of scouting, finding, and hunting the bear more than anything else! I don't even care if I harvest an animal. Somehow it feels to me more like how bear must have been hunted back in the "olden days". smile

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Thanks Canopy. Hey, you cant mistake theses slides for Beaver slides can you? Do they get muddy looking and beaten down? Just inquisitive is all..

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They look a lot like a beaver slide, except a beaver slide typically goes into the water, and is near an area where a beaver has clearly been cutting down young trees.

You'll know the difference as you'll find a bear crossing near a road edge where there is no sign of beaver, nor would there be any reason for a beaver to be in the area.

It's so darn dry up here this year I'd guess a good crossing area might just look like smashed down dry grass...about the width of a nice fat bear.

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I know this idea sounds pretty silly, but it really does work. Just like finding good game trails while scouting for deer, or running trap lines, bear, if not pressured, will use the same trails fairly often, if not everyday.

Find a well used trail, a point where bear are crossing a road, sliding under a fence, or skirting around or thru heavy cover, and you're on your way to finding a good place to start hunting!

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