Fred Lutger’s Wilderness 2008 Black Bear Hunt Wrap Up and Tips
years I run an average of 70 bait locations. We hunt in heavy, thick
forests of Poplar, Pine, and Birch trees. Every year I search for new
bait locations on new roads loggers open through these forests. Some
roads lead farther from camp and some roads open areas closer to camp
that were previously inaccessible. I like to spread my hunters out and
try not to over hunt one particular area. My Bear Management Area (BMA)
covers about 350 square miles.
the beginning of each new season I start new baits, as well as use
existing bait sights, using very strong smells along with a food
offering. I met John Burgeson years ago when I first started bear
hunting. He is a trapper and hunter from Minnesota who had just started
a hunting scent business, Wildlife Research Center. He gave me a sweet
smelling liquid he now sells by the name Ultimate Bear Lure. I used it
on my baits and was astounded by the results.
This strong smelling
liquid can be detected by me hundreds of yards away. I’m sure with a
bear’s powerful nose that distance is stretched for miles. This year I
put it on WRC’s Pro-Wick scent pads and hung them high on the bait sights.
Ninety-five percent of my baits were hit within 2 days.
I try and hunt the farthest baits and put my hunters between me and
camp. At the end of the day I meet up with and check on the hunters as
we return to camp. In the past I searched for bears at night but gave
that up after being on long trails that took hours to follow that could
be covered in minutes in daylight.
tell my hunters to look for bears if they shoot them early, only if
they are comfortable following a wounded bear. We use string tracking
line and tie it at the bait location and drag it along as we follow the
trail. Most hunters opt to wait for me and the other hunters to give
them a hand. More lookers and draggers the better.
bear is an unusual animal in the fact they emit a death moan when they
succumb. This happens about 50% of the time. On good hits the bear
usually drops within 100 yards or less of the bait location. This death
moan lets the hunter know the bear is down.
like to use candy and meat while baiting. A big animal like a bear
really fuels up in the fall getting ready for winter hibernation. They
are an animal of opportunity and habit. After they find the food
offering they will return again and again for the easy meal. I bait
every other day before season and every day while hunting.
bears will feed any time of the day but they are nocturnal and prefer
to eat after dark. The best time to hunt them is in the evening and
most sightings on the bait are from 5 p.m. until dark. This year it was
extremely hot compared to past years. The daytime temperatures were in
the high eighties and low nineties.
Most bears visited late in the
evening when the temperature dropped. Sweating while sitting on stand
was a problem. The bears keen nose — that helped find the bait — also helps
him detect hunters. Luckily, Wildlife Research Center sent up Scent
Killer spray for all my hunters to use. I drenched myself, my clothes,
and my equipment before and during each sit.
were calm. Sitting on stand the hunters had to be extremely quiet. I
did have a squeaking problem with one of my stands but remounted it and
got it quiet. In the calm woods bears can detect the slightest sound.
They have ears and hearing similar to a dog. I spent extra time and
loaded up my bow with fuzzy stuff bow silencing material around my
rest, sight, and riser. I was making noise loading my arrow. Every
metal piece the arrow touched resonated through the woods. I’m glad I
took the extra effort. The night I shot my bear he circled me and the
bait for one hour before giving me a shot. Quiet is good.
had a very good hunt in 2008 in spite of the tough hunting conditions
of high temperatures, calm silent woods, and masses of mosquitoes.
Hunting a mature bear takes extra effort. You don’t just sit and wait
for the bear to appear. You must hunt him.
You have to be quiet
entering and leaving the woods. You must be still on stand and it is
extremely critical you have to keep yourself and equipment scent free.
Your equipment must be quiet when you draw and shoot. Your shot
placement is critical.
A bear is a big animal, but the vital kill area
is small. We did lose a couple of bears this year. It has happened before. I
am sure most bears do recover. We have taken bears later in the season
and even in following years who did recover from previous wounds. A
bear is a remarkable animal and I have seen massive injuries bears
inflict on each other. Mother natures has her way of taking care of
best hunt is one when all hunters return home safe and sound.
Everything else is secondary. I always pray that God watch over our
hunters and make it a “best hunt.” This year was. The camaraderie in
camp was the best. I can’t wait until next year.